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Lankans lucky to restrict England to 258 for 5

Related Links : England in Sri Lanka 2007/08 : Scorecard

Sri Lanka were lucky to spoil what could have been England’s day in the second test at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo. A couple of controversial umpiring decisions and a couple of brilliant catches at short leg saw the pendulum shift towards the home side after a lovely century stand for the first wicket. England batting first after winning the toss have been reduced to 258 for 5 at stumps.

England made a couple of changes with the injured Hoggard making way for Stuart Broad and Steve Harmison recovering from injury to replace Jimmy Anderson. For Sri Lanka, Upul Tharanga took over the place of the retired Sanath Jayasuriya. England’s Skipper Michael Vaughan led the way for his side with a fluent half century. He was well supported by Alastair Cook, who covered up for his twin failures in the Kandy Test. England had a fabulous morning session as they went at 97 for no loss. It required a great piece of luck for the Lankans to see the back of the English Skipper. Vaughan played a well timed flick shot off Murali which unfortunately got stuck in the body of the short leg fielder Jehan Mubarak, who had converted that into a catch. Vaughan made 87 in 139 balls with a dozen boundaries. England consolidated their position after that through Cook and the inform Bell to move onto 167 for 1 at Tea.

After Tea, the drama began to really unfold. First there was Ian Bell removed in the second over of the session through a bat pad catch induced by Murali. Bell made just 15 in 62 balls. Eight balls after Bell’s dismissal came the big one that of Kevin Pietersen’s exit. Although Chaminda Vaas deserved the credit for getting KP to edge him into the third slip. The rest was another lucky gift for the Sri Lankans with Chamara Silva, the third slip fielder failing to take a low catch but Sangakkara fielding at first slip just got down in time to collect it off the rebound. The Ground Umpires were happy to rule that as a clean catch but later on the replays showed that the edge had touched the grass before hitting the hands of Chamara! That probably was the turning point of the day as KP walked off making just the one run.

England then fought back through the partnership between Cook and Collingwood but once again a lucky break came SL’s way. This time it was Cook to be given out by a shocking lbw decision from Daryl Harper to a Malinga inswinger that was swinging down the legstump. Cook departed after making a hard working 81 in 234 balls with 8 fours. England were now 237 for 4 and in the very next ball lost another wicket, that of Ravi Bopara, who was done in by a fast swinging yorker with the second new ball from Lasith Malinga. There was no hat-trick coming through and there was no further damage for England as they closed at a disappointing 258 for 5 in 87 overs. Collingwood is batting well on 49 (from 76 balls with 7 fours) along with Matt Prior, who has got 10.

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