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Tuesday, 27 March 2012






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Mahela unbeaten 168, mauls England attack

Sri Lanka make 289 for 8:

In making one of the best fighting unbeaten centuries 168 seen on this ground, skipper Mahela Jayawardena helpd Sri Lanka make a challenging 289 for 8 on the first day of the First of Two Tests against England at the Galle International Stadium, here today.

What a knock for the 34- year old come back captain. The likeable left arm spinner Monty Panessar provided the fun for the day spilling two catches off Jayawardena.

Jayawardena's was a masterly knock. He came to the wicket when his team had lost 2 for 15. Undaunted he took it upon himself to stay put at the wicket, play a truly captain's innings and take his side to a respectable score.

In getting to three figures, he notched up his 30th hundred and his 7th against England. The Galle International Cricket Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for this proud batting son of Sri Lanka cricket.

Bowlers look ordinary

None of the England bowlers could worry him. While wickets tumbled around him, he showed that the bowlers could be made to look ordinary, with the right temperament, technique and if the right strokes are played.

He was very cool in his approach. He played all his signature shots with superb timing and admirable footwork. The late cut, the square cut, the cover drive, the off drive and the lofted shots over mid wicket for six were all on show in the 20 fours and 3 sixes that he pounded.

If not for for Mahela's marvelous knock, the Lankan innings would have been in shambles and a score of even 200 would have been only a dream. His knock has kept his team in the game and the value of it will be proved as the game progresses.

Jayawardena was involved in stands of 52 for the 4h wicket with Thilan Samaraweer20, 61 for the 5th wicket with Dinesh Chandimal 27 and 62 for the 8th wicket with Rangana Herath 5 which helped swell the total.

Long queues

Plane loads of England supporters have descended to watch their team that is number one in world cricket in action and from early morning there was a long queue forming to buy tickets.

Even after the first hour's play, supporters were still in the queue, while the ground looked a picture with the English supporters easily outnumbering the locals. Those who found the tickets high priced moved to the ramparts to catch the action.

Mahela Jayawardena back in the captaincy saddle after a long time,won the all- important toss and decided to bat on a wicket that looked good for a big total.

England captain Andrew Strauss said that the best way to make amends for losing the toss was to grab early wickets and put the home side batting under pressure. And his bowlers did just that.

Patel new Test cap

Samit Patel was making his debut for England who was going in spin heavy. Patel and Monty Panessar left arm and Graeme Swann off spin.

Jimmy Anderson the England paceman rocked the Sri Lankan batting boat when he had Lahiru Thirmanne 3 and Kumar Sangakkara for a first ball duck in the second and third balls of his second over from the Fort end.

Both batsmen prodded not knowing which way the ball was moving and snicked catches behind at the same score - 11. Thirimanne to Graeme Swann and Sangakkara to wicket keeper Matt Prior. Anderson was on a hat-trick. Jayawardena played down the next ball to deprive Anderson of a milestone.

With the addition of 4 more runs Tillakaratne Dilshan, who these days seems to be relying more on luck and not attempting to put his head down and play for team and country, was next out caught in the slips by Andrew Strauss off Stuart Broad for 11. At 15 for 3 the batting was wobbly.

Always solid

Skipper Jayawardena joined by the experienced and always solid Thilan Samraweera steadied the innings playing sensibly and with great caution took lunch without further loss at 66 for 3 adding 51 with Jayawardena on 30 and Samaraweera on 15.

After lunch and for the addition of a run, Samaraweera who was batting steadily had the misfortune of being run out backing up too much. Jayawardena drove and Anderson the bowler deflected the ball on to the wicket in his follow through. The batsman was out for20 with 3 fours.

Young Dinesh Chandimal and Jayawardena provided the best batting when they took on the bowlers who were dominating. They added 61 for the fifth wicket when Chandimal on 27 with 2 fours and 2 big sixes to mid wicket mistimed and lofted a drive to Ian Bell to give Patel his first wicket in Tests. Patel sported that certain smile when congratulated by his team mates. 128 for 5.

Prasanna Jayawardena joined his skipper and after a bit of uncertainty early on in his innings settled down and helped put on 40 more runs taking the score to 168 for 5 at tea. The skipper was unbeaten on 80 and the wicket keeper batsman on 21.

To the credit of England it must be said that even in the oppressive heat, their bowlers maintained a good over rate sending down 30 in the first session and 31 in the second.

After tea Sri Lanka lost Prasanna Jayawardena LBW for 23 and Suraj Randiv run out for 12, Rangana Herath LBW to Patel for 5.Chanaka Welagedera was unbeaten on 10.


 Sri Lanka 
 1st innings 
 L. Thirimanne c Swann b Anderson	  3
 T. Dilshan  c Strauss b Broad		 11
 K. Sangakkara c Prior b Anderson	  0
 M. Jayawardene not out			168
 T. Samaraweera run out			 20
 D. Chandimal c Bell b Patel		 27
 P. Jayawardene lbw b Anderson		 23
 S. Randiv run out			 12
 R. Herath lbw b Pate			 l5
 C. Welegedara not out			 10
 Extras: (lb6, nb4)			 10
 Total (for eight wickets, 90 overs)	289 
 Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-11, 3-15, 4-67, 5-128, 6-170, 7-191, 8-253.
 Bowling: Anderson 17-5-56-3, Broad 18-1-66-1 (nb4), Panesar 23-11-42-0, Swann 23-3-92-0, Patel 9-1-27-2.


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