England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day June 22, 2014

Moeen strikes but England grip slackens

103

Sri Lanka 257 and 214 for 4 (Jayawardene 55*, Mathews 24*) lead England 365 (Robson 127, Ballance 74, Bell 64) by 106 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In the Test Match Special commentary box, Graeme Swann wistfully imagined himself bowling triumphantly on a dry Headingley track. Moeen Ali knew that millions were probably imagining the same thing and, with the Test - and the series - in the balance, it was not a good feeling.

Then Moeen, a part-time spinner asked to offset the retirement of one of the finest spinners in England's history, struck twice in successive overs to stall Sri Lanka's progress. Kumar Sangakkara, rapped on a thrust front pad, was given lbw on review. Lahiru Thirimanne was bowled by one that turned more than any ball in the Test so far - and not just out of the footholds. In the TMS box, Swann's fingers must have twitched with approval.

By removing Sangakkara, he silenced a batsman who had just equalled a world record: seven successive Test half-centuries, a consistent run of success only achieved previously by Everton Weekes, Andy Flower and Shiv Chanderpaul. Sangakkara, who had looked so certain in reaching 55, his reputation in England finally solidified, looked shocked by his misjudgement. It was only Moeen's third over in 58, so presumably Alastair Cook, his captain, was slightly surprised, too.

In banishing Thirimanne, he intruded on private grief. Thirimanne, out second ball, completed a pair in an unproductive series. All he had to show for his innings was a yelp from Matt Prior behind the stumps as he kept out the first one and a woody sound as he missed the second.

His off spin has been serviceable in this series; accurate, not short of loop and with potential if he can put more revs on the ball. His batting has been quite the opposite: clearly talented, but too lax with it. If England can toughen him, he has potential.

England desperately needed Moeen's intervention as they laboured for much of the third day to force home the advantage of a first-innings lead of 108. That advantage, with Sri Lanka 106 runs ahead at the close with six wickets remaining, has yet to be achieved. To predict the outcome is to predict the mood of the Headingley pitch and only the sort of person who happily cuddles up to a pet tiger would regard that as a sensible occupation.

Mahela Jayawardene remains, 55 not out in what is surely his farewell Test in England, and as the day drew to a close he began to look as serene as at any time in the series. England have also frittered away both of their reviews on full tosses by Liam Plunkett which were shown to be heading down the leg side.

England's pace attack was not as its best. James Anderson and Stuart Broad went about their work with a narky air. The theories why could be piled high. Maybe it was a hangover from the Mankading of Jos Buttler in the one-day series, a determination to give Sri Lanka no quarter. Maybe it was the fact the ball was not particularly responsive, a view they pressed by repeated, and ultimately successful, efforts to change it. Maybe they felt the vagaries of Headingley were against them. Or maybe they did not welcome Cook's willingness to bowl them in long spells on a comparatively hot day during back-to-back Tests.

Perhaps it had dawned on them that their natural length was too short to give them the most advantage on a dry surface where Sri Lanka had bowled so splendidly in the morning.

Or maybe they had a view about the deadening effects of the heavy roller: used twice in the first hour. England were responsible for the first, before the start of play, presumably in an attempt to quieten the pitch and advance their vulnerable lead of 63. It felt like a negative response given that Yorkshire's hierarchy advised England that restricted use of the heavy roller has brought more pace and bounce into Headingley pitches. After Sri Lanka ordered the heavy roller to be started up for another seven minutes, the life seemed to have been stifled.

By tea, both Sri Lanka openers were back in the hutch, but the tourists marshalled stubborn resistance, impressive for a side that had not won a Test when trailing on first innings since 2009. Plunkett took both Sri Lanka wickets, outgunning Kaushal Silva with pace in his second over to have him caught at the wicket and later in the session switching to the Football Stand End to break Dimuth Karunaratne's resistance.

The 12 overs up to lunch had communicated to England that life would not be easy. When Anderson found Karunaratne's edge, Chris Jordan fluffed a simple chance at slip. The missed opportunities in this Test were heading towards double figures and had they been taken a three-day finish would have been virtually inevitable.

The over in which Plunkett dismissed Silva was a microcosm of his career. If Silva's thin edge came against a decent delivery, the subsequent ball to Sangakkara - a rearing delivery from around the wicket which he managed to guide wide of short leg with one hand - was even better. Then he lost his radar completely and conceded five wides with a delivery that entirely missed the cut strip.

It needed a review to dismiss Karunaratne down the leg side. With the dismissal of Rangana Herath at Lord's no doubt fresh in his mind, Karunaratne was optimistic that he might have removed his bottom hand from the bat by the time the ball flicked his glove only for replays to show otherwise.

In the first hour, Angelo Mathews and Shaminda Eranga exploited favourable bowling conditions in impressive fashion to round up England's first innings. A dry, gripping pitch had become frisky in the sunshine and Mathews and Eranga recognised their opportunity. Nobody relished the conditions more than Mathews, Sri Lanka's captain, whose medium-pace was clothed with venom. He opened the bowling from the Football Stand End and, with the evidence of the second evening behind him, he was right to so.

Mathews took two of the four wickets to fall, defeating Broad's adventurous drive and bowling Plunkett, finishing with Test-best figures of 4 for 44. There were four wickets, too, for Eranga, who had Jordan held at second slip by Jayawardene, diving to his left, and rounded off the innings with a throat ball to Anderson and a return catch. Sri Lanka's seamers had the nous to pitch the ball up and let the pitch do the work and had rarely felt so potent.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dunger.bob on June 22, 2014, 23:56 GMT

    Yesterday it was all coming together for England. The bowling was sharp and the batting got the job done. Today, it's all falling apart again. The bowling was reckless and the fielding sloppy. .. get used to it England. Inconsistency is one of the main problems of teams on the rebuild. Hero one day, zero the next.

