England Lions v Sri Lankans, Derby, 2nd day May 21, 2011

Dilshan hundred leads Sri Lanka's fightback

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Sri Lankans 266 and 392 for 6 (Samaraweera 54*, Randiv 19*) lead England Lions 493 for 8 by 165 runs
Live scorecard

After two tough days against England Lions, the Sri Lankans put up a better fight having been asked to follow on but still face the prospect of defeat ahead of the first Test. Tillakaratne Dilshan led a much more convincing display with a brisk 117 in an opening stand of 200 with Tharanga Paranavitana who built a composed 125. However, the Lions chipped away and by the close had six wickets for their hard work with the tourists 165 ahead.

Although a defeat wouldn't be ideal, it is always important for a visiting team to have an in-form captain and Dilshan will be one of the most confident Sri Lanka batsmen. This innings followed his 123 against Middlesex, at Uxbridge, and he was above a run-a-ball for the majority of his stay. England's bowlers will have to be on the spot straight away with the new ball otherwise an innings can get a head start with Dilshan's attacking play.

He was given a life on 95 when Samit Patel spilled a chance moving to his right at gully, the second catch he has spilled in the game, and in the next over Dilshan went to his hundred from 92 balls with a sparkling cover drive which he repeated next ball.

He was eventually removed by Steven Finn, who bowled a superb eight-over spell during the afternoon session having been loose in the morning, with a delivery that climbed and brushed the glove. Dilshan doesn't have a particular weakness against the short ball, but can expect to be bombarded in the Test series. He showed today, however, that although that line of attack may eventually work, it can be a very expensive tactic.

Dilshan's innings included a top-edged six that eluded fine leg, but enough balls flew to the boundary to show he wasn't afraid of taking on bouncers. He also rarely played a shot with half measures so when edges flew over or between the slips they were travelling far too quickly for the fielders .

On a bright and breezy morning there wasn't as much help for the quick bowlers as there was on the cloudy second evening. Graham Onions beat the bat during his opening spell and Jade Dernbach, who impressed with 5 for 44 yesterday, almost made the breakthrough when Paranavitana drove short of point on 21. Later in the session Paranavitana slashed through the slips, again off Dernbach, but it was much harder work for the bowlers.

It was an important performance from the opening pair, who put on 59 in the first innings before a collapse set in. Paranavitana is the more understated of the openers but a resolute character, who began his Test career with a first-ball duck and now averages 37.

He is the perfect foil for the dashing Dilshan and the left-right combination means bowlers are always adjusting. He didn't offer a chance although became a touch nervous as the hundred approached and was almost run out on 99 before reaching three figures with a cut off Patel.

The Lions bowlers had to work hard for their success but slowly they began to arrive during the afternoon. Finn claimed a deserved second scalp when Kumar Sangakkara edged into leg stump for 17 meaning he's had precious little time in the middle ahead of the first Test. Mahela Jayawardene looked in fine touch during his 26 but recieved a good ball from Ajmal Shahzad that beat his defence. Stuart Law, the Sri Lanka coach, has said he has no concerns over his experienced pair going into the Test series.

Paranavitana's five-hour stay came to a slightly limp end when he tamely drove to point off Bopara which left the Sri Lankans four down and less than a hundred ahead. Bopara's bowling is one of the factors likely to sway Test selection in his favour so an extended run won't have done him any harm.

Dernbach struck his first blow of the innings when Dinesh Chandimal edged to first slip and James Hildreth held his second catch to remove Prasanna Jayawardene as Onions got one to nip away. Thilan Samaraweera proved a tough obstacle having been missed on 6 when Jonny Bairstow couldn't complete a stumping and reached fifty from 87 balls. Suraj Randiv, who made 76 in the first innings, flicked a tough chance to Dernbach at leg slip on 14 and the pair took their stand to 42. It could yet be an intriguing final day.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • KingOwl on May 22, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    To Gayan Gunawardana: Your point is valid if we do not have other top class wicket keepers in the team. Sanga is a great wicket keeper. Have no doubt. He just didn't want t do it because of the added burden.

