March 11, 2001

White rises above the tension to clinch England victory


Craig White and Ashley Giles saw England to an unbelievably tense three-wicket victory in the Second Test against Sri Lanka at Kandy, so levelling the series at 1-1.

White played with great maturity for his unbeaten 21 while Giles finished on four. Earlier nightwatchman Robert Croft had hung around for nearly two hours to add 17 priceless runs.

Overnight England were 91/4, still needing another 70 runs for victory. Alec Stewart was the first batsman to be dismissed this morning. For the second time in this match and the third time of the series he fell to another controversial umpiring decision. He became Chaminda Vaas's fourth wicket of the innings when he was adjudged leg before wicket by umpire B.C.Cooray. The ball appeared to pitch outside his leg stump.

Graeme Hick then came to the crease with 64 runs required for victory. He started nervously and could have been dismissed when he had made just three as Kumar Sangakkara spilled a catch off the inside edge of his bat. He survived to score two crucial boundaries before he was bowled by Sanath Jayasuriya, while attempting to play a tentative poke through the offside.

Then, in the 61st over of the match, Kumar Dharmasena bowled his first spell of the day and he trapped Croft lbw with a straight delivery with 19 runs still needed.

At lunch England needed just nine runs for victory and White and Giles managed to see them home.