    Well done by the Lankans with the bat. They've managed to pull away from the precipice but there's still a lot of work to do to get themselves into a position of safety. .. I usually say this about every day, but tomorrow is when the match will be won and lost. If SL don't get another 100 + runs they'll lose. If they do get a lead of 220 or so, they could very well win.

    Good luck to both sides and keep us entertained.

  • Greatest_Game on June 23, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Plunkett's bowling this morning, & his 2 wickets, seemed unfailingly short on leg. Drowsily watching, a few hours behind in the cricket wasteland of the USA, my wandering mind pondered quick bowling at the body on the leg side & somehow unearthed from the bowels of history the phrases "Fast Leg Side Theory/Bodyline."

    My limited knowledge of that infamous strategy is short, leg side balls at the body & close in leg fielders hunting catches from cramped batsmen fending off, & that laws on leg side fielding were changed after WI employed the tactic in Eng in '33.

    Plunkett didn't have 9 close in leg catchers, is (supposedly) limited to 2 bouncers per over, & players are now helmeted & well padded, but is his 'right arm around' attack truly any different from Harold Larwood's? Its not only Plunkett! Johnson's recent left arm over barraging, & Morkel's right arm around reply, seem the same too? Specific fields are set for this!

    What do those more knowledgable think?

  • on June 23, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    A new age not so different from the old age which is no real surprise. Poor selection, poor decicion making and our usual crop of mediocre bowlers. Once again England fail to make any impact on one of the 'lesser' test playing sides. To fail to win, worse to lose this series which looks highly likely form here and in England puts us fairly and squarely back to the bottom of the pile.

  • social_monster09 on June 23, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    @Herath-UK- mate ur team really playing some fantastic cricket in England. Jayawardene & Mathews hold & craft this SL Inng so beautifully. Whatever the result will be in my view SL is the clear winner becoz they are playing fantastic in these alien conditions. And this should help them in upcoming Series in home against S.Africans where Herath & Senanayake plays a crucial role in Slankans victory over S,Africans. Best of luck for this test & upcoming series. From an Aussie fan

  • Prabhash1985 on June 23, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    Well done Sri Lanka, some nervous moments, but could recover. Yet to go a long long way; hope you'll keep doing to good work. Dissapointing the way Dhammika Prasad played, so as the way Chandi. They should have talked to Mathews who had been batting for hours, and prepared properly for the short ball. Somehow, great recovery thanks to Mathews and Rangana. Keep doing this great work, and hopefully we can grab the series win that we waited for ages. Huge respect for Mathews and Rangana, so as Mahela and Sanga.

  • St.John on June 23, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    Here we go again! Jayawardene out to the new ball and the infamous Sri Lanka tail being blown away... God! Can't Prasad even block one ball?

  • kiya-tutu on June 23, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    sanga and mahela are exactly in the same score now in their test career. Both of them are in 11493 runs. One of the best players.

  • on June 23, 2014, 11:21 GMT

    Chandimal gone too! He played a really poor shot, pulling the ball towards square leg in the air, Plunkett set him up by bowling short from around the wicket and he kept a fielder in the square leg specifically for this shot, He should have controlled his urge to play shots at that moment when Mahela just got out..He should have consolidated by taking ones and twos with Mathews.. And as I am typing this the new batsman Dhammika Prasad played a rash shot in the air towards third man and got out caught.. Really silly cricket from SL.. No way they are winning this match now..

  • JG2704 on June 23, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    @dunger.bob - Difficult to say.NZ are an improving side for sure but I still wonder about them away from home. They beat WI convincingly in the 1st test and lost convincingly in the 2nd. Are there more tests in that series as it may be a good test to see how they bounce back from a heavy defeat

  • WTEH on June 23, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    Just saw a comment somebody saying that a column should be added to the statistics indicating the number of dropped catches. Which looks sad for England. I would say please list the statistics of bad umpiring decisions, decisions overturned, decisions not reviewed but wrong..in this series. That is going to be a very very sad list for Sri Lanka and of course for the sake of gentlemen cricket. lol!

  • dunger.bob on June 22, 2014, 23:56 GMT

    Yesterday it was all coming together for England. The bowling was sharp and the batting got the job done. Today, it's all falling apart again. The bowling was reckless and the fielding sloppy. .. get used to it England. Inconsistency is one of the main problems of teams on the rebuild. Hero one day, zero the next.

    Well done by the Lankans with the bat. They've managed to pull away from the precipice but there's still a lot of work to do to get themselves into a position of safety. .. I usually say this about every day, but tomorrow is when the match will be won and lost. If SL don't get another 100 + runs they'll lose. If they do get a lead of 220 or so, they could very well win.

    Good luck to both sides and keep us entertained.

  • Greatest_Game on June 23, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Plunkett's bowling this morning, & his 2 wickets, seemed unfailingly short on leg. Drowsily watching, a few hours behind in the cricket wasteland of the USA, my wandering mind pondered quick bowling at the body on the leg side & somehow unearthed from the bowels of history the phrases "Fast Leg Side Theory/Bodyline."

    My limited knowledge of that infamous strategy is short, leg side balls at the body & close in leg fielders hunting catches from cramped batsmen fending off, & that laws on leg side fielding were changed after WI employed the tactic in Eng in '33.

    Plunkett didn't have 9 close in leg catchers, is (supposedly) limited to 2 bouncers per over, & players are now helmeted & well padded, but is his 'right arm around' attack truly any different from Harold Larwood's? Its not only Plunkett! Johnson's recent left arm over barraging, & Morkel's right arm around reply, seem the same too? Specific fields are set for this!

    What do those more knowledgable think?

  • on June 23, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    A new age not so different from the old age which is no real surprise. Poor selection, poor decicion making and our usual crop of mediocre bowlers. Once again England fail to make any impact on one of the 'lesser' test playing sides. To fail to win, worse to lose this series which looks highly likely form here and in England puts us fairly and squarely back to the bottom of the pile.

