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England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Edgbaston, 4th day

England amble to six-wicket victory

The Report by Andrew McGlashan

May 28, 2006

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England 295 and 81 for 4 (Cook 32*, Muralitharan 4-29) beat Sri Lanka 141 and 231 (Vandort 104, Dilshan 59, Plunkett 3-17) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out



Liam Plunkett took three quick wickets to end Sri Lanka's resistance © Getty Images
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Led by powerful new-ball bursts from Liam Plunkett and Andrew Flintoff, England crushed Sri Lanka's resistance on the fourth day at Edgbaston, completing a six-wicket win to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Michael Vandort ground out a valiant second Test century but the second innings came to a rapid conclusion as the last five wickets fell for 12 runs. Muttiah Muralitharan didn't make life easy for England as they chased 78, but Alastair Cook remained firm to seal the result.

Muralitharan's ripping doosras and extravagant turn, plus the hints of variable bounce from Lasith Malinga, showed what could have been possible if Sri Lanka had managed to extend their lead to 150. However, England's attack was on the money and maintained a consistent line and length during the early passage of play, with Matthew Hoggard finding plenty of swing with the new ball. Vandort and Farveez Maharoof held firm until the just before noon when, after a short spell from Hoggard, Flintoff brought himself on and bounced out Maharoof to lift England's spirits.

Vandort had become becalmed in the nineties - although his innings was never a flyer - but, after a couple of powerful drives had been fielded by mid-off, managed to squeeze a single through the covers to reach his ton off 297 balls. However, that was the high point for Sri Lanka as Plunkett showed he'd recovered from the shoulder injury that prevented him bowling yesterday.

Chaminda Vaas has been a thorn in England's side each time he's batted, but Plunkett made short work of him this time around when a flashing drive was well held in the gully. Nuwan Kulasekara didn't hold anyone up for very long, with Plunkett switching into bouncer mode and the ball, this time, looped to Paul Collingwood in the gully as Durham combined for the second time in two balls. England's catching was sharp and, once the first wicket had been taken, the intensity increased and it was too much for Sri Lanka.



Michael Vandort celebrates his hundred © Getty Images
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The end came swiftly with Malinga fending to second slip and Vandort's commendable effort finishing when he flashed at Plunkett and was the last man out. Plunkett's performance completed a fine match, taking his wicket tally to six, and he again proved the ideal bowler for the Edgbaston pitch.

Chasing a small total is rarely as easy as it appears and Marcus Trescothick was an early victim when Muralitharan produced a perfect doosra in his first over. Cook and Andrew Strauss played confidently, but Muralitharan was always a threat and was rewarded with a second wicket when Aleem Dar adjudged that Strauss had got a bottom edge on a sweep; replays suggested otherwise.

In a match where he has had such an impact, Kevin Pietersen tried to stamp his mark on the closing stages and unlocked his full repertoire of shots. He was brilliantly caught at short midwicket by Mahela Jayawardene but Vaas had overstepped, while the battle with Muralitharan was again absorbing. This time it went the way of the Sri Lankan when Pietersen was bamboozled by another pinpoint accurate doosra. Pietersen hardly bothered waiting for the umpire's decision and Muralitharan's celebration was the most flamboyant of the day.

A richly deserved ten-wicket haul, the 15th of his career, followed when he removed Paul Collingwood, but there were too few runs to play with. In a fitting finish, Flintoff straight-drove Muralitharan for the winning runs and two great friends shook hands. It was almost one man against a team. The battle will resume in five days at Trent Bridge.

How they were out

England

Marcus Trescothick lbw b Muralitharan 0 (9 for 1)
Perfect doosra, hitting middle

Andrew Strauss c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 16 (35 for 2)
Ball missed bat from attempted sweep, taken at slip

Kevin Pietersen lbw b Muralitharan 13 (63 for 3)
Plumb to the doosra

Paul Collingwood c Sangakkara b Muralitharan 3 (73 for 4)
Delivery bounced and took outside edge

Sri Lanka

Farveez Maharoof c and b Flintoff 13 (219 for 6)
Short ball spliced back to the bowler

Chaminda Vaas c Collingwood b Plunkett 1 (223 for 7)
Flashing drive to gully

Nuwan Kulasekara c Collingwood b Plunkett 0 (223 for 8)
Dug in, fended into the gully area

Lasith Malinga c Strauss b Flintoff 2 (230 for 9)
Regulation edge to second slip

Michael Vandort c Jones b Plunkett 105 (231 all out)
Outside edge off back foot

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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