• 1983-2011

Sri Lanka’s first visit to Headingley in any format of international cricket was in 1983 when they played in two ODIs in that seaon’s World Cup. The first of these games was against Pakistan and the second against England. Three more ODIs on the Leeds ground have followed – in 2002, 2006 and 2011 and all of these have been against England. Of the four games played thus far between these two oppoents each country has won two matches. Paul Dyson looks back at the most spectacular of these games even though it was a most one-sided affair. The photo of Fred Trueman in old age comes courtesy of Mick Pope.

July 1, 2006 at Headingley: England 321-7 in 50 overs (ME Trescothick 121, VS Solanki 44*, AN Cook 41, SL Malinga 4-44); Sri Lanka 324-2 in 37.3 overs (ST Jayasuriya 152, WU Tharanga 109) . Sri Lanka won by eight wickets.

This was the final game of a five-match series and the visitors were in the lead to the tune of four matches to nil. The day began with the news that Fred Trueman had died and the match started with a minute’s silence and a minute’s applause for the great Yorkshire and England fast bowler.

Andrew Strauss won the toss for England and decided to bat. Marcus Trescothick and Alistair Cook began very slowly with only one run from the first three overs (left-arm fast-medium Chaminda Vaas had begun with two maidens, swinging the ball off a good length) and 39 in the first ten. They eventually extended their stand to 82 before Cook was caught off the fast-medium of Mohamed Maharoof for 41. Ian Bell and Strauss both helped Trescothick in stands of 75 (62 balls) and 68 (60 balls) as the innings gradually accelerated before Trescothick was bowled by the left-arm spin of Sanath Jayasriya for an excellent 121 from 118 balls, an innings which contained 16 fours and a six. Vikram Solanki and Jamie Dalrymple (30 from 27 balls) then scored even faster, their stand of 62 coming off only 47 balls. After being 295 for four in the 47th over Lasith Malinga bowled impressively to cause England to lose three quick wickets for 13 and finish their 50 overs on 321 for seven, Solanki remaining on 44 not out from only 34 balls. Malinga took four for 44; he was easily the most economical of the seven bowlers used, as well as the most penetrative. Nevertheless the total looked a very imposing one.

Sri Lanka’s openers, however, had other ideas. Wheras England had scored only one run in their first three overs, their opponents plundered 46! Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan, opening the bowling with Kabir Ali, conceded 29 runs from his first two overs; not only did he not bowl again in the match, it was his final appearance in an England shirt for almost three years, discounting a one-off game against Scotland. Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga tucked into England’s seam ‘attack’ with relish and such haste that their score after 10 overs was 133 for no wicket (England 39-0). The intorduction of Steve Harmison – in the fifth over – had had the opposite of the desired effect and his ten overs eventually cost an unbelievable 97; this is still the record for England in all ODIs although it has since been equalled. Kabir Ali conceded 12 runs per over in his stint of six, Liam Plunkett just over nine in his five and only the off-spin of Dalrymple, of the main bowlers, escaped significant damage; his ten overs went for 48. The openers piled up the runs to such an extent that their first-wicket stand of 286 not only came in 32 overs but also broke the world record for that wicket; it has since been beaten – but only once. Jayasuriya was eventually dismissed for 152 from 99 balls, his total including 20 fours and four sixes, his upper-cuts and leg-side flicks torturing England’s bowlers. Tharanga, who was caught-and-bowled by Dalrymple, scored 109 from 102 balls with 14 fours and one six, his cultured cover-drives contrasting with his partner’s unorthodox stroke-play. The pair were the only batsmen to be dismissed and Sri lanka reached the target with a staggering 75 balls to spare. The last word: ‘I don’t know what’s going off out there’ could well have belonged to Trueman but, as Wisden stated, ‘he would have known only too well and said so’.

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