  • social_monster09 on June 23, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    @Herath-UK- mate ur team really playing some fantastic cricket in England. Jayawardene & Mathews hold & craft this SL Inng so beautifully. Whatever the result will be in my view SL is the clear winner becoz they are playing fantastic in these alien conditions. And this should help them in upcoming Series in home against S.Africans where Herath & Senanayake plays a crucial role in Slankans victory over S,Africans. Best of luck for this test & upcoming series. From an Aussie fan

  • Prabhash1985 on June 23, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    Well done Sri Lanka, some nervous moments, but could recover. Yet to go a long long way; hope you'll keep doing to good work. Dissapointing the way Dhammika Prasad played, so as the way Chandi. They should have talked to Mathews who had been batting for hours, and prepared properly for the short ball. Somehow, great recovery thanks to Mathews and Rangana. Keep doing this great work, and hopefully we can grab the series win that we waited for ages. Huge respect for Mathews and Rangana, so as Mahela and Sanga.

  • St.John on June 23, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    Here we go again! Jayawardene out to the new ball and the infamous Sri Lanka tail being blown away... God! Can't Prasad even block one ball?

  • kiya-tutu on June 23, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    sanga and mahela are exactly in the same score now in their test career. Both of them are in 11493 runs. One of the best players.

  • on June 23, 2014, 11:21 GMT

    Chandimal gone too! He played a really poor shot, pulling the ball towards square leg in the air, Plunkett set him up by bowling short from around the wicket and he kept a fielder in the square leg specifically for this shot, He should have controlled his urge to play shots at that moment when Mahela just got out..He should have consolidated by taking ones and twos with Mathews.. And as I am typing this the new batsman Dhammika Prasad played a rash shot in the air towards third man and got out caught.. Really silly cricket from SL.. No way they are winning this match now..

  • JG2704 on June 23, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    @dunger.bob - Difficult to say.NZ are an improving side for sure but I still wonder about them away from home. They beat WI convincingly in the 1st test and lost convincingly in the 2nd. Are there more tests in that series as it may be a good test to see how they bounce back from a heavy defeat

  • WTEH on June 23, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    Just saw a comment somebody saying that a column should be added to the statistics indicating the number of dropped catches. Which looks sad for England. I would say please list the statistics of bad umpiring decisions, decisions overturned, decisions not reviewed but wrong..in this series. That is going to be a very very sad list for Sri Lanka and of course for the sake of gentlemen cricket. lol!

  • on June 23, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    Jayawardne and Mathews must survive complete first session and Srilankan team must not surrender before half stage of 3rd session Only this way they can clinch a draw or victory or else, we (Pakistan) chased down a mammoth total against them than English batting is far more stronger

  • Herath-UK on June 23, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    Sometimes some come up with not so brilliant questions about Sri Lanka's bowling quality forgetting just what happened in these two tests. To turn around England from one or two down over two hundred runs to 365 all out just magnificent bowling bouncing out some English batters tell its own story. If Malinga played, the writing is on the wall. Whoever wins from here no big issue what stands out is Sri Lanka has shown in no certain terms that it is on par with any other touring team ,mind you in the 'winter'.

  • dunger.bob on June 23, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    @ JG2704 & Greatest_Game : With NZ I'm inclined to believe they're the real deal. They folded pretty badly in WI in the 2nd Test but they also played some really solid cricket in the first to win it convincingly. At home they outplayed India and kept England at bay. .. I don't know that too many teams are doing significantly better than that at the moment. Some one told me that we (Aus) are playing them soonish so we'll see how that turns out. I'm expecting a tougher than expected encounter.

  • on June 23, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    Why do England's seamers persist with short-pitched bowling? The Sri Lankan pace attack bowled better in English conditions than the locals. I think the dwindling British spectators should be told, is it beyond them to bowl wicket to wicket and pitch it up? Is the dead hand of ECB coaching behind this?

  • Prabhash1985 on June 23, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    We are in good state, so Mahela, Mathews, Chandi, don't give it away :) You can do it, and you can bring a series victory that we eagerly waited ever since our tiny nation started playing cricket. It's in your hands, and please protect it. I'm pretty sure you will succeed.

  • on June 23, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    Srilanka, definitely will loose.Mathews did 2 mistake, first he was not attacking captain ..opted to field first in first test match and second underutilized himself as bowler

  • Darkmanx12155 on June 23, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    @ Naduni Devindi Abeywickrama: it will be the first one mate!

  • katch47 on June 23, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    I'm not quite sure weather Sri Lankans can survive this day let alone giving Englang a good lead. But you never know how cricket works, miracles can happen

  • jackthelad on June 23, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    Sri Lanka have no bowling that would dent a second-class County side (Herath is a partial exception) - how do they expect to win matches? It's a good side coming to it's close, and there seem few to carry the flame.

  • AakashNani on June 23, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    Any chance of draw. I'm in feeling like this test also ends with Draw. Any chance of rain?

  • on June 23, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    very tough task ahead of sri lanka.1st session will be a very crucial one, if england get 2 wickets england will win the match, if mahela and mathews can bat till the lunch sri lanka can score a target of 200+. if sri lanka can get a lead of something about 250 then rangana herath will be the man to watch.as a sri lankan i want to see a sri lanka win.may the best team win the game. budu saranai.

  • on June 23, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    @Hamangoda.

    Test cricket must be played, patiently, by selecting poor balls. SL players played well, yesterday without taking undue risk to some extent on that seaming wicket under cloudy conditions, most of the time. Let's hope that SL will do so, today as well, by wearing the due, new ball.

  • JG2704 on June 23, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    @Greatest_Game on (June 23, 2014, 0:41 GMT) Let's not forget that most of NZ's form has been at home. The last time we toured there (last year) they were unlucky not to beat us but seemed a totally different animal over here. Eng may be in dire straights but you're really basing your opinion on one nightmare away series against an inspired Aus side who then went on to win in SA. Before that we beat Aus and NZ at home , drew in NZ and won in India. I'm not saying that's top form but it's not terrible form either.

