Essex v Sri Lankans, Chelmsford, 1st day June 10, 2011

Sri Lanka top order punishes Essex

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sri Lankans 324 for 4 (Sangakkara 148*, Thirimanne 104) v Essex

The Sri Lankans had a satisfying opening day against Essex as centuries from two top-order batsmen left them in a strong position. The man likely to take the place of injured captain Tillakaratne Dilshan in the third Test, Lahiru Thirimanne, and the out-of-form former captain, Kumar Sangakkara, both made hundreds on a rain-hit day to make it a day of toil for the Essex bowlers.

It was not Sangakkara who led the side but Thilan Samaraweera, who chose to bat. The rain which has dogged much of the tour followed Sri Lanka to Chelmsford, and only 14 overs were possible before lunch, with three stoppages of play. Tharanga Paranavitana, who has made plenty of runs on the tour, and Thirimanne began brightly putting on 53 before showers forced an early lunch.

Paranavitana nicked to the wicketkeeper soon after the break to give left-arm medium-pacer Tymal Mills his first wicket in first-class cricket, and that proved to be the only breakthrough for Essex till about half an hour before stumps as Thirimanne and Sangakkara put on 152 for the second wicket.

Thirimanne, a 21-year-old left-hand batsman who plays for Ragama, was reprieved at third slip on 11 by Tom Westley and he capitalised on the chance, making his maiden first-class century outside Sri Lanka. He hit 15 fours in his innings but it was Sangakkara who was the more adventurous batsman, sprinting to an unbeaten 148 by stumps with the help of 23 fours and a six. Thirimanne retired at tea, to give the other batsmen a hit.

Sangakkara added 67 with highly-rated Dinesh Chandimal and the Sri Lankans had cruised to 290 for 2 before Ravi Bopara, leading Essex for the first time, struck twice in an over late in the day. He removed Chandimal and Samaraweera in the space of three deliveries but it wasn't enough to prevent it from being Sri Lanka's day.

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  • Dummy4 on June 11, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    i heard new vice captain is kandambi???

  • Dummy4 on June 11, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    Sangakkara should rest after this innings as he could not get an ideal break since the WC due to the disastrous IPL. He should retire after coping with the new ball, to some extent. That's why Mahela doesn't play here. Samaraweera scored a fifty in Cardiff where ball swung viciously and absurd to drop him.

  • Dushan on June 11, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    way to go sanga!!!! :) just show what you are capable of..

  • chamamara on June 11, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    who is the best for opening? jayasuriya???? thirimana??? dimuth??? who is the best for middle order ? chandimal???? kandambi??? who is the best allrounder ? mathews???? perera??? jeewan???

  • Ramesh on June 11, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    Its pitty chandimal missed out, but I think he is the better player out of the 2, Chandimal should be given the nod before thirimanne

  • Gator on June 11, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    I see a Sangakkara century on the horizon. Too good a player, to keep playing the way he is right now. He can silence the critics if he can get a century in the next game.

  • Dummy4 on June 11, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    Let's hope that SL will bat another half day or so, to allow some batting practice for the tail, before any declaration, if applicable. But not beyond tea today. No value of winning this, like against Middlesex, as SL did not give priority to get maximum batting practice rather than winning it. I had a doubt whether Dilshan had a desire to win practice matches rather than test matches. Results of the tests showed it very well. Sangakkara should retire before the commencement today.

  • sachit on June 11, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    good to see thirimanne playing well though against a rather mediocre attack - the youngsters coming to the fore front is essential at this point

  • Chatty on June 10, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    Why wasn't Mahel playing this practice match? Does he think that he doesn't need practice? Well, he DOES! He was rather shaky in the tests and appeared uncomfortable against the fast bowlers.

  • Ranga on June 10, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    Sri Lanka has more than enough batsmen to cope in English conditions......Even the new comers are very high class players and given sufficient opportunity and time they'll grow in to world class players like Sangakkara, Mahela etc...It's the bowling that worries Sri Lanka...They've a wonderful ODI attack where anybody can replace anybody and still achieve the same desired result...But in tests they are not crafty and patient enough to earn wickets.. Sl should post a 500+ runs and given the batters to come they should get there withing 30 odd overs...then they should make time and get the bowlers to work....they need practice and to learn skills....Welegedara and Lakmal seems settled for 3rd Test but the 3rd seamer is the tricky part...If Rosebowl is what it used to be I guess SL will go with 7 batsmen, 3 seamers and a spinner...Thirimanne, Paranavithana, Sangakkara, Jayawardena, Samaraeera, Chandimal, Prasanna, Thisara, Herath, Lakmal, Welegedara will field the ground for I hope...

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