  • dummy4fb on May 22, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Well, nice discussion every bits & pieces are being taken to the table. I think it's evidently proved that Prasanna isn't in the greatest touch as ever he was as most of comments point out. But I do believe Gayan Gunawardane is absolutely spot in many ways.

    Hmmm,,, as A Sri Lankan I tend to think that SL has got the least powerful bowling attack first time in the history as the absence of Murali whose the world class bowler plus number one bowler cricket has ever made alongside "Malinga" whose well known as toe crusher are the main elements which SL bowling line up are missing for. So ultimately with that in mind it led to where most of SL would believe that another bowler instead of Prasanna would do in terms of covering the gap which already there right now in the bowling line.

    Anyway my perspectives are towards forthcoming test series that SL still have more & enough batsmen to come forward and score tons & more tons which balance out the bowling attack. Cheers!!!

  • CRICSL on May 22, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    I suggest Prasanna should be sent home, since there are three more wicket keepers (Sanga, Chandimal, Kaushal Silva) and replace him with a spinner or a fast b bowler. Prasanna does not justify his selection as he is out of form. He was dragged in to the team to take off extra burden from Sunga's shoulder. Since Sanga has no captaincy burden he can easily keep wicket and bat (Like Gilly did for AUS over the years). I agree with the comments made by "cranaweera" and Sri Lankan Selectors should take a serious note of this as it's wasting a very good place of a player in the team.

  • courierpost on May 22, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    Sl doing well so far considering the line up SL got.

  • dummy4fb on May 22, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    I cant understand all this talk about Prasanna. Sri Lanka have 5 batsmen (who are only there to bat) ahead of him, so it's their task to score the big runs. As Sri Lanka have a pretty weak bowling attack they can't afford to miss even a single half chance that comes the keepers way. So it will add more value to have a great wicket keeper who may take a few difficult chances than have a batting allrounder doing an average job as a wicket keeper. See if we miss one chance from Strauss/Cook/Bell/Peterson/Morgan that can each cost us 100+ runs, at the same time the maximum we can expect to get by having a different guy keep wickets (in place of Prasanna) is 30,40+ runs per inning. So it makes more sense to let Prasanna keep wickets and do an excellent job at that than having a bits and pieces guy keeping wickets and missing chances.

  • dummy4fb on May 22, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Chandimal should play in TESTS despite not scoring runs in this match..He is a fabulous batsman..Prassanna is useless..If chandimal or Sanga cant wicket keep ,Kusal should replace Prasanna. SL have 3 better wicket keeper batsmen than Prassanna..So i cant believe how this guy always finds a spot in the team ! SL middle is not a problem..Sanga,Mahela, & Samaraweera are among top 10 in world & all of them averages well over 50 ! Good to see Samaraweera showing his class out side subcontinent..if He scores runs in this series everyone should accept that he is a Modern Great & right up there with Sanga & Mahela as a TEST player. (70+ TESTs @ an average of 54 ,including two double hundreds against Pak )

  • sanath007 on May 22, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    chandimal's and prasanna'a form is a worry, i always though Kaushal silva should be in this squad as the keeper. he's got the technique and experience to play in these conditions

  • dummy4fb on May 22, 2011, 2:18 GMT

    Good signs that Sri Lanka are up for making this an exciting Test series !

  • KingOwl on May 21, 2011, 22:10 GMT

    I think Sanga should keep wickets. It seems Prasanna is not in form. That will allow SL to play another batsman. Now that Sanga has no captaincy responsibility, he should be able to do the job.

  • Herath-UK on May 21, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    Prasanna's form a worry,nothing out of four innigs.Could have tried Kaushal Silva in one of the games. Ranil Herath Kent

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