  • JG2704 on June 23, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (June 22, 2014, 19:14 GMT) Could be true but then again I'm not sure he's played any 1st class cricket since his exile and his T20 inns (which I know are not the same but it's all we have to go on) have mostly been poor. Moin may or may not be the answer but even with his substandard bowling he still managed to pick up Sanga and another. I still genuinely don't think KP is anywhere near the player he was a few years ago and of course there's no way of telling what he would do but even in the Aus series when he top averaged it was only around 30 and said more about how bad the other batsmen were than KP being good. I also wonder if we'll miss Trott so much if Ballance continues to score. Swann on the other hand (as I've said several times) is the biggest loss

  • KK_Cricket on June 23, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    Think SL could have been lot more positive especially during the Sanga/Mahela partnership. Sanga again got out poorly after being well set. That was time he should have taken part timer like Ali apart and scored some quick runs. If SL had attacked during the partnership, they would have been ahead by 160 odd and that would have put Cook under lot of pressure. Also, Matthews is in very good form. Why not come ahead of Thirimanne and send Thirimanne when SL are ahead and allow him to go after the bowling? A 30-40 run knock from him could have been crucial for setting a good target. Still if Mahela/Matthews can score 70-80 runs from here and rest of the batting contribute 60 odd, a target of 270 should help SL win

  • on June 23, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    Is this last test for Sanga and Mahela?

  • Darkmanx12155 on June 23, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    @ Jamie Moneghan - second one mate.

  • on June 23, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    Simple scenario for both sets of supporters , if Sri Lanka are still batting by tea today or slightly after then they will win ( Presuming lead is about 250 plus) If England knock them over around lunch or even earlier then England will win.

  • Darkmanx12155 on June 23, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    @ Kasun_Karunathilake: well said mate. So much for the "future Sanga"!

  • Nihal2009 on June 23, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Im so desperated with Sri Lankan team selection with Chandimal and Lahiru Chandimal is a Test player not oneday player but Thirimanne is a Oneday player but not test player.Due to this incorrect approach Sri Lankans play without a No.05 position.Hv to try with Kusal Janith or Kithruwan soon

  • on June 23, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    As all the fans mentioned before the match Thirimanne was a bad and poor selection. It was proved now. Thirimanne will fail in Aus and NZ wickets as well. Better to give more opportunities to Chandimal.

  • Darkmanx12155 on June 23, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    @ Grary Fernando - Lets wait and see mate. You will see who will have the last laugh. Sl will be bowled out today by lunch. england will go on to will this game easily. They just need one more wicket to trigger a collapse.

  • MichaelBurton on June 23, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    @Darkmanx12155 : Don't forget man. How about your tail then? 54/7 in 19.5 overs. I can't imaging how you gonna play with mighty Ausies in next ashes.

  • on June 23, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    I can not understand why SL apply extra precarious action when batting. From the very beginning of the innings they adopt this attitude and ultimately what happen just waste few overs and leave the field without adding any value to the score. SL is more accustomed to attacking batting as they are more familiar with 2-3 day cricket. They don't have even a proper 4-day tournament at home. So isn't it better to play the game they are accustomed with rather than failing by trying to imitate England who apply long stay innings. If SL play there normal game to which they are more friendly, by now they would have more than 300 + runs on the board and enforce a threat to their opponents.SL batsmen unnecessarily go to a shell hiding their natural talent and become a failure. Use your strength to over come the danger you face. In a game you are destined to loose, at least show the world Lankans are stylish attacking batsmen and earn a reputation. That might lead you to a winning position even

  • on June 23, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    Board and plunkett should bulk of bowling as they were causing most of trouble to batsmen .Pradeep is good bowler and should be persisted

  • LAKINGSFAN on June 23, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    It's still Eng's game to lose. Hope they they get their act together and get SL dismissed for another 50 or runs.

  • MichaelBurton on June 23, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    @Darkmanx12155 : Don't forget man. How about your tail then? 54/7 in 19.5 overs. I can't imaging how you gonna play with mighty Ausies in next ashes.

  • on June 23, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    good fight back by us after playing stupidly in the 1st inns,,,anyway we are still not out of risk of losing this test if a wicket or two falls early today,,,,thanks to our very talented tailenders engalnd will have only to chase a smalll total then...if we looose this test it will solely be due to poor selection with regard to thirimanne and medicore fast bowlerss like prasad and pradeep....

  • on June 23, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    Chanidmal needs to stand up on his feet.

  • Covenant on June 23, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    What happened to Thirimanne form suddenly??

  • on June 23, 2014, 4:37 GMT

    I think new ball and morning session will be very dangerous. If we can negotiate the new ball very well, score will be match winning total. 230+ is very good total. But can they achieve it?

  • on June 23, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    Hope SL can repeat Durban test in 2011. Thilan, Sanga, Chandimal, Welagedara and Rangana did it for SL.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/514033.html

    Here, Sangakkara , Eranga, Mahela Mathews, together with Rangana and Chandimal can do it. Valuable half century from Chandimal and 5 for from Rangana will do it. Mahela will say bye to England with the head high by scoring a ton here. GO LION GO...

  • landl47 on June 23, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    If you had asked the two sides before the start of play today whether they would be happy with Sri Lanka being 106 tuns ahead with 6 wickets in hand, England would have said "No" and Sri Lanka would have said "Yes, please". A better day for SL than for England.

    The match is well balanced. If SL set England less than 150, England would be favourites; 150-200, pretty even; over 200, SL would be favourites. If England can get a couple of quick wickets tomorrow, SL might fold, but if these two and Chandimal can add another 100 it will be hard work for England.

    Nice to see Moeen do well, but why isn't he bowling round the wicket to the right-handers? If there's some turn in the pitch (and there is) that makes his arm ball much more effective and brings LBW into the mix. Bowling over the wicket the batsmen only have to get outside off stump and they are safe.

