DateLine: 23rd June 2014
By Andy Jalil In association with INVESTEC
Leeds – Despite half centuries from Sri Lanka’s premier batsmen Kumar Sangakkara – his second of the match and 48th in Tests – and Mahela Jayawardene, along with an innings of 45 from Dimuth Karunaratne, the tourists have much batting to do on the fourth day when they resume on 214 for four and leading by 106. They will be looking for a big innings from Jayawardene who is unbeaten with 55 and the captain Angelo Mathews, on 24, to take them into a substantial lead.
Sri Lanka began their second innings with a deficit of 108 and lost the first wicket on 40 and the second when Dimuth Karunaratne was dismissed with the total 93 shortly before tea. Liam Plunkett, who had come on as the second change claimed both wickets with the help of catches behind the stumps. He found the outside edge of Kaushal Silva’s bat and the glove of Karunaratne who asked for a review but that didn’t help him.
At tea, on 99 for two, the tourists were trailing by nine runs but the deficit was wiped off in the third over after the break when Sangakkara drove Plunkett to extra cover for his fourth boundary, taking his score to 33. Along with Jayawardene he went about consolidating the innings. They were both watchful but Sangakkara in particular took every opportunity to score.
A perfectly timed straight drive off James Anderson took him to 46 and his half century followed from 91 balls when he neatly turned a ball from Anderson to mid-wicket for his sixth four. It was his seventh consecutive Test half century, a feat previously accomplished by Everton Weekes, Andy Flower and Shivmarine Chanderpaul.
The breakthrough that England urgently needed came with Moeen Ali replacing Anderson and in his second over, the off spinner trapped Sangakkara lbw on 55. He had played the wrong line but asked for a review of the decision which did not help him. Ali was quick to strike again. In his next over he beat Lahiru Thirimanne with a huge off break which spun into the left-hander’s stumps as he lunged forward. Ali had 2 for naught in three balls and Sri Lanka were 176 for four.
Jayawardene who had driven Anderson for a glorious four to extra cover earlier, moved on to 43, dispatching a short and wide ball from Broad to the point boundary and brought up his 48th Test fifty from 103 balls, hitting 5 fours. His unbroken fifth wicket partnership with Mathews stands at 38.
Earlier it took Sri Lanka only an hour to claim the remaining four England first innings wickets from 11.5 overs. Resuming on the overnight score of 320 for six, England lost Chris Jordan, for 17, in the sixth over with Jayawardene, at second slip, taking a diving catch in front of first slip off the bowling of Shaminda Eranga.
Angelo Mathews claimed the next two wickets. Broad was held after playing a cracking drive to the extra cover boundary and Plunkett could do nothing to a big in-swinger which went on to hit his middle stump. Eranga then accepted a return catch from Anderson with the England total 365. England had lost four for 45 and the last seven wickets had gone for just 54 runs after having been in a strong position of 278 for two.
While losing partners at the other end, Matt Prior had added 25 runs to his overnight 3 to remain not out. Mathews and Eranga equally shared eight wickets, the former conceding only 44 runs from 16 overs of medium pace and the latter 93 from 32.5.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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