Investec 2nd Test Match: England v Sri Lanka (Day Four) CLOSE:— 23 June 2014
Angelo Mathews struck a superb 160 as Sri Lanka moved towards a historic series win on the fourth day of the 2nd Investec Test Match at Headingley.
England suffered a nightmare day as Sri Lanka posted a daunting target of 350 to win, with Mathews’ outstanding innings taking the game away from England in the afternoon session, before they collapsed late in the evening.
They were reduced to 57-5 as the Sri Lankan attack ran riot, Dhammika Prasad taking four wickets in quick succession to raise the prospect of Sri Lanka’s first overseas win since 2000.
Alastair Cook’s desperate run of form continued as he played on for 16 and he was quickly followed back to the changing room by Gary Ballance who was caught on the pads in front of middle stump first ball to leave England floundering on 39-2.
Sam Robson looked in good touch before he drove loosely at a wide ball before Ian Bell was bowled but the worst was still to come as Liam Plunkett tried to hit Rangana Herath over cover in the final over and only succeeded in finding the fielder.
The day started with Sri Lanka on 213-4 and England did well to reduce them to 277-7, after Liam Plunkett had struck twice in as many balls to raise the prospect of a swift finish after Jimmy Anderson made the vital breakthrough.
Mahela Jayawardene was dismissed first, for 79 by Anderson, after he and Mathews had started the day in aggressive fashion, scoring 65 runs in the first hour of the day.
However after the fall of Jayawardene, who chased needlessly as a wide delivery, Plunkett charged in with trademark aggression and soon had Dinesh Chandimal and Prasad dismissed.
Chandimal pulled to Gary Balance at deep square leg before Prasad attempted an upper cut the very next ball and was superbly caught by Joe Root at third man to leave Plunkett on a hat-trick for the second time in the match.
However once Herath arrived at the crease, England were contented with giving Mathews the easy single so that they could attack the tailender and as a result gave away far too many runs and it wasn’t long before the heads started to drop as Mathews followed by Herath got stuck into the bowling without looking in any trouble at all as the pair put on 149 for the eighth wicket to takethe game well out of England’s reach.
The breakthrough came just before tea, when Herath was run out trying to get Mathews to his 150 and the England bowlers returned from the break energised and it wasn’t long before the Sri Lankans were bowled out.
Anderson had Mathews caught for a magnificent 160 from a low full toss, that Mathews mistimed to Moeen Ali at midwicket.
Shaminda Eranga flayed a quick 20 but as soon as Anderson had number 11 Nuwan Pradeep in his sights the innings was over, with a full straight delivery doing for Pradeep first ball.
This left a tricky period of an hour and a half for England to negotiate and Alastair Cook’s miserable day was compounded as he pulled a poor short ball straight onto his stumps before a full in-swinger rapped Ballance on the pads in front of the stumps.
Robson, who looked in good touch, was joined at the crease by Bell as England look to salvage something from his 100th Test.
However when Robson, who edged to second slip, was followed to the pavilion by Bell England’s hopes had all but gone.
Plunkett compounded a miserable day as he drove loosely in the last over and looped the ball up to cover to make it 57-5.
Angelo Mathews struck a superb century as England toiled on the fourth day of the 2nd Investec Test Match at Headingley.
Sri Lanka reached 426-8, with a lead of 318 as Mathews and Rangana Herath batted through the afternoon session with ease before Herath was run out in cruel circumstances late on, as England looked utterly bereft of ideas and confidence.
After taking three wickets in the morning session, England had hoped to bowl Sri Lanka out quickly before settling in to knock off the required runs, but Mathews attacked the bowling to race past a fourth Test century as he shared a partnership of 145 with Herath.
The session started with the skipper trying to shield the left-arm spinner from the strike but he gradually gave more and more of the strike to his partner as England’s attack became toothless and the Yorkshire crowd went into a lull.
England had very few chances, although Liam Plunkett dropped Mathews early on off his own bowling as he followed through. Although it was not an easy chance, the fast bowler got both hands on the ball and was as close as they got to dismissing the captain.
In the morning session, England had done well to reduce Sri Lanka to 277-7, after Liam Plunkett had struck twice in as many balls to raise the prospect of a swift finish.
Mahela Jayawardene was dismissed first, for 79 by Jimmy Anderson after he and Mathews had started the day in aggressive fashion, scoring 65 runs in the first hour of the day.
However after the fall of Jayawardene, who chased needlessly as a wide delivery, Plunkett charged in with trademark aggression and soon had Dinesh Chandimal and Dhammika Prasad dismissed.
Chanimal pulled to Gary Balance at deep square leg before Prasad attempted an upper cut the very next ball and was superbly caught by Joe Root at third man to leave Plunkett on a hat-trick for the second time in the match.
However once Herath arrived at the crease, England were contented with giving Mathews the easy single so that they could attack the tailender and as a result gave away far too many runs and it wasn’t long before the heads started to drop.
However with the very last ball of the session, Mathews was looking to go to his 150 with a scampered single but left Herath stranded in the middle of the wicket and Root’s throw hit the stumps to run him out for an excellent 48.
Sri Lanka finished the session in a superb position at 426-8 with the lead of 318 down as much to the brilliance of Mathews as the sloppiness of England in the field.
The wicket came at a crucial time as the England bowlers struggled to put any pressure on the Sri Lankan batting line up, conceding too many easy runs before the new ball came.
Jayawardene and the captain Angelo Mathews counter-attacked early on as the body language of the English players soon became pretty negative.
However it was Liam Plunkett, who struck twice in as many balls, to bring England back into the game before Mathews decided to take the attack to the bowling with a series of heavy blows.
Plunkett had Dinesh Chandimal in all sorts of trouble before he finally pulled one out to deep square leg where Gary Balance took a good catch.
The very next delivery Dhammika Prasad upper-cut another short delivery straight to Joe Root at third man who took an excellent catch diving forward to raucous cheers from an otherwise quiet Headingley crowd.
Mathews threw hit bat to the ground in disgust as Prasad was out, and signalled his intentions by advancing down the pitch to Plunkett in the next over and creaming him over midwicket into the stands for six.
Mathews finished the session unbeaten on 79 as his side went on to a 203 run lead and was partnered by Rangana Herath who survived a peppering of short balls from Plunkett before the end of the session.