    Looking forward to an interesting day tomorrow.

  • on June 23, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    @Darkmanx12155: You can lick your wounds after Sri Lanka wins the test mate.

  • on June 23, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    In this world we see different kinds of people. Last T 20 World Cup realizing he was at his best Chandimal opted to drop himself though he was captain and gave the leadership to Malinga. It was a hugely magnanimous act from a young man. But here knowing very well his form is so poor, Thirimanne for the sale of team Sri Lanka did not want to drop himself from the team and give opportunity to a far better player like Vithanage. All know now that he face only four balls and collected a pair and is probably a test record of a player having the shortest stay at the crease and collecting a pair. He could have like Chandimal become a true gentleman and given opportunity to another. Sadly he could not rise to the occasion like Chandimal who is a true gentleman and stand out like a rose over many thorns. The selectors are totally to be blamed for this.

  • katch47 on June 23, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    three ducks for Thirimanne in this tour, with several more in the next series, he can make his own shooting gallery

  • Darkmanx12155 on June 23, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    Ok. My prediction failed SLIGHTLY. But still SL will go down today. Thirimanne yet proved to be just a passenger. Even Dimuth the walking wicket was better than Thirimanne AKA future Sanga! C'mon lads, just one more wicket and we will be back in the game. SL has the longest tail ever which would not even last 5 overs! england just needs to wrap things up neatly. Anything less than 350 is easily gettable for this english batting line up. Just blow SL away with bouncy stuff by the lunch, you have 100 odd to score in 150 overs!

  • on June 23, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    Chandimal's day to shine and seal victory tomorrow.

  • on June 23, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    uphill task for Sri Lanka unless Mahela & Mathews consolidates the innings at least up to the tea break. Sending out of form Thirimanne to face a right arm off spinner was pretty foolish as in form Chandimal would have been a better choice. Let's hope we have a good game of cricket

  • DC75 on June 23, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    What about the presence of Herath, any target of around 200 will be tricky for England if the ball turns and Herath gets in to the act. This match could go either way from here;

  • on June 23, 2014, 2:13 GMT

    When, England were cruising at 278 for 2 on Saturday, not even the most die-hard Sri Lankan supporter would have imagined that game could take such an about turn. Sri Lanka is still not out of the woods. An early collapse on fourth day morning will hand over the game on a plate to England. If this pair can see off most if not all of new ball threat and if Chandimal can follow it up with a knock truly indicative of his immense talent, England could be chasing a stiff target on fourth innings which will not be easy against Rangana Herath well backed up by Sri Lankan pace bowling unit including Angelo Mathews. I am looking forward to an exciting day of cricket.

  • kovinbuddi on June 23, 2014, 2:04 GMT

    A good match, Sri lankans are doing better than expected. With the memories of the first test I did not think Sri lanka could come this far in this match. i think they can bat about 300 plus.And England will not be able to come close.Herath must be enjoying Moeen's work as he will dominate the last day of the match.I am sure Herath will take five wickets on the last day and Sri lanka will win this match.Subha Gamanak Sri Lanka.

  • pandian_ikku on June 23, 2014, 2:03 GMT

    Sri Lanka should be the only team carries passengers in international games. How many more matches we should lose before the selectors understand the playing 11 must select only considering the current form not the past records.

    If we lose this test series it will be only because selectors poor choice to select Thirimanne for the 2nd match over Kithuruwan Vitanage knowing his continuous recent failures. Thirimanne is only a specialized batsmen. And he is the vice captain of the team. So if he can not at least contribute 50+ runs in 2 innings he is just a burden to the team.

    4 runs in last 4 innings form a batting specialist vice captain? We have plenty of best players who could win this series for us. But unfortunately selectors don't have a knowledge to select the right combination.

    In the last match if Thirimanne could score 40 runs in two innings we would not struggle for a draw at the end. Now we are losing this match because he was unable to score a single run in this match.

  • on June 23, 2014, 1:52 GMT

    Who said test cricket is boring? I can't wait till match starts today... Good fight back from SL after losing their way in the first innings. But still hard miles to climb. Hope Mahela will show his class for a one last time in ENG, Mathews his bravery, Chandi his ever exciting character. ENG can't be underestimated on their home soil BTW. Two early wickets for them will finish the match before lunch.

  • Antony_Lucas on June 23, 2014, 1:48 GMT

    A dominant day from Sri Lanka really. In the next year or 2 Sangakarra looks as though he will establish himself as one of the best in he modern era along side Lara and Tendulkar. Add Another 150 + and Sri Lanka could be looking at a remarkable series victory. Watching Sanga and Jayawardene bat together really is a treat

  • Sinhabahu on June 23, 2014, 1:04 GMT

    That was a very solid effort from SL. Hopefully the team can stretch the lead into 200+ territory to make a good match of it. Mustn't get too greedy, but 250-300 would be wonderful and would put most punters' money on us taking the match and series!

  • on June 23, 2014, 0:50 GMT

    Day4: SL can reach, a maximum of 325 via 224/267/292/299 & 316. Let's see where they stop for a cup of pure CEYLON TEA.

  • Greatest_Game on June 23, 2014, 0:41 GMT

    @ yorkshirematt, unhappy with Eng's performance, commented "A very poor last four sessions from England. The sort of surrendering of a dominant position you see from teams like Bangladesh, today's WI and NZ, no disrespect to these teams."

    Honestly, Matt, I think NZ would be much too much for Eng to handle. In the last year they have really improved & found their feet. Most of all, they have won games and series. Eng, as we all know, have hit skid row, and were it not for the two new picks, would be staring defeat in the face right now.

    I don't feel too optimistic about Eng's 2nd inns. Root has had his one big knock for the series. Bell will deliver a beautifully executed cameo. Prior can't survive close calls on 0 every innings. Cook will pitch in with a scratchy 17 and get in a huff about something, and it will be up to the new guys again.

