England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Invetsec Test, Headingley, 1st day June 20, 2014

Plunkett and Broad rattle through Sri Lanka


England 36 for 0 (Robson 21*, Cook 14*) trail Sri Lanka 257 (Sangakkara 79, Chandimal 45, Plunkett 5-64, Broad 3-46) by 221 runs
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The hat-trick that was missed

Stuart Broad became the first England bowler to take two hat-tricks in Test cricket, and only the fourth bowler of all time, as England tore through Sri Lanka's lower order on the opening day of the Headingley Test.

It was a day of thrust and counter thrust, a far cry from the footslogging atmosphere of the opening Test at Lord's and left England with a definite advantage in a Test that will decide the outcome of the series.

Broad had to share the acclaim with the local favourite, Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett, who took the final wicket of Nuwan Pradeep, one of life's No. 11s, to finish with 5 for 64, his first five-wicket haul in Tests, and fully justify his recall with a chest-thrusting and, at times, hostile display.

From the moment that Broad removed Kumar Sangakkara, the mainstay of Sri Lanka's innings, for 79, well caught by Ian Bell at gully, Sri Lanka's innings immediately crumbled: four wickets lost in nine balls. Plunkett's bouncer accounted for Dhammika Prasad, second ball for nought, before Broad added Dinesh Chandimal at first slip and Shaminda Eranga, a catch to the keeper, with the first two deliveries of his following over.

The sequence so confused Broad - and many others alongside him - that he was initially oblivious to the hat-trick. "I'd absolutely no idea," he admitted. It was a momentous achievement all the same, taking him alongside Australia's legspinner Jimmy Matthews (who did it twice in the same match), his fellow Australian Hugh Trumble and Wasim Akram of Pakistan as the only players to achieve the feat twice. Broad's previous success came against India at Trent Bridge in 2011.

It was not all perfect by England, though. Sangakkara is on what many presume to be his farewell tour of England, but he must have been flattered to see how many gifts were bestowed open him. They treated him to a missed run out, a non-appeal when he nicked one and two catching blunders to enable him to blunt their progress. Plunkett suffered most of them. He might have buckled. That he did not was a test of his character as well as his physique.

England should have run Sangakkara out before he had scored. His appetite for a single to mid-on from the fourth ball he received was misconceived, Broad's low throw was calm enough to give Matt Prior time to hurtle up to the stumps, but the ball bounced awkwardly in front of him and he was unable to complete the run out.

His second let-off, in the last over before lunch, was belatedly revealed on Sky TV nearly an hour later. England stifled appeals for a catch at the wicket as Sangakkara's bat also hit the ground, pushing at Plunkett, but Hot Spot revealed the presence of a thin edge.

Sangakkara's third moment of fortune, on 27, surprised him so much that he was already four paces to the pavilion. Plunkett, again the bowler, was celebrating, the crowd was roaring its approval and England's slips were setting off in unison towards the bowler when everybody realised that the ball had struck Prior on the chest and, oblivious to the fact that it was nestling on his gloves, he had thrown his hands apart in confusion and allowed it to drop to the floor.

Cook protested pre-match that something should be done about Shane Warne, a grouse that suggested that he was a captain feeling in need of friends. Instead, he had to contend with Headingley, that most capricious of allies, a ground liable to indicate one thing and do quite another. He took a deep breath and put Sri Lanka in to bat. It was not a simple choice, but it turned out well as Sri Lanka's resilience in their first Test in Leeds was lacking.

In the first hour, Headingley, although clothed by light cloud, refused to play ball. Few deliveries swung and Sri Lanka's openers left the ball with conviction. However, as the temperatures rose, the ball began to do a bit. Cook, pilloried for negativity, was in the mood to push his attack to the limit: Anderson bowled 10 on the bounce as he eased into his work; Plunkett, used to short spells, was asked for an eight-over stint in the afternoon. The pitch was quicker than Lord's and the forecast suggested that England could anticipate good batting conditions on the morrow.

Cook himself was grateful to survive to see the second morning when England negotiated a tricky end-of-day session. TV replays ruled out an edge to first slip, where Sangakkara admitted from the outset that he was uncertain whether the ball had carried.

If Cook was under pressure, so was Headingley. Yorkshire, under good direction these days, had put in considerable effort to win hearts and minds among a notoriously hard-to-please public, and although the overall crowd figure will eventually exceed that for the previous Test against New Zealand, the gaps on the terraces did not provide overwhelming evidence for the love of Test cricket routinely professed by Yorkshire folk wherever in the world they might be.

England had marked Bell's 100th Test by presenting him with a silver cap and by a guard of honour from the players as he took the field. Cook voiced the opinion that he was "one of the best, if not the best" batsmen he had ever played with. For Sri Lanka, there was sadness: players wore black armbands after hearing of the death of their baggage man, PD Nimal, in a motorcycle accident.

