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Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Kandy, 5th day
England made Sri Lanka fight hard - Lloyd
December 5, 2007
A fine win for Sri Lanka, and the new ball did the trick for the Lankans on a day when England made them sweat
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Ian Bell is cleaned up by Muttiah Muralitharan after a fighting 74 as England slump to an 88-run defeat against Sri Lanka © Getty Images
Andrew Miller: Sri Lanka wrapped up the match up by 88 runs in a thrilling finish. David, it wasn't the final day that we had expected?

David Lloyd: No it wasn't, I think England made Sri Lanka fight really hard. I thought Sri Lanka fretted at the back end of the game, there was that aspect where the new ball was available and I thought that it was a major surprise when Mahela Jayawardene took the new ball and gave it to Murali. England would have been programmed that they have got Murali off - the ball was very soft, Murali strived to take wickets and nothing was coming for him as it was desperately slow. Murali had said that it would be really difficult in the second innings for the spinner, and then he opened the bowling. That for me spelt danger for England. England would have been expecting two seamers to bowl - Murali with a newer ball, with a seam that will grip a bit more on this desperately slow pitch and of course the hardness and the bounce. So it was, and he got rid of both Matt Prior and Ian Bell, who batted beautifully for England.

AM: Well they did, and they added 109 for the seventh wicket and they looked a million dollar while they were out there.

DL: Yes, and it was a timely innings for Matt Prior, he has his detractors. I think he has kept wickets very very well in this game, he scored naught in the first innings and he needed a score. It looked like a forgone conclusion - England 90 for 5, and then lunch at 125 for 5. It was just a matter of time, and the game was set to finish at tea - but they got stuck in, good old fashion, get stuck in. But they played very very well, it wasn't all defence, the pair of them gave me the impression that they were reading Murali off the hand.I spoke to him [Murali] two days ago, and he knows this pitch, he lives here and this is home town, he said, `it would be difficult for me in the second innings, I will have to bowl a lot of overs, the pitch is too slow for my style of bowling.'

So, England can reflect on amount of wickets taken by the new ball bowlers, I think England are being naive in this game by batting inside the crease. I think that [Kumar] Sangakkara and Chamara Silva showed the way by batting outside the crease, after the first innings dismissal of the team for 188. You've got to nullify the swing, and you do that by standing outside the crease and meeting the ball getting well forward. England for the majority of the dismissals by the seamers, were stuck back in the crease, and it is something that they can take forward to Colombo, it has been a terrific Test match, it really has.

I think Sri Lanka deserved to win, good rearguard action by England but they have got a lot to do now in the series.

AM: You mentioned Sri Lanka's effort with the new ball, and one man in particular, Chaminda Vaas in his 100th game, he has been rather overlooked until today but he really made the early breakthroughs, didn't he?

DL: It comes in under the radar as call the talk is about Murali. He [Vaas] is 75-78 miles per hour, he is not tall, he doesn't get a lot of bounce, but he has got a lot of know how as to how to bowl in the sub continent. He is a fine bowler, 300 plus Test match wickets tell you that. He has always been a problem for England over here - looking for that ball that comes back into the pads, but he also moves it away, and it can go both ways. He has been a champion for Sri Lanka in the past, and it is fitting for him that in his 100th Test match he has made a telling contribution.

AM: England were five down early on and it looked like it will be all over very early, but their tail is unexpectedly resilient, I think we thought that it would be rather brittle than what it has been in this Test.

DL: I think the pitches suit them, and it's always nice for a tailender to go in there and be able to get forward, and not to have a fast bowler with searing pace on a bouncing pitch just knocking your head off. Yes they got stuck in, and that has been a pleasing part of the game. I am not one of these guys who say that we have got beaten, now let's see what positives we can take from it - I think you got to reflect on what we did not do right. If you look at Sri Lanka's second innings - 442 for 8, the attack was ineffective, reverse swing wasn't there at any great pace from the quicker bowlers, Monty Panesar was not suited by this service. So they have got three day to think about how to improve an attack and just a little chest nuts again - to get more runs in the first innings. I thought it was a big bonus to dismiss Sri Lanka for 188, England 281, yes they got the lead of 93 but I think you need 350 in Sri Lanka to be round about in the game.

AM: That first innings collapse was instigated by Mathew Hoggard, but batting out there he looked a bit ginger, do you reckon he is going to be alright for the second test?

DL: I think he is out of it, from what we have seen. It is the same injury, the lower back, and it kept him out for some days. My own personal view after seeing him bat, he had a runner out there and he could hardly move, I think it would be a miracle if he is ready for the next Test. That brings [Steve] Harmison or [Stuart] Broad into the reckoning for England.

AM: One nil down, England have fought back from this position before in series in Sri Lanka, can you see them coming back from this?

DL:Yes I can, they are a team of scrappers. It's one nil down but they have got a good attitude in the team. Peter Moores will allow them three days to get over this, and then they have to come out - roll your sleeves up and play better down at Colombo. Then there is Galle, and it is an unknown quantity. Tragically it's anew ground and it's a new wicket, so that will be a big influence on the game when they get down to Galle.

For England, they can't go down two down in the series, they have to get something, even a draw, from the next game in Colombo.

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Posted by ravi on (December 6, 2007, 7:40 GMT)

Great batting performance by KC Sangakkara and magic ball by murali helped srilanka to win the match.

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