    Personally, I'd back the Kiwis - at least they have players ranked in the top 10.

  • DizzD on June 23, 2014, 0:12 GMT

    Regardless what will happen tomorrow, today's srilankan attack was a great sight. One point it looks like England were facing ambrose and walsh's chin music. Eranga really tested the tail with bouncers and one point cricinfo was talking about body-line too which is marvelous.

  • jackthelad on June 23, 2014, 0:09 GMT

    Given that Sri Lanka have arguably the most toothless bowling attack in the world, they did well to restrict the lead as they did - now it's up to England to give it away once again.

  • Greatest_Game on June 23, 2014, 0:06 GMT

    @St.John commented "Jayawardene wont last. He will scratch around for a few runs and get out. He is not the player he was."

    I'm a touch confused. Did you mean he would only get a few runs in the innings, or will only get a few more runs tomorrow when he resumes on 55*. He does not look atall too scratchy - even as the player he is!

  • on June 22, 2014, 23:49 GMT

    This Test is now quite nicely poised, following Sri Lanka's excellent fightback in the morning. I still think that England are favourites to win it.

  • Patchmaster on June 22, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    As usual, Cook's negative tactics (telling his bowlers to bowl too short and too wide) has again put Eng under pressure. Bored of Cook.

  • KingOwl on June 22, 2014, 22:51 GMT

    If Angelo Mathews could bowl more at Leeds, his bowling figures could be more like Jimmy Anderson's.

  • whoster on June 22, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    Sri Lanka played well today, and deserve full credit for putting England under pressure. Having said that, Cook's captaincy was poor. Giving Anderson and Broad such long opening spells was senseless. Neither were bowling well, so why keep them going? Apart from leaving Anderson hardly able to walk later in the day, and Broad bowling about the same pace as Ravi Bopara, it shows that Cook isn't putting faith in Plunkett and Jordan - and even more so, Moeen Ali. He's been picked as the main spinner in the side, and he has to be trusted enough to bowl before the captain had no option because the seamers were knackered.

    Cook really needs to start scoring runs soon, because that's the only way he can justify his captaincy. The way he's handling the bowling attack lacks any imagination or flexibility, and that's surely a factor in England losing their grip on this game.

  • on June 22, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    I'm sure there must be better wicket.keeper.than prior, one drop chance of sangakarra in.first innings made difference. Why persisting with prior, they have butler,keiswetter,bairstow what's the problem

  • on June 22, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    If we can get lead past 300 It's mean game on !

  • JG2704 on June 22, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    Both teams can have grounds for optimism. SL have fought back well and even another ton on the board could make it tricky. England can look at SL's batting in the 3 other inns where the tail seems very long and know that a couple of wickets and SL could perish quickly. Well played SL today

  • yorkshirematt on June 22, 2014, 20:20 GMT

    A very poor last four sessions from England. The sort of surrendering of a dominant position you see from teams like Bangladesh, today's WI and NZ, no disrespect to these teams. Credit to Sri Lanka for making the most of it today but England started their own downfall with poor batting yesterday evening. Big Test for Cook now and for the character of this 'New Era' England side

  • Herath-UK on June 22, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    Some pundits predicted at the start,seeing the pitch, the game would not go a distance of three days. They underestimated Sri Lanka who surprised them with its battling qualities & the game is anybody's now. How it battled under overcast conditions & on an uneven pitch, playing on it for the first time in a Test, is very much commendable & a great confidence to the future. Had there been a third or a fourth, we could have had a great intriguing series, the public would love to see. Hope the ECB will be wiser in the future.

  • neil99 on June 22, 2014, 19:27 GMT

    Well done SL, but another awful performance from England. After dismissing the Lankans cheaply and then just 2 down for 270, England had the game in their hands. However, from then on it's been the usual lacklustre, inconsistent, poor standard we've been used to. Those heralding some kind of new dawn need to wake up - we're struggling at home against SL.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 22, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    Any rain forecast Tuesday...

    Just watched the highlights of today's play on T.V. - Really can't script this stuff can you! You'd think England were playing on foreign soil; I can't believe they're playing at home in England, with several guys in the team that use Headingley as their home ground for County Cricket, and the bowlers STILL don't know the basic rules of bowling here! They MUST make the new ball count tomorrow morning, or this could be yet another major upset for England.

    Sorry JG2704 and co. but I'm going to have to share a feeling here, and run the risk of opening up another can of worms: I reckon KP would not only be a better batsman than Ali, but a much better spinner as well! Whatever he's [KP] done to deserve exile had better be worth it, because this performance by a 'new-look' England is not filling me full of confidence at all. Wickets may very well fall in clusters at Headingley, so tomorrow will hopefully make my posts look silly... But today was just poor.

  • Cricsnake on June 22, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    Now only three hopes. I expected Thirimanne would score at least 25 but he batted like no.11 again. Thiri seems loss of form. When selecting players we must see his current form rather than past records. SL fate is on Mahela, Angelo & Chandimal's hand. Mahela must add another 40+ runs & either Angelo or himself must build quite long partnership with Chandimal. SL seems at the danger zone now. We must bat until the 4th day evening to save the match. England will bat positively and chase any target below 300-350. SL must close to 450 which seems very difficult now. SL bowlers needs to bowl at their level best in the last innings. Fast bowlers seems tired a bit & Herath has a huge responsibility. England seems the favorites but hope SL fight well in the next couple of days.

  • jackthelad on June 22, 2014, 18:49 GMT

    This is Headingley. Absolutely anything can happen!

