Sri Lanka’s Herath spins out England

Courtesy: International Cricket Council

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath claimed a match haul of 12 wickets as Sri Lanka condemned top-ranked England to their fourth consecutive Test defeat on Thursday in the series opener.

The 34-year-old grabbed six wickets in each innings as the tourists, chasing a stiff target of 340 runs, were bowled out for 264 soon after tea on the fourth day at the Galle International Stadium to lose by 75 runs.

Off-spinner Suraj Randiv lent admirable support with a match haul of six wickets as Sri Lanka went 1-0 ahead in the short two-match series.

Jonathan Trott kept the tourists afloat with a defiant 112 before the last five wickets fell for just 12 runs in front of 8,000 bitterly disappointed English fans in the southern coastal town.

It was only the second win in 18 Tests for Sri Lanka since the retirement of world bowling record holder Muttiah Muralitharan in 2010. They lost six while the rest were drawn.

Trott, who notched his seventh Test century, hit 10 boundaries in his patient 266-ball knock, but he fell when he flicked at a Randiv delivery and was snapped up by a diving Tillakaratne Dilshan at backward short-leg just before tea.

Trott had a lucky break when Herath failed to take a return catch when the batsman was on 62 in the morning session.

Wicket-keeper Matt Prior helped Trott add 81 for the fifth wicket before he was dismissed by Herath for 41 as Lahiru Thirimanne clung on to a full-blooded sweep at forward short-leg.

Debutant Samit Patel made nine before his uppish drive off Herath was caught by Dilshan at short cover.

Tailenders Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar fell in the space of five runs to hand Sri Lanka victory with a day to spare.

England, who will slip to number two behind South Africa if they lose the series, lost Kevin Pietersen in the day’s third over after just seven runs had been added to the overnight score of 111-2.

Pietersen, on 30, attempted to on-drive spinner Randiv and only managed to spoon an easy catch to Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene at short mid-wicket.

The sloppy dismissal ended a valuable 70-run partnership for the third wicket with Trott after England had been reduced to 48-2 late on Wednesday afternoon.

Accurate Sri Lanka bowling tied down the tourists to just 34 runs from 15 overs in the first hour of play, 22 of them coming from the bat of Trott.

Bell, who top-scored with 52 in the first innings, missed a sweep shot off Herath and was given out leg-before by umpire Rod Tucker. Bell immediately asked for a review, but he did not earn a reprieve from TV umpire Bruce Oxenford and England slipped to 152-4.

England played positively after lunch, scoring 51 runs from 15 overs as Sri Lanka handed Herath the new ball that was claimed as soon as it was due in the 81st over. The second and final Test will be played at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo from April 3.

  • cricket fan since 1975

    selectors think about future and attacking can test chamara silva as a opening batsman,later when it cmes to oneday format youll can keep mahela in the middle with sanga..give young chandimal no-3 position.dont forget chamara silva is a good stroke maker,he scored 160 against full english side at ssc.he scored 100 in adelaide against ausie 2010.match winning knock.give him a chance to open in test..hes a expereince not waste the talent..bowlers are fine do not change lakmal if you have a plan to drop him.becoz he improved alot as a test bowler..keep sanga in the middle with mahela thilan and the batters.are Dilshan chamara chandimal sanga mahela thilan prasanna..7 batsman..selectors this is for ur kind info..brgds..

    • Raja

      33 year old Chamara has been given enough opportunities and we already have enough reckless hitters in the team who can’t deliver when it matters most . Therefore the best thing to do is to go for youngsters like Khausal Silva,Angelo Perera, Bhanuka, Dimuth,Rosen , Ashen, Serasinghe, Maneshan,.. who have been maintaining consistency from very young age. The consistency has to be the key for selection.

  • Cricket fan since 1975

    Well done i said before..time to change the batting line up and the order..need confident opener for dilshan.Sanga better go down the order give young chandimal no-3..drop thirimanna and bring chamara or paranavithana as openers…chamaras record is good at p.sara oval..also he maid 150 plus against english at ssc

    7BATSMAN..Dilshan, Chamarasilva, Chandimal, sangakkara, mahelajayawerdena, samaraweera, prasannajayawardena..Best Batters in srilanka


    Selectors better check the batting line up..give new guy like chandimal confident..send him 1 down..