Strauss and Cook spoil Sri Lanka’s soup
England still trail by 121 runs:
Purposeful batting by openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook helped
England make 154 for 1 wicket at close still trailing by 121 runs on the
second day of the Second Test against Sri Lanka and in a seemingly good
position from where they can control this game.
At the wickets were Alastair Cook on 77 and Jonathon Trott on 15.
They have a lot of batting remaining and unless the Lankan bowlers,
especially the spinners can get back their form like in Galle and
dismiss the opponents early today, the home team could be in a position
with defeat looming.
After dismissing Sri Lanka for 275, the manner in which openers
Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook went about their job, it was apparent
that they were planning and building for a big first innings total from
where they can put the Lankan batsmen under pressure in the second
Strauss and Cook who had previously given England 13, 100 plus
opening stands made it 14 with a stand of 122 this time round. Both were
in no undue worry and played good sensible cricket.
Strauss was first to his 27th 50 in Tests with 3 fours. Cook soon
followed making his 28th fifty in Tests with 5 fours.
They took their stand to 122 when Strauss on 61, attempting to cut
Dilshan edged for Prasanna Jayawardena to gobble the catch. After the
first day’s play, Thilan Samaraweera who faced the media, said that the
wicket was dry and that there was uneven bounce and that the wicket
would get difficult as the game progresses.
Off the mark
If Samaraweera reckons that, that is how it played on the first day,
then he was off the mark as the wicket behaved well on day two with the
bounce even and the ball coming on to the bat, with the openers
negotiating the pace and the spin with ease.
The Sri Lankans continuing from their overnight score of 238 for
6,were all out for 275 batting for 94 minutes, losing their last 4
wickets for 37.
Vice Captain Angelo Davis Mathews who was unbeaten on 41 played
solidly to notch up his 8th Test fifty with 6 fours. After the first day
heroics of century maker skipper Mahela Jayawardena 105 and Thilan
Samaraweera 54, it was Mathews who was worth watching.
He showed good temperament and technique and never rushed his shots.
He is the ideal man in the middle and once again showed how
indispensible he is. His driving on the off and the hook shot which he
keeps down were exemplary.
Together with Suraj Randiv he put on 31 for the 7th wicket, before
Randiv who was sticking it out gamely, tried to loft Graeme Swann out of
the ground and Kevin Pietersen running back at mid on took a well judged
super catch. Randiv made 12.
Mathews was next out caught by Strauss off Swann at short mid on for
57 at 261, Rangana Herath went at 270 caught Prior bowled Bresnan for 2
and then Surnga Lakmal was bowled by Swann for no score to end the
innings at 275, with Dhammika Prasad remaining unbeaten on12.
It was off spinner Graeme Swann who did the damage. He varied and
flighted his deliveries well and his 4 for 75 in 28.1 overs with 4
maidens was just reward. James Anderson who rocked the early Lankan
batting with 3 quick wickets failed to add to his tally. Tim Bresnan had
2 for 47.
For a side batting first in a Test on a good wicket the 275 that Sri
Lanka made was not a formidable total from where they can probe for
victory considering that it was a 350 to 400 wicket.
Outside the stumps
In the 4 overs before lunch England openers Andrew Strauss 4 and
Alastair Cook 7 scored 11 runs. When the Lankan new ball bowlers Suranga
Lakmal and Dhammika Prasad were expected to make the openers play every
ball, they were guilty of spraying it outside the stumps sand the
openers were happy to watch it pass.
After lunch Strauss and Cook who did not have a good game in the
Galle Test, put their heads down and seemed determined to give their
side a solid start for the rest of the batsmen to build on and probe for
a series squaring victory.
Strauss and Cook were at ease against pace, did not find the Lankan
spinners, Rangana Herath, Suraj Randiv and Tillakaratne Dilshan
threatening like they did in Galle, and playing them well off the front
and back foots, found the openings in the field to obtain runs.
They going was slow considering that the openers made 72 runs in the
32 overs bowled after lunch. But it was apparent that they were not
taking chances, but doing a consolidating job. Strauss and Cook took tea
on 42 and 40 respectively.
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS
L. Thirimanne lbw b Anderson 08
T. Dilshan c Prior b Anderson 14
K. Sangakkara c Strauss b Anderson 00
M. Jayawardene lbw b Swann 105
T. Samaraweera lbw b Bresnan 54
A. Mathews c Strauss b Swann 57
P. Jayawardene c Prior b Finn 07
S. Randiv c Pietersen b Swann 12
D. Prasad not out 12
R. Herath c Prior b Bresnan 02
S. Lakmal b Swann 00
Extras: (b4) 04
Total (all out, 111.1 overs) 275
Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Dilshan), 2-21 (Sangakkara), 3-30 (Thirimanne), 4-154 (Samaraweera),
5-216 (M. Jayawardene), 6-227 (P. Jayawardene),
7-258 (Randiv), 8-261 (Mathews),
9-270 (Herath), 10-275 (Lakmal).
Bowling: Anderson 22-5-62-3, Finn 22-4-51-1, Bresnan 21-3-47-2, Patel
16-3-32-0, Swann 28.1-4-75-4, Pietersen 2-0-4-0.
ENGLAND 1ST INNINGS
A. Strauss c P. Jayawardene b Dilshan 61
A. Cook not out 77
J. Trott not out 15
Extras: (nb1) 01
Total (for one wicket, 66 overs) 154
Fall of wicket: 1-122 (Strauss).
Bowling: Lakmal 13-3-34-0 (nb1), Prasad 9-4-24-0, Herath 19-2-46-0,
Dilshan 8-1-16-1, Randiv 17-4-34-0.