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Test over just after tea on the fourth day:

Herath and Randiv have them in a flat spin:

Sri Lanka slap 75-run defeat on England

Top class spin bowling by the left arm, right am combination of Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv helped Sri Lanka slap a 75- run defeat on the world number one team England in the First of Two Test matches at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, here today.

Rangana Herath cannot hide his joy
after capturing a match-bag of 12 for 171
to bowl Sri Lanka to victory in the first
Test at Galle. Picture by Kamal Jayamanne

The Test was over just after tea on the fourth day and it was England’s fourth defeat in a row which must be galling to the country that gave the game to the world.

Herath had figures of 6 for 74 in the first innings and 6 for 97 in the second innings which gave him a memorable match bag of 12 for 171 and he was adjudged the man of the match. Suraj Randiv who supported Herath well finished with 4 for 74.

High class spin

It was spin bowing of high class not seen for a long time. The experienced England batsmen, other than for Jonathon Trott and Ian Bell looked novices and did not seem to have the right technique to counter the spin.

It was sad considering that they are the number one team in world cricket. Some of their batsmen committed the cardinal sin of playing across the line. It was certainly not an example to the youngsters watching.

Full credit to come back captain Mahela Jayawardena for a wonderful job. He out thought and out played his opposite number Andrew Strauss in every move and inspired his team mates that brought his team this excellent win.

Two Tests meaningless

When the umpires called ‘play’ on the 4th day, England were 111 for 2 requiring 229 more and Sri Lanka having to capture 8 wickets for either side to go one-up in the meaningless Two Test series.

It was once again a lovely day for cricket. A big and colourful crowd of fans were present to lap up the action. It was going to be a day of destiny.

The teams would have had long meetings discussing strategy and how they would go. The 4th day wicket was going to take spin. Sri Lanka had two spinners in Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv and England had batsmen, especially Ian Bell who could counter spin.

The 120 minutes of play in the morning was tense and absorbing. The batsmen were not taking the risks they usually do and the bowlers were on line teasing and tormenting the batsmen looking to dismiss them.

Lacking bounce

The wicket had the usual spin, but it was slow and lacking the bounce that spin bowlers would love to have. Oven night not outs Jonathon Trott and Kevin Pietersen, who was lucky to have been dropped by Kumar Sanagkkara at leg slip off Randiv late on the third day, started very cautiously against the spin of Randiv and pace of Suranga Lakmal.

The experienced Pietersen was like a cat on a hot tin roof. He did not seem, to be organized and it did not come as a surprise when he dollied a catch to Jayawardena at short mid wicket off Randiv after adding six runs to his overnight score of 29. 118 for 3.

The technically correct Ian Bell who is a good player of spin bowing and from whom much was expected to hold the Lankan spinners started confidently and after making 13, attempted to paddle sweep Rangana Herath, missed and was adjudged LBW. It was unlike Bell and an irresponsible shot considering the plight that England was in. 152 for 4.

Reliable and consistent

The reliable and consistent Trott in the mean time was playing the correct cricket, not talking any undue risks, playing the bowling on its merits and accumulating his runs with some neat off drives and pushes to vacant areas on the field.

Joined by wicket keeper batsman Matt Priot, Trott took England to lunch at 177 for 4 putting on 25 hard earned runs. Trott was 76 not out and Prior 15.The morning session produced 66 runs in 30 overs for two wickets.

Second fiddle

After lunch Trott and Prior, slowly, but surely built their partnership and gave their side hopes of an unlikely victory. Trott was all concentration and was always on the lookout for runs.

Prior on the other hand played second fiddle and supported his senior partner.

They took their stand to 81 and when it looked as though they will build on it and threaten the home team, Proior who was going untroubled, suddenly swung Herath to be brilliantly taken by Lahiru Thirimane at short leg for 41 with 3 fours.

Then the flood gates opened. Samit Patel was taken by Dilshan off Herath for 9, Then Trott who was fighting a lone battle completed a grand century and in going to 112 in 266 minutes, in 266 balls with 10 fours tickled a Randiv delivery for Dilshan to take a diving catch at leg slip.

The England innings did not last long. Before tea Graeme Swann went hitting across, LBW to Herath for 1 and England went to tea at 259 for 8. After Herath completed his over after tea, Randiv got rid of James Anderson caught behind for 5 and Panesar for no score first ball, leaving the bowler on a hat-trick and he will have to wait for the Second Test at the P.Sara.


Sri Lanka 
1st innings 318

1st innings 193

Sri Lanka
2nd innings 214

2nd innings
A. Strauss c Dilshan b Herath		27
A. Cook c P. Jayawardene b Herath	14
J. Trott c Dilshan b Randiv		112
K. Pietersen c M. Jayawardene b Randiv	30
I. Bell lbw b Herath			13
M. Prior c Thirimanne b Herath		41
S. Patel c Dilshan b Herath		9
S. Broad not out			5
G. Swann lbw b Herath			1
J. Anderson c P. Jayawardene b Randiv	5
M. Panesar c Dilshan b Randiv		0
Extras: (lb6, w1)			7
Total (all out, 99 overs)		264 
 Fall of wickets: 1-31 (Cook), 2-48 (Strauss), 3-118 (Pietersen), 4-152 (Bell), 5-233 (Prior), 
6-252 (Patel), 7-256 (Trott), 8-259 (Swann), 9-264 (Anderson), 10-264 (Panesar).
 Bowling: Welegedara 13-2-40-0, Lakmal 10-5-22-0, Herath 38-9-97-6, Dilshan 12-1-25-0, Randiv 26-2-74-4.



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