England v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Cardiff, 1st day May 26, 2011

Sri Lanka fight on shortened opening day

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Sri Lanka 133 for 2 (Paranavitana 58*, M Jayawardene 4*) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sri Lanka's openers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana, gave their team a solid start to the first Test in Cardiff before England's bowlers hit back on a truncated day. The pair added 93 for the first wicket after play was delayed until mid-afternoon by regular showers, but Dilshan couldn't build on his half-century and Kumar Sangakkara also departed in somewhat controversial circumstances when the DRS became involved.

Graeme Swann provided the first breakthrough and James Anderson was in the middle of a testing spell when England appealed for a Sangakkara edge behind but Aleem Dar turned down the shout and Andrew Strauss was quick to use the DRS. The decision rested on a combination of a noise and a faint mark halfway up the bat as the ball scooted past the edge. Rod Tucker, the third umpire, relayed that information and Dar overturned his decision.

Sri Lanka's opening partnership was their best in England, a place where touring sides often struggle against the new ball especially at this time of the year. They were also unfortunate that the dry, warm start to the summer ended on cue for the first day, but one of the main bonuses of Sri Lanka's successful warm-up period was the form of the top two. Dilshan and Paranavitana both hit hundreds against Middlesex and England Lions in stands worth 209 and 200. In that sense, England did well to separate them for 93. A solid start here was vital, too, because Sri Lanka have a lengthy tail after opting for a five-man attack which, after a late change of heart, included two spinners.

Strauss hadn't been unhappy to lose the toss, especially when another shower meant an awkward 70-minute session before tea, but it soon became clear there wasn't going to be a huge amount of help for the quick bowlers. There wasn't much early swing for Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled too short, reinforcing the feeling he is short of rhythm after just two Championship matches for Nottinghamshire and his injury-hit winter.

As was to be expected there were the occasional alarms for the openers but they judged well what to leave and what to play to build the frustrations for the bowlers. Against his natural instincts Dilshan was restrained in the 16 overs before tea except for a flash against Anderson and a strong cut off Broad as he passed 4000 Test runs. Paranavitana was impressively solid and alert to the quick singles although was on the receiving end of two big appeals from England.

The first was for a catch down the leg side which always sounded more like pad, but the second got Anderson excited as Paranavitana was squared up and the ball taken at first slip. Billy Doctrove was proved right, though, as the ball had flicked the batsman's hip and Strauss had been wise to keep the DRS up his sleeve. The England captain is becoming a good judge of when to use the system. However, Paranavitana was never flustered and adjusted impressively for a man playing his first Test outside the subcontinent.

After tea Dilshan came out playing more shots although England's bowlers did find the edges of both batsmen without anything reaching the slips. Chris Tremlett produced a probing spell that began to build some pressure and one delivery reared past Dilshan's edge even though he was largely negated by a slow pitch.

Swann had been brought on in the 27th over and while he couldn't produce a first-over strike he was in the action in his fourth. At the start of the over Dilshan reached fifty from 92 balls, but three balls later dragged into his stumps as he tried to force through the off side. England sensed their chance for a late push and Anderson's short battle with Sangakkara promised more for the series ahead.

Paranavitana remained firm during the closing overs and brought up a hard-working and hugely valuable fifty from 145 balls when he cut Tremlett for his fifth boundary. With Mahela Jayawardene for company plenty of hard work remains for England's bowlers.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Philip_Gnana on May 27, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    I would love to hear Rod Tuckers explanation in giving that decision re Sanga. SL have done well so far. I hope these guys do perform and show the Indian anti-SL guys what we can do.

  • Philip_Gnana on May 27, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Sanga's dismissal. Poor umpiring by Ryder. The UDRS works but not he the poor judgement of the umpires. Yet again the umpires have failed. The fact is, If the snick was that loud to be heard then why is it that there was no appropriate Hot spot? If that was a snick according to the Third Umpire he has been biased towards England. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • Lord.emsworth on May 27, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    Mahela Jayawardene really struggled and got out wobbling and scraping. Pity really as he had this great chance to prove once and for all that he can really bat outside the sub-continent. Pity as a nicer guy is harder to find. Sangakarra too got out cheaply and now the SL selectors must decide how long they intend to persevere with Sanga & Mahela? They fail to often like the great Jayasuriya did in his later years. Why the duce Rajapakse and the other brilliant under 21 players are never given a opportunity is a traverstey of justice. Even Boycott has mentioned this. Thirimanne wasnt the best performing under 21 player.

  • dummy4fb on May 27, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    Rohan Thillekeratne have you ever studied or even played soft ball cricket ? Your suggestion of playing Randiv at the expense of a seemer is ridiculous. If you suggested another seemer I would say reasonable. And playing Dinesh Chandimal instead of Prasanna who has so many test hundreds and a fine average ha ha ha.... Chandimal should fight for one of the first five batting positions....

  • dummy4fb on May 27, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    sl have to play with 12 players.. 12 man is 3rd umpire.surely that is not the mistake it is done for England they trying to get 1win advantage no worry's this is home of cricket

  • 5wombats on May 27, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    Damp squib of a day @Cardiff. I didn't enjoy. Game has draw written all over it. Hopefully today will be better. Just off to the ground now.....

  • dummy4fb on May 27, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    Watching some of yesterdays action I couldn't help but think that playing Test Matches in Cardiff is an absolute joke. An empty ground (weather permitting) with no atmosphere, and a dead track which produces stodgy cricket - and will suit Sri Lanka more than England. Still, well played the Sri Lankan top order yesterday!

  • dummy4fb on May 27, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    That decision was AWFUL! What ever happened to without a reasonable doubt?

  • WPDDESILVA on May 27, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    Sanga was not out. They should bring the hot spot technology. Remember that Kumar walks when he nicks even when his team in trouble. If you watch the IPL you'd know! Bring on the HOT SPOT.

  • awg3599 on May 27, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    @cricketman123 @Uvindu Perera @area1985 @Crik Sare et al The hotspot replay showed 2 hotspots - one high up towards the centre of the bat where the plastic heat reflective maker's name sticker would be and one on the edge of the bat on the same trajectory as the ball. Clearly OUT and the third umpire saw this. I recommend that you watch the coverage in HD as the second hotspot was as clear as day. This was later confirmed by "snicko" - a clear sharp noise at the moment the ball was alongside the edge of the bat. So the third umpire got it right. And as for the argument it was "such a faint edge" that it shouldn't count - well, by the laws of the game if the ball touches the bat and is caught the batsman is OUT. Says nothing about degrees of touching. The laws of physics are quite clear here too - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - therefore one object (a bat) striking another (a ball) will dissipate the energy in SOUND (the snick) and HEAT (the hotspot). OUT

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