  • sangaTHEgreat on June 22, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    wow thirimanne lol. he plays one day cricket like test cricket but when it comes to tests he woudnt score more than 10. coaches should work with him and should correct the way how he plays in seaming conditions

  • Kavum on June 22, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    Good fight SL. Mahela must show his class one last time in England in a test. Both he and Matthews must leave the ball judiciously. They must also look for scoring opportunities. Hope Prasad, Rangana, Eranga and Pradeep go into the nets at 9 or 10 a.m. and have a one hour session to get their eye in and practice getting in line, ducking and leaving the ball when necessary. SL must bat at least until tea to have any chance. This contest will no longer be about runs once 2 of the 3 batters left: Mahela/Matthews/Chandi, get out (if they do). Rangana must be told not to bat like a no. 11 when he has a responsible slot at 9. Taking up as much time as possible will be as important as scratching a single here and there. Hope it goes well for team SL.

  • Charith_777 on June 22, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    Sri Lankans should be aware of the Bouncers as they (ENG) will try to take catches more often.Only one more recognized batsman is left in the pavilion (Chandimal) with a long tail.Therefore, still it's their game slightly. But If we can deal with the New Ball & put a target around 280,then ENG will find it difficult to win..

  • ksquared on June 22, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    SL has come back wonderfully well and Mahela has always been a man for a crisis another 100 to 125 runs would set the match up nicely for Herath and possibly the cutters from Mathews.

  • disco_bob on June 22, 2014, 18:12 GMT

    I hope captain Cook remembers to don his brown trousers tomorrow if only for the sake of the new recruits.

  • YsaKaru on June 22, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    Terrible series for thirimanne....so sad to see that....

  • cric1965 on June 22, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    Vice captain Thirimanna 4 innings 4 runs. If in t20 world cup Sri lanka can drop captain Chandimal what is the big deal in dropping Thirimanna who is out of form passenger. Selectors cannot predict what even general cricket lovers can. If Vithanage played for Thirimanna he would have at least score 50 runs from both innings which will be crucial for the final result..

  • on June 22, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    England trump is short balls.. its not proper cricket..Fate of Srilanka on the hands of Mahela and Angelo...and Chandimal has nothing left. Selecting committee of Srilanka should open their eyes and see whether they have done their job correctly.

  • on June 22, 2014, 17:52 GMT

    Get 150 more and we will hv a game in hand. Mahela,Angelo and Chandi to get lead past 225 & tail should add 40 then Herath should drive in the advantage. Morning session and new ball should be negotiated by Mahela n Angelo

  • Prabhash1985 on June 22, 2014, 17:39 GMT

    Well done Sri Lanka, but a long way to go. Keep on playing positive cricket, love it! Congrats Sanga for his world record 7th 50. Great to see Mahela scoring a 50, and hopefully he will go beyond a century together with Mathews. If both of them score 100s, it's our game!

  • on June 22, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    Sri Lanka needs Mahela and Mathews to take the lead upto 180 atleast, since after that wickets could tumble quickly. Our tail needs to wag this time

  • on June 22, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    if Mahela & Anji stay on crease till 4th day lunch, we can keep hope for SL

  • chucking_thug800_wickets on June 22, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    @ lakindu ratanayke we know wat mahela is.. scorer on flat tracks. .n getting spanked in testing conditions

  • Blade-Runner on June 22, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    @ steve48 ; England should consider themselves lucky as Lakmal got injured before the test series. If Lakmal played, England wouldn't have passed 300 mark.

  • on June 22, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    Sanga & Mahela love u guyz. bring the series victory to home guyz!!

  • rajcan on June 22, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    I hope my comment will be published and get feed back from others.

    It is the team selection of SL is the cause for loosing games, not the players. SL team selections never have been on the basis of merit except Arjuna Ranathunga's era. If not Ranathunga, there wont be any MUrali, his career would have been ended prematurely.

    There are good openers to select for this tour for the condition specific, they chose openers only had success in sub-continent. So, SL team is playing with 10 batsman. Mahela has very poor record in seaming and bouncing pitches, his average looks better only because he fails in 10 innings and score big runs in one innings, He is not a consistent player at alll. Sl selectors are afraid of dropping him, many other cricket nation India, Australia, they all dropped high profile players when they were not performing.

    Mathew is afraid of trying new things, haven't given the ball to any part timers, Thirimane can bowl, even sangakara can bowl an over.

  • steve48 on June 22, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    Wonder if Sri Lanka wish they had picked Kulasekera ; Matthews a 4 for? To us England optimists, be care what ( conditions) you wish for! This game is alive right now, although get Sanga and we are quickly back on top.

  • on June 22, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    Go SL, show Mahela what u r

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 22, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    This evening, England's bowlers need to do to the Sri Lankan's what the Sri Lankan bowlers did to England yesterday evening and early this morning. This really has been one of the poorest opening spells from England's bowlers ever.

    Just saw the stat that "only on four occasions has a side won at Headingley after conceding a first-innings lead." Why are England trying to concede a fifth occasion? All this nonsense about 'good pace' once again coming to nothing if you don't pitch the ball up in the right areas, and there are no excuses because the conditions were perfect for good swing bowling. Key moment in the game now, as Sri Lanka's best two batsmen are at the crease and (as usual with England) being allowed to settle. Did anybody realise England have no spinner by the way...

  • on June 22, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    England is bowling well .they just need good spinner, after Swann no spinner? I have seen quiet few spinners in England but they seem to be mediocre

  • St.John on June 22, 2014, 14:49 GMT

    Jayawardene wont last. He will scratch around for a few runs and get out. He is not the player he was. After that its only Mathews, Chandimal, and Andersson bunny Thirimanne. Prasad, Eranga, Pradeep and Herath cant do much and will be blown away. England will win comfortable either today or early tomorrow.

  • sudaththa on June 22, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    Good work SL!! Dinith you should bat more time!! Good luck SL

  • on June 22, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    Pitiful England bowling yet again letting Sri Lanka off the hook. Too many short balls and almost nothing in the right areas where the pitch will help hugely. If they keep this up I really think Sri Lanka can win this game. I wouldnt back England to knock off 150 on the last day against Herath. For years England have lauded mediocre bowlers as greats Anderson and Broad both sport averages of around 30 which is ok for third seamer stats buit we havent had anyone in the low 20's since Trueman. Teams need at least one 'top flighter' to consistently win.

