May 17, 2002

Sri Lanka reach highest-ever Test total at Lord's

England lost the important wicket of Marcus Trescothick after Sri Lanka declared on 555 for eight at Lord's in the first Test. Although their bowlers kept to a more consistent line than yesterday, England again found wickets hard to come by as Marvan Atapattu (185) Aravinda de Silva (88) and Russel Arnold (50) kept the crowd entertained while amassing their team's highest-ever Test total on this ground. England closed on 27 for one in reply.

After a starting with a flourish (and two off-side boundaries) off Nuwan Zoysa, Trescothick was undone by a ball that left him down the slope, edging a catch to Sanath Jayasuriya at first slip. Michael Vaughan and Mark Butcher then saw England through to the close.

This morning Atapattu picked up from where he left off last night, flicking the first ball from Hoggard to the mid-wicket boundary. He completed his 150 with a rasping cut, and Hussain then missed de Silva on 37 at first slip. It was academic, as Flintoff had over-stepped. Sri Lanka's doyen of batsmen celebrated with a dreamy drive to the cover boundary.

Hoggard replaced Caddick but was punished again by Atapattu, with boundaries through square leg and extra cover. The Sri Lankan opener was missed (on 163) in the same over, Flintoff failing to hold on to a low chance to his left at second slip. He then missed de Silva off Caddick in the next over, an edge from a flashing cut finishing at the third man boundary. On reaching his 50 de Silva enjoyed further good fortune, edging a flashing drive off Cork wide of second slip to the rope at third man.

It took a short, leg-side delivery from Cork to break through, as Atapattu failed to get on top of a hook and Marcus Trescothick had plenty of time to position himself for the catch at long leg. Atapattu and de Silva had added 146 for the fourth wicket, just three runs short of Sri Lanka's best against England. Atapattu's 185 included 24 fours and came off 351 balls.

The left-handed Arnold then resumed normal service, finding the cover boundary twice off Flintoff, then cutting another as the same bowler dropped short in his next over. Caddick's return lasted just four overs for 20, including a fierce hook from de Silva, which was deflected several yards off a boundary board. As the sun broke through the haze Arnold responded warmly, taking two to third man with a delightful cut.

A push to mid-wicket off Vaughan took Arnold through to 50 (87 balls, seven fours), and in celebration de Silva swept Vaughan behind square to the rope beneath the Father Time clock tower. Arnold perished as he had lived - in pursuit of quick runs - as an upper cut off Hoggard unerringly pinpointed the ubiquitous Trescothick, who again made no mistake at third man. The return of Cork resulted in de Silva (88) following Arnold back to the pavilion eight balls later. It was a soft dismissal, a short, leg-side delivery brushing the batsman's glove on its way through to Stewart.

Vaas fell for six, driving loosely at Cork for - guess who - Trescothick to pick up the catch at gully. Zoysa then delighted the crowd - doubtless arousing rather different sentiments in Hoggard - with a brace of hooked sixes into the Tavern in one over.

Zoysa (28) was out in similar fashion to de Silva earlier in the day, getting an inside edge as he tried to glance an innocuous-looking delivery from Flintoff to give Stewart a straightforward catch. Tillekeratne and Buddika then saw Sri Lanka to 555 for eight before Jayasuriya declared. The England bowling figures did not make pleasurable reading.