Not only Sangakkara had a reprieve. Broad had an opportunity to strike first for England, only for his enthusiasm for a review (low key by his own standards) to be overruled when an lbw against Kaushal Silva, on 10, was turned down. Signals from the England dressing room that the review would have been out brought a Draco Malfoy scowl from Broad: England's captain and wicketkeeper were in no rush to make eye contact. Silva did not make good his escape, a thin edge against Anderson providing a simple catch for Prior.

Plunkett struck with his second ball: a big inswinger, delivered from wide of the crease, around the wicket, which left Dimuth Karunaratne's stumps splayed. Plunkett might have had a second wicket in the last over before lunch when Mahela Jayawardene pulled a short one but a difficult chance escaped Bell's diving effort at leg slip. Already, sporadic cries of York-shire were beginning to pepper the old ground.

Plunkett, displaying the physical presence that had been nullified at Lord's, struck back with two wickets in successive balls. Jayawardene, on the drive, was athletically picked up, one handed, by Chris Jordan at second slip and Lahiru Thirimanne fell first ball, his poor tour extended by a hostile delivery which he could only fend to Sam Robson at short leg.

England added Angelo Mathews at third slip, a second wicket for Anderson but by tea, Sangakarra, given another life on 57 when Moeen Ali dropped a chance high to his right at point, had supplanted Jayawardene as Sri Lanka's leading Test run maker.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Iraj on June 23, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    Well played SL after sudden falls of important wickets. Mathews did exceptionally well. SL lead by 318 & need another 40-60 runs from the tail. Its all in the hands of SL bowlers. The result depends on SL attack. Good Luck both teams.

  • Nicholas on June 21, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    @Greatest_Game (post on June 20, 2014, 20:35 GMT): Not everybody judges cricket on stats; I certainly do not, and it seems Cook doesn't either. Stats do not (usually) take into consideration things like consistency and form - I've posted before that teams need a mixture of guys that score a reliable 45 virtually every game PLUS the guys that can go on a get bigger, faster scores. How can things like bowling be entirely stats driven when you're relying on so many variables such as fielders taking chances; uncontrolled shots going to hand or not; are your fellow bowlers creating/maintaining pressure at the other end? Stats are useful and interesting in cricket, but they cannot- and should not- govern how you judge players. If they do/did, then Plunkett should not have been recalled. For England, the likes of Trott, Bell, Flintoff, Giles etc. are some of the "best payers they've ever had" - because they've consistently delivered and contributed to teams. Their stats, conversely, stink.

  • David on June 21, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    @ Mervo. A bowler in his 2nd or third test with bad career stats may be a good bowler who had a bad game or two to start with, or a bad bowler. But when he then settles in and takes a 5-64, those who know, & understand cricket, still recognize a good performance when we see one. Some bowlers start well, like Philander did when he completely rolled Aus for 47 in his 1st match. Some don't, like Plunket - but, in this match, he still took a fine 5 for 64!

  • John on June 21, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    @Mervo on (June 21, 2014, 10:24 GMT) So it's not possible for a player to improve? Once he has a poor set of stats he may as well give up?

  • Merv on June 21, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    If Plunkett with a Test average can 42 can get 5 then that wicket must be slow

  • Cam on June 21, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Looks like England need a new opener, Cook is a liability at the top now despite his record. So, new captain too?

  • Android on June 21, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    well done plunkett nd broad. win the match also

  • John on June 21, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    Well done Plunket and Broad. Nice to see a guy turn his career around the way Plunket has get his rewards and great to see Broad get a hattrick even if no one realised it at the time. It was a strange scorecard with Eng looking on top at 5 down but the SL looking on top before the 6th wicket and then the collapse. Poor in the field so the scorecard could have read so much better for the home side

  • John on June 21, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    @Anthony Purcell on (June 20, 2014, 23:46 GMT) It was more our batsmen that lost us the series in Oz but even comparing the bowlers you also must look at the Australian lower order batsmen who on a number of occasions shifted the momentum back to Australia. SL seem to have nothing in the lower order/tail

    @Un_Citoyen_Indien on (June 21, 2014, 3:52 GMT) You're right. ECB managed to get their own way by insisting there should be no hotspot etc which enabled Broad to get his hattrick. Oh wait a minute it wasn't England who insisted on not using the technology was it?

  • John on June 21, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    @Mervo on (June 20, 2014, 11:47 GMT) The beauty of this game is that players can have 2nd chances or even 2nd careers. Some players have numerous chances and make little of them whereas some come back stronger. I thought that as an Ozzy you would realise that. Personally I think it's a great story that a guy who was pretty much ready to pack it in not so long back is back in the fold by merit of his domestic form.