England v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Cardiff, 2nd day May 27, 2011

Prasanna ton puts Sri Lanka in control


England 47 for 1 (Cook 24*, Anderson 1*) trail Sri Lanka 400 (P Jayawardene 112, Paranavitana 66, Samaraweera 58, Anderson 3-62) by 353 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England will have expected to encounter problems removing a Jayawardene during this series, but that was likely to be Mahela not Prasanna. Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper, batting in the elevated position of No. 6, hit his third Test hundred to lift the visitors to an impressive 400 on the second day in Cardiff. Thilan Samaraweera and the lower order also played vital hands to ensure a frustrating time for England who lost Andrew Strauss in the final over of the day to finish on 47 for 1.

Right from the beginning of this Test Sri Lanka have impressed with their mindset. They were flexible enough to adjust the balance of their side - and the choice of two spinners could yet prove a masterstroke - while Tillakaratne Dilshan opted to bat when many visiting captains may have hidden behind bowling first. Then the top order took on the responsibility of setting up a platform with a stubborn and committed display. To remove Strauss, who was well caught at second slip off Suranga Lakmal with five balls remaining, capped off a day that couldn't have gone much better for them.

Having opted for a five-man attack it put pressure on Prasanna to perform the role of a frontline batsman. A Test average of 30 showed he was capable but, as Matt Prior has occasionally found, there is a different onus on a wicketkeeper when they walk in at four down rather than five. Prasanna, though, handled his task with aplomb and, although he was dropped at slip on 89 by Strauss off Graeme Swann, it took nothing away from his achievement as he reached a hundred from 147 balls.

What made it even more commendable was that England were in the middle of one of their best periods with the ball as James Anderson, who would later worryingly leave the field with a back strain but return as nightwatchman, found swing in the first session. Sri Lanka hadn't added a run when Prasanna's namesake, Mahela, edged a beauty to first slip which shaped back into him after a series of deliveries moved away. He tried to drop his hands but it was too late and the catch was superbly taken by Strauss diving behind second slip.

It was tough work for the batsmen against Anderson and Chris Tremlett - the combination of swing and bounce - but all Sri Lanka's batsmen knuckled down. When Tharanga Paranavitana's 191-ball stay was ended by an inside edge into his stumps against Tremlett - shortly after being struck in a very painful area - it brought Prasanna to the middle at 159 for 4 and a tipping point of the innings. England will have believed they could break the back of Sri Lanka's resistance but, not for the last time, came up against a stubborn obstacle in a fifth-wicket stand of 84 between Samaraweera and Prasanna.

Samaraweera took a hard blow on the arm from Tremlett and kept the slips and gully interested by playing away from his body, but also collected some confident boundaries. Whenever the England bowlers strayed onto his pads he was quick to pick them off although he wasn't far off edging to third slip when the ball just eluded a diving Alastair Cook.

Still, it was comfortably Samaraweera's best effort on British soil having failed to reach double figures in his previous four Test innings. He went to fifty from 72 balls as the game drifted with England waiting for the new ball before he was squared up by Anderson and edged to second slip. Again, the hosts sensed an opening but it wasn't to be.

Prasanna had started his innings as a useful understudy for Samaraweera then became the senior partner. He twice gained boundaries to third man through the slip cordon but batsmen deserve some fortune when the ball moves around and he took advantage of Swann's introduction to collect two leg-side fours. It was a perfectly paced innings and after tea he became more aggressive by back-cutting Stuart Broad and elegantly drove Swann through cover having been given his life at slip.

Sri Lanka's lower order also played a crucial role in keeping Prasanna company. Farveez Maharoof, who has been in good form for Lancashire, twice faced the DRS system in consecutive overs. The first was a waste after Broad seemingly convinced Strauss to use a review when Maharoof was clearly struck outside off stump. The second was more understandable when Anderson swung one back into Maharoof's pads, but the batsman again survived as the on-field decision remained.

Broad was the least convincing of England's pace bowlers and Strauss was further hampered by Anderson's injury. It meant Jonathan Trott was given a ball just 12 overs old, although a stroke of luck went England's way when Trott deflected a straight drive into the non-striker's stumps to remove Maharoof.

Thisara Perera showed few nerves on his Test debut in a stand of 68 for the seventh wicket including a lofted straight drive against Tremlett. Broad broke through to claim his 100th Test scalp, having taken number 99 at Adelaide in December before injury struck, when Perera spooned another drive to mid-on.

