England square Test Series with eight-wicket win
It was a case as to how much time the impressive English side after a
bitter defeat in Galle would take to win the second test match on the
fifth day as they had to score just 94 runs on an extremely hot and
humid day at the P. Sara Oval Stadium. After bundling out the Lankans
for just 278 runs with a lead of 93 runs just before lunch with off
spinner Graeme Swann being the chief wrecker taking six wickets, England
led by the sedate Alistair Cook and the brutal Kevin Pietersen reached
the target in quick time with a strong Barmy Army contingent jumping,
cheering and singing ecstatically in the stands.
England cricketer Graeme Swann with a match bag of 10
wickets helped England to beat Sri lanka by eight wickets.
Pic: Saman Mendis
The two match incident filled series was drawn 1-1 with both England
and Sri Lanka sharing the Just Retirement trophy and more importantly
England retained their Number one spot in test rankings. Kevin Pietersen
who just batted magnificently as if it was on a placid wicket was
rightly named Man of the Match. Mahela Jayawardena who had a brilliant
series as a batsman scoring two majestic hundreds and a gutsy fifty when
the team was in dire straits was named Man of the Series.
England chasing a mere 94 runs got off to a poor start as skipper
Andrew Strauss was bowled by Tillakaratne Dilshan for nought of the last
ball of the first over of the England innings. Strauss was deceived by a
beauty by Dilshan as the ball went through his defences and clipped the
off stump. Jonathan Trott followed lbw to Rangana Herath as Sri Lanka
successfully asked for a referral and the original decision which was
not out was over turned.
Alistair Cook signaled his intent by driving and cutting Dilshan for
successive boundaries and set the tone, scoring 30 of England's first 40
runs and showed his good form. After Trott fell the flamboyant Kevin
Pietersen came to the crease and started dominating bowling with a wide
array of masterful shots filled with flair and authority. Pietersen hit
Rangana Herath for a six over the bowler’s head and it was a déjà –vu
situation as once again Pietersen vs Dilshan battle was on the cards.
Pietersen hit two successive fours off Dilshan and also pulled up once
when Dilshan was about to deliver the ball and finished off the match
with a huge six over deep mid wicket.
Sri Lanka who resumed from their overnight score of 218 for the loss
of six wickets were troubled by their nemesis Graeme Swann who ripped
through the Lankan batting line up. Swann who started the rampage by
getting two crucial wickets of the penultimate over yesterday spun the
ball viciously from morning.
England's Alastair Cook (R) takes the catch to dismiss Sri
Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene off Swann. AFP
Swann should have had Angelo Mathews for just three runs of the first
over of the day as Mathews was offered a life by Alistair Cook fielding
at short leg. Swann was once again unlucky not to have Mathews caught
when he was on 12 by the same culprit Alistair Cook.
For Sri Lanka, the onus rested once more on skipper Mahela
Jayawardene. Swann, who took 6 for 106 to finish with ten wickets in the
match, finally removed him with an excellent ball which turned and
bounced to hit the glove and lob easily to Alastair Cook, plunging
forward at short leg.
It was the end of a polished defensive innings - 64 from 191 balls
with only four boundaries. Mahela who made 354 runs in the entire series
was usually the one man army in batting for Sri Lanka.
Prasanna Jayawardene who scored valuable fifty at Galle couldn’t
continue his heroics once again as he looked uneasy and troubled against
Swann. Prasanna batting at No. 9 due to the two nightwatchmen used by
Sri Lanka tried to sweep each and every ball and was bowled around his
legs by Swann for just two runs.
Samit Patel also chipped in with his first Test wicket when Rangana
Herath anticipated Swann-like turn, found Patel-like turn instead and
offered the simplest of chances to James Anderson at slip. Mathews was
again left stranded but he put on a handy partnership with last man
Suranga Lakmal which resulted in Sri Lanka gaining some valuable runs.
He lofted Tim Bresnan down the ground, reverse-swept Swann and
muscled Patel over mid-on, but an erratic surface betrayed him as Steven
Finn made one stick in the surface and Mathews, intent upon advancing to
drive, could only chip uncomfortably into the leg side where Andrew
Strauss took the catch.
Sri Lanka 1st innings:
275 (M. Jayawardene 105, T. Samaraweera 54, A. Mathews 57, G. Swann 4-75, J. Anderson 3-62)
England 1st innings:
460 (K. Pietersen 151, A. Strauss 61, A. Cook 94, J. Trott 64, R. Herath 6-133)
Sri Lanka 2nd innings
D. Prasad c Bresnan b Finn 34
L. Thirimanne c Strauss b Anderson 11
T. Dilshan c Anderson b Swann 35
K. Sangakkara c Prior b Swann 21
M. Jayawardene c Cook b Swann 64
T. Samaraweera b Swann 47
S. Randiv b Swann 00
A. Mathews c Strauss b Finn 46
P. Jayawardene b Swann 02
R. Herath c Anderson b Patel 02
S. Lakmal not out 04
EXTRAS: (b4, lb6, w2) 12
TOTAL: (all out, 118.5 overs) 278
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-23 (Thirimanne), 2-64 (Prasad), 3-104 (Dilshan)
4-125 (Sangakkara), 5-215 (Samaraweera), 6-215 (Randiv)
7-238 (M. Jayawardene), 8-242 (P. Jayawardene)
9-251 (Herath), 10-278 (Mathews)
Bowling: Anderson 20-6-36-1
Finn 15.5-1-30-2 (w1)
Bresnan 14-5-24-0 (w1)
ENGLAND - 2ND INNINGS
A. Strauss b Dilshan 00
A. Cook not out 49
J. Trott lbw b Herath 05
K. Pietersen not out 42
Extras: (lb1) 01
Total (for two wkts, 19.4 overs) 97
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Strauss), 2-31 (Trott).
Bowling: Dilshan 7.4-1-43-1
England win by eight wickets; draw two-match series 1-1.