  • on June 22, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    ENG is going to win this test

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 22, 2014, 12:19 GMT

    Very disappointed with England's opening bowling spells. 12 overs before lunch: if I were Cook, I'd be telling my four seamers "right guys, I want three overs each of quick, hostile bowling; make the batsmen play every ball" - and then they've got the lunch break to recuperate. But noooo... instead we're back to the dark old days of samey, metronomic, attritional-style bowling, and the batsmen didn't have to play many balls. THIS is my big worry of the likes of Plunkett, Jordan, Broad... and I suppose Cook's captaincy.

    The Australian seamers (Johnson, Harris, Siddle...) probably would have had several wickets already. In the context of this game, I may be sounding harsh here; but I'm generally a very forward thinker, and just think little annoying observations like this will (continue to) thwart England's chances in future games. Let's hope/pray not this one.

  • Lion83 on June 22, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    Good work by the Sri lankan bowlers to restrict the lead to 108 now its up to there batsmen to build a reasonable lead to give their bowlers something to work with. The pitch is getting tougher and tougher to bat on so even a score of 150-175 will be tough to chase on this pitch. Seamers will have something and also Herath will have a big impact on the 4th innings.

  • Luckwin on June 22, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Hope Eranga can cut his Birthday cake peacefully with the jubilant 4 wicket haul.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 22, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    Sri Lanka came out and did exactly what they needed to do this morning. Matthews may very well be rueing why he didn't bowl more and earlier yesterday... He may only be 'military medium' as Boycott would say, but that style of bowling works wonders at Headingley (+ most of U.K. really I suppose).

    England might very well look back at this game and rue that they didn't get more of a lead after that great platform set yesterday by the top order (lost 8 for 87 runs!); but as I said yesterday, big lead not really necessary as one would hope/expect the England seamers to deliver here. A lot of Sri Lankan fans holding onto the thought of Herath bowling fourth innings... Headingley historically has not been a spinners pitch, but this is England playing so nothing's impossible or surprising really. So keep that hope/thought.

    Gotta bowl well and take the chances today please England! None of this 'nine-lives-of-a-cat' stuff; that's three lions on your shirts, not pussy cats!

  • on June 22, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    England showed no desire to guts it out today. Sri Lanka bowled with venom and in the right areas. If they can build a reasonable lead they have a real chance of winning.

  • on June 22, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    England showed no desire to guts it out today. Sri Lanka bowled with venom and in the right areas. If they can build a reasonable lead they have a real chance of winning.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 22, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    Sri Lanka came out and did exactly what they needed to do this morning. Matthews may very well be rueing why he didn't bowl more and earlier yesterday... He may only be 'military medium' as Boycott would say, but that style of bowling works wonders at Headingley (+ most of U.K. really I suppose).

    England might very well look back at this game and rue that they didn't get more of a lead after that great platform set yesterday by the top order (lost 8 for 87 runs!); but as I said yesterday, big lead not really necessary as one would hope/expect the England seamers to deliver here. A lot of Sri Lankan fans holding onto the thought of Herath bowling fourth innings... Headingley historically has not been a spinners pitch, but this is England playing so nothing's impossible or surprising really. So keep that hope/thought.

    Gotta bowl well and take the chances today please England! None of this 'nine-lives-of-a-cat' stuff; that's three lions on your shirts, not pussy cats!

  • Luckwin on June 22, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Hope Eranga can cut his Birthday cake peacefully with the jubilant 4 wicket haul.

  • Lion83 on June 22, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    Good work by the Sri lankan bowlers to restrict the lead to 108 now its up to there batsmen to build a reasonable lead to give their bowlers something to work with. The pitch is getting tougher and tougher to bat on so even a score of 150-175 will be tough to chase on this pitch. Seamers will have something and also Herath will have a big impact on the 4th innings.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 22, 2014, 12:19 GMT

    Very disappointed with England's opening bowling spells. 12 overs before lunch: if I were Cook, I'd be telling my four seamers "right guys, I want three overs each of quick, hostile bowling; make the batsmen play every ball" - and then they've got the lunch break to recuperate. But noooo... instead we're back to the dark old days of samey, metronomic, attritional-style bowling, and the batsmen didn't have to play many balls. THIS is my big worry of the likes of Plunkett, Jordan, Broad... and I suppose Cook's captaincy.

    The Australian seamers (Johnson, Harris, Siddle...) probably would have had several wickets already. In the context of this game, I may be sounding harsh here; but I'm generally a very forward thinker, and just think little annoying observations like this will (continue to) thwart England's chances in future games. Let's hope/pray not this one.

  • on June 22, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    ENG is going to win this test

  • on June 22, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    Pitiful England bowling yet again letting Sri Lanka off the hook. Too many short balls and almost nothing in the right areas where the pitch will help hugely. If they keep this up I really think Sri Lanka can win this game. I wouldnt back England to knock off 150 on the last day against Herath. For years England have lauded mediocre bowlers as greats Anderson and Broad both sport averages of around 30 which is ok for third seamer stats buit we havent had anyone in the low 20's since Trueman. Teams need at least one 'top flighter' to consistently win.

  • sudaththa on June 22, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    Good work SL!! Dinith you should bat more time!! Good luck SL

  • St.John on June 22, 2014, 14:49 GMT

    Jayawardene wont last. He will scratch around for a few runs and get out. He is not the player he was. After that its only Mathews, Chandimal, and Andersson bunny Thirimanne. Prasad, Eranga, Pradeep and Herath cant do much and will be blown away. England will win comfortable either today or early tomorrow.

  • on June 22, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    England is bowling well .they just need good spinner, after Swann no spinner? I have seen quiet few spinners in England but they seem to be mediocre