- England Vs Sri Lanka Second Test at Lords
By Dinouk Colombage
England- 486 all (Matt Prior 126, Alastair Cook 96, UWMBCA Welegedara 4-122)
Sri Lanka- 223 for 1 57 overs day 2 (Dilshan 123, N.T. Paranavitana 65)
T.M. Dilshan led Sri Lanka’s reply with a finely constructed century. He and Paranavitana helped Sri Lanka fight back on day 2 as they went after the England bowlers. Paranavitana scored a solid 60 to contribute to a double century opening stand. For the English a wicket looked unlikely with none of the fast men or Swann posing any serious threat. Sangakarra was unbeaten on 9 alongside Dilshan’s 100.
Towards the close of play Sri Lanka was 223 for 1 on day 2. Dilshan and Sangakarra were both at the crease. Earlier in the day Sri Lanka had the opportunity to end the English innings for a score under 400. Overnight Sri Lanka batting coach Marvan Atapattu said that 400 on this track would have seen Sri Lanka share the honours with England. However the Sri Lankan bowlers failed to exert any real pressure as Stuart Broad and Matt Prior carried on their partnership. Broad was the first to reach his milestone as he scored a better than a run ball fifty. Prior at the other end continued his good form with the bat in test cricket as he posted an aggressive century. This partnership helped shift the momentum squarely in England’s favour.
The Sri Lankan bowlers were unable to carry out the good form they showed in the first hour of play on day one. Dilhara Fernando bowled fast but often too short and failed to trouble the batsmen. Suranga Lakmal and Chanaka Welegedara were taken a liking to by the batsmen as they both failed to restrict the scoring. Rangana Herath had been given the nod as Sri Lanka’s sole spinner; unfortunately he was unable to pose any real threat. He did eventually dismiss Prior as the keeper-batsmen looked to play a wild slog.
Dilshan field placing left a lot for the imagination as failed to react to the state of the game. His slip fielders were often too deep and the constant shuffling showed he was at uncertain.
His role was not helped by the fact that his bowlers were unable to get on top of any batsmen, tailenders included. In response faced with a score of 486 Sri Lanka’s openers, and two in-form batsmen, took an aggressive approach at reducing the deficit. It was clear that they both were determined to prevent a repeat of Cardiff as their natural games kicked in.
Dilshan’s captaincy has been under question; however his batting still remains a potent force. He was solid in defence whilst punishing any deliveries that offered width; he posted an aggressive fifty which subdued an otherwise enthusiastic crowd. Paranavitana continued to show that he was a class act as he kept out the bad balls while dispatching any loose deliveries.
The English bowlers looked a shadow of their Cardiff selves as they failed to maintain a tight or length. Stuart Broad was the pick of the bowlers as he looked to swing and utilise the slope at Lords. Despite their performance at Cardiff England’s bowling attack looked slightly bare as none of the tall fast men were able to trouble the batsmen. Graeme Swann, earmarked as currently the best spinner, was ineffective ass both batsmen looked to ensure he did not settle.
Day one saw Sri Lanka win the toss and elect to field under a clear sky and on a track offered runs. Skipper Dilshan’s questionable decision looked to have been a stroke of genius as they had the English in trouble at 30 for 3 in the first hour.
Sri Lanka’s bowlers failed to maintain any pressure and fifties to Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior saw England recover to end the day on 342 for 6. The highlights of the day were Cook’s 96, Eoin Morgan’s 79 and counter-attacking 50 from Matt Prior.