England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Edgbaston, 3rd day May 27, 2006

Vandort carries Sri Lanka but Hoggard strikes

Sri Lanka 141 and 194 for 5 (Vandort 89*, Maharoof 0*) lead England 295 by 40 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

Tillakaratne Dilshan struck a solid half-century before falling late on the third day © Getty Images
Michael Vandort and Tillakaratne Dilshan formed a resolute fifth-wicket stand of 125 as Sri Lanka moved into the lead on a truncated third day at Edgbaston, but Matthew Hoggard struck a vital late blow after a frustrating session for the bowlers. Play had been delayed for nearly six hours by steady rain, leaving just 34 overs in the evening, and the overnight Sri Lankan pair battled until the brink of the close.

Hoggard troubled both batsmen with swing during his first spell but, unlike last night when they concentrated solely on defence, Vandort and Dilshan found the boundary. After the pacemen failed to provide the breakthrough, Monty Panesar was thrown the ball and greeted by a lofted drive over mid-on by Vandort, to pass fifty for the fourth time in Tests off 162 balls.

However, there was plenty of encouragement for Panesar as he found some turn and bounce, ripping one past Dilshan, which missed the glove by a matter of millimetres as it looped to slip. Then, on 46, Dilshan came mighty close to feathering an edge through to Geraint Jones and replays did not entirely settle the issue as whether it was bat or pad.

Dilshan ticked over to an impressive half-century, off 87 balls, to follow his similar effort at Lord's, and slowly the lead started to grow. Andrew Flintoff tried all his available options from every angle; Liam Plunkett was unable to bowl after picking up a shoulder injury on Friday although he did field for the majority of the session. Panesar bowled over and round, so did Flintoff himself, while Paul Collingwood also had a trundle. However, it was the tactic of using Hoggard in off-cutter mode that made the breakthrough after an impressive couple of overs.

Vandort and Dilshan struggled against the late movement Hoggard found when the ball gripped on the surface. It was Dilshan who succumbed, when he missed an ugly forcing short off the back foot, and the ball would have taken the bails.

Despite never being very fluent, Vandort grew in confidence throughout his innings, putting in a large stride against seam and spin alike. He drove Panesar through the covers and ended the day in positive style by taking two fours and a three off Hoggard's last over. This is Vandort's first Test against anyone other than Bangladesh and he has shown he can stand up to a quality attack.

Sri Lanka's tail has been their strength in this series, twice showing their worth at Lord's, and it now has the task of supporting Vandort to extend the lead towards 150. Although there was less evidence of low bounce in the short passage of play, there was assistance for Panesar. Where there's turn, there's Muralitharan. Sri Lanka are proving a tough nut to crack for England.

How they were out

Sri Lanka

Upul Tharanga c Jones b Hoggard 0 (2 for 1)
Pushed at one that went across him

Kumar Sangakkara c Collingwood b Panesar 18 (38 for 2)
Spooned to midwicket as he came down the pitch

Mahela Jayawardene lbw b Hoggard 5 (43 for 3)
Ball kept low, taking leg

Thilan Samaraweera st Jones b Panesar 8 (56 for 4)
Drawn down the pitch, beaten by wonderful spin and bounce

Tillakaratne Dilshan lbw b Hoggard 59 (194 for 5)
Played back, beaten by an off-cutter, clipping top of stumps

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo