Match evenly poised as England Strikes back – first Test vs. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 318 (Mahela Jayawardene 180,James Anderson 5-72) and 84-5 (Thilan Samaraweera 36, Graeme Swann 4-28) lead England 193 (Ian Bell 52, Rangana Herath 6-74) by 209 runs.

Rangana Herath - 6 for 74 in the first innings
Rangana Herath – 6 for 74 in the first innings

The first Test was evenly poised on the second day when the batsmen from both sides were unable to read the spinners and 17 wickets were lost altogether.

The match has taken an interesting turn at the end of the second day’s play at Galle International Stadium on March 27, 2012.

Earlier, Sri Lanka started the second day at 289 for the loss of eight wickets in 90 overs whereas Mahela Jayawardene and Chanaka Welegedara were at the crease with 168 and 10 runs respectively. The first over of the day produced 16 runs with two boundaries from Welegedara and eight leg byes. He was bowled by James Anderson for 19 runs and Mahela closed the chapter of the innings after scoring 180 runs as the home side scored 318 runs.

Anderson was the highest wicket taker by grabbing five, Samit Patel held two and Stuart Broad claimed one wicket.

England had a horrible start as their star opener, Alastair Cook was declared leg before wicket on the fifth ball of the second over by Suranga Lakmal without a run on the board. Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott opted to attack the rival bowling and the boundaries started flowing at regular intervals. They took the score to 40 when Trott was stumped smartly by the wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene off Rangana Herath for 12.

That was the beginning of the disaster for the visitors as Herath became unplayable and England slumped to 92 after losing six wickets in 26.1 overs. Ian Bell secured one end as the wickets kept on sliding at the other side with a little contribution from the incoming batsmen. He scored his fifty on the third ball of the 38th over in 78 deliveries by sending the ball reeling out of the rope and was bowled two runs later by Herath.

The entire England team was sent back to the pavilion for 193 runs in just 46.4 overs and they conceded a first innings lead of 125 runs.

Rangana Herath was the star performer with the ball with six wickets, Suraj Randiv held two as Welegedara and Lakmal shared one wicket each.

Sri Lanka was in trouble from the word go in their second innings as Tillakaratne Dilshan was clean bowled by Stuart Broad without opening his account. The first wicket fell at four runs which proved fatal for them as Graeme Swann took over and ripped through their top order batting by clinching three quick wickets. That included the batsmen, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakara and the centurion in the first innings Mahela Jayawardene.

The experienced Thilan Samaraweera and Young Dinesh Chandimal stopped the invasion of the English bowlers and initiated the repair work. The duo kept the score board moving with odd boundaries and enhanced the score to 72 runs. Samaraweera became the fourth victim of Swann as he was stumped by the wicketkeeper Matt Prior for 36 runs.

The Islanders scored 84 runs for the loss of five wickets at the end of the second day’s play whereas Chandimal was playing at 17 and Randiv was unbeaten for two runs.

Graeme Swann sent the home side on the back foot by grasping four wickets for 28 runs in 12 overs and Broad took one wicket.

The Lankan Lions have an overall lead of 209 runs in the match and the addition of another 100 runs can put them on top on the third day keeping in view their lethal spin attack. England will try to rip through their remaining five wickets without the accumulation of substantial runs and look for their solid batting to win the encounter.


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