Rangana Herath then helped Prasanna add 51 for the eighth wicket before the last three wickets fell in three overs to give England a 90-minute session with the bat. They were within touching distance of surviving unscathed, but it was Sri Lanka who left the field with a spring in their step.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    I would really like to know why Sangakara was given out. A delivery from Anderson caused a NOISE. The England team appealed. Umpire Aleem Daar, the best umpire in the world was certain he heard a 'NOISE' but didn't 'SEE' ball hit bat and CORRECTLY ruled NOT OUT. Sangakara who is not only an extremely intelligent and VERY FAIR cricketer, but an honourable statesman (A WALKER) knew he did not hit the ball and did not walk. He also knew that if he had hit the ball he would look like an idiot via the TV replay - the statesman he is, he would never risk that happening to him. The TV replay via HOTSPOT showed there was no contact between bat and ball; yet the third umpire advised Umpire Daar that Sangakara was OUT - causing such unnecessary controversy! When the evidence is dubious, isn't it the English legal sytem which states that the best verdict/ decision should be based on the 'SEE' factor? Bastman didn't feel; Umpire didn't see; Hotspot says NOT OUT, yet batsman given out! NONSENSE!

  • Siri on May 28, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    Well done Prassanna J who let his bat answer his critics. Well done Sri Lanka who achieved 400 runs in near atrocious conditions - temp about one third of what they're used to being given their fixtures yet again in May, howling winds in/from all directions, ultra seamer friendly wickets the home side takes for granted etc. Add to this the two top batters hardly stepped up and contributed(albeit in Sanga's case due to a blunder by 3rd umpire). So well done all. You all played your part.

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    congratz Prassanna. Well,this 100 doesn't make Prassanna a better batsman than Chandimal but still this is a great inns & shown us that he is a better batsman than we thought. That dosent mean we should ignore our youngsters regularly. they should be given chances at least occasionally if SL want to improve as a team & become no 1 in the world. I hope our bowlers do well..I dont think Englishmen have a chance of winning(unless we play really badly)..so Dili shoud attack and try to get wickets. Jimmy Anderson will be a big loss..bcz they dont have much depth in their bowling. Good luck SL~

  • Rajesh on May 28, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    Despite being an Indian, I would like to congratulate the Srilankans on their fine performance in the 1st test against England. Now it's upto the Lankan bowlers to rise to the occasion & make the English batsmen dance to their tunes. Great knock from Prasanna Jayawardhene. Now where is Sir Ian Botham? He was saying England is the best team in the world & they will surely beat India in the forthcoming series. But the Lankan batsmen have exposed the inadequacies in this English bowling line up. If the young Lankan batsmen can amass 400 against this English attack, then imagine what Sachin, laxman, Dravid, Sehwag, Kohli, MSD, Gambhir & Badri will achieve against England in the July series? Maybe India will make 800, with Sachin or Viru making 300! People like Botham should learn to accept the supremacy of Asian teams. The days of England & Australia dominating World Cricket are over, Mr Botham, whether you like it or not.India & Lanka are the Cricketing superpowers today, what do U say?

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    Well done Prasanna, I feel sorry for Dinesh Chandimal...

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    Thanks Andrew... well balance article... it had the pluses & minuses of both the sides..

  • spirit on May 28, 2011, 7:24 GMT

    where r the englishmen who were boasting the english attack and the team as the best in the world,even as an indian i feel proud of this srilankan team,the subcontinent teams r no more the side of earlier era's and its better the english sud know this fact quickly,the english were unable to win their last two home series against india & SL never mind their struggle in subcontinent,is'nt botham was calling england as the best??sanga & mahela did'nt clicked and they r due for a big score,the only worrying aspect is SLankan bowling,had malinga been in the side it wud have been more interesting but the masterstroke is two spinners in SL side and will prove crucial...

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    well done prasanna...dere were critics all around to slam our batting order as well as our over all squad..but u have helped to some extend to prove them wrong...hope da boys will cme and bowl today...now dis is da best chance to win da match...we need 19 more wickets...hope will get dem smehow..!!

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    Prassana is about the best batter in test for SL during the last 10 tests averaging over 53. Some uneducated by standers were proposing to drop him. Ha ha ha

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Hey ! Now where are the fellows who wanted Prasanna to be removed ? He is the best Wicket Keeper, and now he has proved his class with the bat as well. Best of Luck, Sri Lanka.

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