England Lions v Sri Lankans, Derby, 4th day May 22, 2011

Pacemen seal Sri Lanka outstanding victory


Sri Lankans 266 and 448 beat England Lions 493 for 8 dec and 183 (Hildreth 38, Pradeep 4-29, Fernando 3-33) by 38 runs

The Sri Lankans gave themselves the perfect pre-Test tonic with an outstanding come-from-behind victory by 38 runs against England Lions. Despite following on 227 adrift they transformed the match and dismissed the Lions for 183 during the final session at Derby. Dilhara Fernando took three wickets in six balls including Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, a pair who had contrasting emotions after England's Test squad was named, while Nuwan Pradeep went through the rest with 4 for 29.

It was a superb performance from the Sri Lankans who were a distant second-best for the first two days. But they then batted with conviction in the second innings to amass 448 and bowled with real desire. The effort was led by Fernando's 11-over spell and backed up by Pradeep, who could well have bowled himself into the Test side, and he took the key scalp of James Hildreth who was the Lions' last real hope.

The second half of this match included a host of positives for the visitors, beginning with the 200-run opening partnership and then the performance of the fast bowlers who made the most of a howling gale from their back. Sri Lanka's pace attack is still their weakest suit heading into Cardiff, but they will have taken huge confidence from this performance.

Hunting down 222 in 73 overs, the Lions had moved to 58 for 1 when Fernando began to make inroads. Bowling with the wind - which was actually a gale - from his back he gave James Taylor a roughing up with some short bowling before trimming his off stump with an excellent delivery. In his next over he claimed Bopara, to complete a tough day for the Essex man, when another short delivery brushed his glove as he failed to get out of the line.

Morgan, who received good news last night from national selector Geoff Miller, came and went in a flash. He pulled his first ball to midwicket but two deliveries later pushed forward at a good length delivery and edged to second slip where Mahela Jayawardene, who dropped two in the first innings, was back in safe-hands mode.

During the afternoon session Dilshan largely used his spinners into the howling wind so that his quicks could benefit from the assistance. Hildreth and Samit Patel set about reviving the innings from 67 for 4 although Patel should have gone on 20 when he tried to hit down the ground with the wind and Thisara Perera, at long-off, made a mess of judging the catch. Patel then flashed a low catch to gully where the fielder was slow to move. Either side of his two lives he played some handsome strokes until being given lbw when height looked an issue to end a stand of 61.

After tea the Lions suffered another swift slump. Firstly Jonny Bairstow poked a catch back to Pradeep who took it well in his follow through and then Ajmal Shahzad was lbw to the first ball of a new spell from Perera, a pace bowler given a rare burst into the wind. Hildreth had played calmly for his 38 but then flicked a catch straight to deep square-leg where it was well held by Dinesh Chandimal.

It meant Thilan Samaraweera's stubborn 74, which extended the lead beyond 200, proved crucial. The Sri Lankans had lasted another 14 overs on the final morning as Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach wrapped up the innings. Dernbach, who took 5 for 44 in the first innings, ended with career-best match figures of 9 for 138 but, as Sri Lanka showed the fight that has made them such a successful team, they ended up in a losing cause. England will need to be switched on come Thursday.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cric on May 25, 2011, 18:18 GMT

    What a shame. We fans are still fighting with numbers and don't enjoy the game? Like a big history book. Whoever becomes number ones will yet have to prove they are still on the top by playing with spirit forever. Let's put up a thrilling series Sri Lanka and England. Make us proud, Sri Lanka! Victory feels good, but if anything rather unfortunate happens, don't worry still behind your backs. I'm sure our team will try to do the best. Go SL!

  • Dummy4 on May 24, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    Sri Lankan batsmen in Tests in England since 2000

    Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Mahela Jayawardene 6 502 45.63 2/ 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan 3 195 32.50 0/ 2 Kumar Sangakkara 6 336 30.54 0/2 Thilan Samaraweer a 2 17 4.25 0/ 0

  • H.g. on May 24, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    Dear Indian fans do u remember how many times we[sl] have packed u back.? 2006 world cup is one to mention.

  • Dummy4 on May 24, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    @ radhakrishna rao......, for your information i must say only one thing. how many finals india have lost to sri lanka in major ivents????????? if you check when it comes to finals pakistan and sri lanka have done well if you go back to the history,and since 1982 sri lanka have reached 3 w/c finals for india they r playing cricket for 100 years and how long they took to reach that milestone lols.......

  • rajitha on May 24, 2011, 1:11 GMT

    @radhakrishna -----INDIA lost major events more than Sri Lanaka............ in some world cups India didnt select for the super six as well....

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    @Mihil: rightly said, if a country focuses on building a very good test team, all the other things will automatically fall in place

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2011, 17:22 GMT

    I think Dilshan will set the feilding standards high and motivate the team well. SL's past two captains rarely speak to the bowlers and dilly is sure to motivate them and lead from the front.

  • joel on May 23, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    That 20 /20 tournment that England won last year was that an icc recognised trophy ? . The only reason i ask is , that nearly every comment on here from indian and sri lanka fans .Goes along the lines of only india , sri lanka and pakistan are capable of winning these championships ! . As an England fan i personaly couldnt careless about 20/20 0r odi victorys .

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    Apartheid will continue in this world...previously it was colour-based...race-based or nation-based...now it could be cultural...based on language spoken..and so on... and someday there could be 'negative Apartheid' as well....so Mclashan is well within his rights to follow his Idols 'Mike Dennes,Darry Hair,KFC... or he could be serving his masters rightfully,just like Bucknor,Madugalle,Richardson and co did...

  • Prbath on May 23, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    @Radhakrishna Rao, yes yes so call best team in the world won one coup after 20 or so years, with the help of money and bias UDRS person...world know that..

  • No featured comments at the moment.