England v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Cardiff, 5th day May 30, 2011

Tremlett and Swann secure incredible victory


England 496 for 5 dec (Trott 203, Cook 133, Bell 103*) beat Sri Lanka 400 (P Jayawardene 112, Paranavitana 66, Anderson 3-66, Swann 3-78) and 82 (Swann 4-16, Tremlett 4-40) by an innings and 14 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Graeme Swann and Chris Tremlett bowled England to an extraordinary innings-and-14-run victory as Sri Lanka collapsed in a barely believable 24.4 overs on the final day in Cardiff. The pair shared eight wickets before Stuart Broad bounced out the last two batsmen to secure one of more remarkable wins in recent memory considering the amount of time lost to rain. Sri Lanka were shell-shocked and couldn't handle the pressure, losing eight wickets in the final session.

When Andrew Strauss declared two overs into the day, having given Ian Bell chance to reach his hundred - after play was delayed until 3pm by heavy morning rain - the summit of England's ambitions appeared to be taking some psychological points to Lord's on Friday. However, Tremlett removed both openers before tea to set the nerves jangling, and when Mahela Jayawardene became his third at the start of the final session, panic was beginning to set in the Sri Lankan ranks.

Only when they were eight down did the visitors try to erase England's advantage with any haste as Thisara Perera and Ajantha Mendis put bat to ball, but wickets were never far away against a pumped-up bowling attack. It didn't matter that Strauss only had three frontline options, with James Anderson suffering a side strain. Tremlett preyed on the batsmen's insecurities against the short ball, Swann found turn to force frazzled minds into playing loose shots, and then Broad hustled through the final resistance with 26 overs still to play.

The merits of Strauss allowing Bell to reach three figures would have been hotly debated had England run out of time at the end, but his bowlers ensured he didn't have to worry. The door was pushed ajar by Tremlett's new-ball burst, elevated to the role vacated by Anderson and one he'll be reluctant to relinquish. He struck with the last ball of his first over when Tharanga Paranavitana edged a low chance to first slip that was well held by the captain.

Tillakaratne Dilshan is a player who could have quickly erased the deficit and eased the pressure, but he got into a tangle against a shorter delivery from Tremlett and the chance lobbed back to the bowler. Dilshan was given out straight away but he went to the DRS and replays confirmed a glove. Mahela and Kumar Sangakkara survived until tea with Sri Lanka 33 for 2, yet they gave a false sense of security.

Although Tremlett changed ends after the interval, he maintained a probing length which left doubt in the batsman's mind as to whether to play forward to back. Mahela opted to come onto the front foot and Tremlett's extra carry ensured another edge carried comfortably to Strauss. England began to sense something could happen.

Swann then gave another example of why he's the world's best spin bowler. Thilan Samaraweera was caught playing back to one that didn't bounce and dragged onto the stump. Next, from round the wicket, a beautiful piece of bowling lured Sangakkara into an edge and Strauss snaffled his third edge - this time in the unaccustomed position of slip to the spinner.

There was no stopping England or Swann as Farveez Maharoof edged his third ball and again the DRS was fruitless as HotSpot showed a clear edge. However, TV evidence was less clear when Prasanna Jayawardene, the first-innings hero with 112, was given out off a gloved pull. This time it was England who called for the review and although HotSpot wasn't conclusive, Rod Tucker, the third umpire, went on the noise as he had with Sangakkara's first-innings dismissal. The subsequent use of Snicko proved he was right again.

Sri Lanka aided in their own demise, none more so than Rangana Herath who played a horrid sweep at Swann to be caught in front, leaving the visitors 52 for 8. Perera and Mendis quickly worked out the only chance was to get in front of England and the next two overs brought 20 yet, amazingly for a match were 139 overs were lost to rain, there was plenty of time left.

Broad was disappointing in the first innings but when Tremlett was rested he responded with a fierce spell to the lower order. He roughed up Perera who lobbed a chance between three fielders before being brilliantly caught, low down, by Bell at short leg. Two balls later Suranga Lakmal fended another short delivery into the slips. England, four months on from Sydney, were back in victory mode. In contrast, Sri Lanka's dressing room was full of blank faces and this will take some getting over.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    There were comments earlier that India saved a test in 2007 series because of rain ,In that match not 130 overs were lost .So every one agrees that to draw a rain affected match also require some skill LOL

  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2011, 0:29 GMT

    just hope lots of money was not involved on the fifth day :):)

  • Sam on June 1, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    I support New Zealand (hard at times) but man I love this England team. I backed them to win the Ashes in Australia and my friends have coughed up the cash for being too bloody minded. Swann and Prior have been two players I would single out as headlining a cultural change within the squad and making a believer out of me. When you look at the team make up it is so perfect. Three pace bowlers, a great spinner and usually a genuine allrounder (Not this Test but I am sure that will change in time). All the batsmen are just there to bat with a couple having a few easy overs of slow/medium or offspin which hardly takes a toll. Balance is the key and it is what Australia and now Sri Lanka have overlooked. Bowlers need to bowl, batsmen need to bat, the keeper needs to keep wicket and the one allrounder should contribute in both areas but not to the same extent.

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    Ok,Stop blaming Dilshan or the team.what did you say when we humiliated england in the world cup 2months ago? Its cricket.Anything could happened.If we had Dilhara,Nuwan pradeep, welegedara & mathews this could have been a different result.Hope we'll do better on friday. cant we just make someone injured & get vass into the squad as he took 10wickets yesterday.:P

  • Dharaka on June 1, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    REST IN PEACE Sri Lanka Cricket....- A Sri Lankan fan who's fed up of the politics that led to the fall of SL cricket.

  • Badar on June 1, 2011, 11:54 GMT

    I'm so happy to see SL humiliation at Cardiff: well done England! This was the curse inflicted upon Dilshan for uttering rubbish about playing in Pakistan. He may win the next test, even the series but he will never ever be able to write off the most humiliating defeats of all time in his very first test as captain. It will remain there to haunt him for a very long time.

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Give SL senior players more taste of IPL, then things will change more - - -

  • Amal on June 1, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    I understand the frustration of SL fans criticizing their team and their board, and pointing finger towards IPL, and so... Cummon, this is not the end of the world. Remember, last August India were thrashed for a mere 88 in a one dayer (and lost by 200) against kiwi's who just made semis in WC thru a surprise win. In same series, India were shot out for 103 and lost by 8 wickets, but after 8 months they beat the same SL team to win the WC (And now they are like unstoppable for last 10 years!) And remember that last year Pakistan were shot out for 72 in second test (and eventually lost the match), then won the next against England. And more more and more.. Keep calm, you will see some good stuff from SL team very near future. People who rated MS as a useless fellow last October, raised the same guy as the best ever captain of them in this April! That is the beauty of cricket and funniest thing of criticizers.

  • indy on June 1, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    Dilshan.. will take Sri Lankan cricket to early 80's for sure... He can not lead a teaM..

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    im not so inspired with one sided commentry board and freaking hot spot decisions!

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