sport

Sri Lanka fight back at Lord's

Sri Lanka produced a spirited fightback with the ball in the afternoon session on day four to leave England tottering on 117-5 in their second innings, an overall lead of 239.

 

Taking a 122-run advantage into their second knock, England saw openers Alastair Cook (28) and Sam Robson (19) and No 4 Ian Bell (9) all dismissed during an exceptional 10-over spell from seamer Shaminda Eranga before Rangana Herath spun Sri Lanka back into contention.

Left-arm spinner Herath removed Joe Root (15) and Moeen Ali (4) in quick succession, Root trapped on the crease and Ali bowled through the gate second ball.

Gary Ballance (25 not out) and Matt Prior (13no) prevented any further damage by defending through to tea, where all three outcomes remain realistic with four sessions remaining.

Openers Cook and Robson watchfully put on 46 for the first wicket before both fell to Eranga in the space of five runs.

Cook was first to depart for 28, edging on the drive through to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene, while Robson had no answer to a ball which nipped back up the slope and into his off stump via his bat.

Bell marked his arrival at the crease with a crisp drive down the ground but was also undone by a full Eranga delivery which nipped back into his off stump via an inside edge.

 

Mathews hundred

Root, fresh from a double century in the first-innings, looked to increase the tempo and breezed to 15 before playing down the wrong line to Herath, who claimed a plumb lbw verdict.

England seemed unsure whether to attack or defend amid the flurry of wickets and Ali, who skipped down the pitch to Herath first ball and planted him for four down the ground, was undone one ball later when a loose drive saw the ball turn through his gate and into middle stump.

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews had earlier marked his first Test innings on English soil by hitting a century, though he fell soon after for 102 as the hosts claimed a healthy first-innings advantage.

 

Resuming on 415-7, Sri Lanka's lower order managed to stand by their captain long enough for him to reach three figures, the moment coming when he blazed a James Anderson full toss through the covers for the last of his 12 boundaries.

 

In reaching the milestone he became the second centurion in the innings for the tourists, Kumar Sangakkara (147) having finally registered a ton at cricket HQ on day three.

 

It was Liam Plunkett who eventually ended Mathews' 172-ball knock, winning an lbw verdict with a full delivery that on review was proved to be clipping leg stump.

 

By that stage overnight batsman Herath had already departed, clean bowled by Anderson for two by the only delivery in the session pitched inside the left-hander's half.

 

The final wicket was that of Nuwan Pradeep, who hit his own wicket after being struck on the shoulder by a Chris Jordan short delivery.

 

Caught between playing a shot and taking evasive action at the bouncer, the number 11 ended up doing neither. Instead he was struck a blow and, on his way down as he swivelled back, he smashed into the stumps with his bat.

 

Thankfully Pradeep suffered no injuries, meaning he was able to take the new ball as England began their second innings shortly before lunch.