Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Galle, 1st day

Mahela Jayawardene resists England push

The Report by George Dobell

March 26, 2012

Comments: 128 | Text size: A | A

Sri Lanka 289 for 8 (Jayawardene 168*, Anderson 3-56) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Mahela Jayawardene goes over midwicket, Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Galle, 1st day, March 26, 2012
Mahela Jayawardene's 30th Test hundred was a vital innings for his side © Getty Images
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A masterful century from Mahela Jayawardene helped Sri Lanka fight back against England on the first day of the first Test in Galle. Jayawardene, unbeaten on 168 at stumps, batted for all but two overs of a hot and humid day to ensure his side were not completely overwhelmed. None of his colleagues made more than 27 and between them, they contributed just 111.

Both sides will reflect on a day of missed opportunities. While England - with the notable exception of Monty Panesar - were impressive in the field, Sri Lanka may well come to rue that a series of batsmen played a part in their own downfall. Two of them were run out, one was caught at cover as he attempted a slog-sweep that reeked of inexperience and at least one more was drawn into driving at a delivery he would have been better served leaving well alone. England applied the pressure expertly, but Sri Lanka proved more brittle than expected.

England, meanwhile, will regret four missed chances off Jayawardene - the two from Panesar almost comical - and a failure to finish off the innings much earlier. At 191 for 7, a total of 300 should have proved beyond Sri Lanka. Such profligacy could come back to haunt England.

If it does, it will be largely thanks to Jayawardene. Only seven men have scored more than his 30 Test centuries, but he would have been frustrated at his colleagues' failure to take advantage of winning the toss. It should have proved invaluable: on a pitch that is already offering a surprising amount of assistance for the spinners and is expected to deteriorate further.

Jayawardene deserved better. With his patience, his shot selection, his concentration and his technique, he provided the perfect example for his team-mates to follow. Three times he came down the wicket to thump sixes over long-on - once off James Anderson and twice off Graeme Swann - though generally he contented himself with waiting for the poor ball and putting it away with clinical precision.

England did allow him four moments of fortune, however. When he had 64, Anderson was unable to cling on to a desperately tough chance at first slip off the bowling of Swann (Sri Lanka would have been 138 for 6 had it been taken) before, on 90, Anderson missed a much more straightforward chance off his own bowling.

Then came two moments of vintage Panesar. Jayawardene, on 147, pulled directly to him at backward square and Panesar parried the ball for four. Worse was to follow. Panesar dropped a much simpler chance at mid-on off Stuart Broad when the batsman had 152. It provided a reminder of why Panesar, for all his skill as a bowler, has spent so much of his career on the outskirts of the international team.

At first it appeared Sri Lanka might be blown away as they lost three wickets in the first four overs. Lahiru Thirimanne became Anderson's 250th Test wicket in the bowler's 67th Test - he is just the sixth England bowler to reach the milestone - as he prodded at one angled across him, before Kumar Sangakkara suffered the third first-ball dismissal of his Test career after he was drawn into a loose drive. Broad then took the edge of Tillakaratne Dilshan's bat with a beauty that bounced and left him off the seam.

Thilan Samaraweera was run out backing up after the bowler, Anderson, managed to lay a hand on a fierce return drive from Mahela Jayawardene only to see the ball deflect on to the stumps at the bowler's end. It was, some might say, an unfortunate end to a promising innings, though Samaraweera was backing up unnecessarily far.

Dinesh Chandimal, meanwhile, presented Samit Patel - preferred to Ravi Bopara (whose side strain would have prohibited him from bowling) or Tim Bresnan - with a maiden Test wicket as he miscued an ugly slog-sweep to cover and miscued to cover. It was the shot of a young man who had almost forgotten the art of batting for long periods of time; not surprising, perhaps, when you consider that he has not batted in first-class cricket since the first week of January.

Then Suraj Randiv, looking quite comfortable and with a role to fulfil in supporting his captain, was run out by a direct hit from Andrew Strauss. It was a marvellous bit of work from England's captain, who threw from about point, but it was another piece of sloppy cricket from a Sri Lankan side that has barely had time to draw breath after tours to South Africa, Australia and then Bangladesh. Not that Randiv, perhaps guilty of over enthusiasm, could use that excuse: he has been playing first-class cricket in Sri Lanka.

With Herath, too, departing to an unnecessary sweep, only Prasanna Jayawardene could consider himself blameless. He fell victim to a wicked reverse-swinging inducker from Anderson.

There were concerns that England would miss a third quick, but the polished performance of their frontline bowlers - and the fragility of the Sri Lankan batting - suggested the selectors' gamble had been vindicated.

Anderson, in particular, was excellent. Gaining conventional swing with the new ball and reverse swing with the old, he scarcely bowled a loose ball throughout and, when he took the wicket of Prasanna Jayawardene, he drew level with Brian Statham on 252 Test wickets. Only four England bowlers - Ian Botham, Bob Willis, Fred Trueman and Derek Underwood - have more.

Patel could also reflect with pleasure on his first day of Test cricket. While both frontline spinners went wicketless, Patel struck twice. He is not the biggest turner of the ball, but he bowls straight with just enough variation to keep the batsmen honest.

Perhaps it was the heat, perhaps it was the lingering issue of his ankle injury, but Broad appeared to struggle as the day progressed and England will be uncomfortable with the speed that runs were leaked after they claimed the second new ball. While the pitch is far from a minefield, it is highly unlikely to grow any easier and England - fresh from their travails against Pakistan's spinners in the UAE - may struggle to shake the worry that they have squandered their best chance to take a firm grip on the series.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by playitstraight on (March 29, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

@nandika - Sanga has scored all over the world, true. But, recently he scored 511 runs against Pakistan in 3 tests at an average of 86 in 2011. In 2011 itself, in the series' against England in Eng and South Africa in SA, he averaged 30.66 and 30.00 respectively. An average of 30 is just not good enough, which is why he is called a flat track bully. Maybe you can call Samaraweera a real lion, as he averaged 50 in SA and 80 in England.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (March 28, 2012, 21:45 GMT)

@rahulcricket007. Ok man. I like your reply! Everyone love Test cricket yes? I see your enthusiasm very Indian. I change my opinion - maybe you good guy afterall. Let us talk cricket in future.

Posted by Nandika on (March 28, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

@3liteindia im not talking about mahela hundreds.im talking about sangakkara.look at his records.centuries doubles centuries all over the world.he played well in aus and SA he is not a flat track bully.he is one of the greats batsman now in world cricket.why still we are telling don bradman as greatest batsman of all time.because of his batting not think about his hundreds.34 hudress but they most valuable ones

Posted by JG2704 on (March 27, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

@rahulcricket007 on (March 27 2012, 01:15 AM GMT) but you haven't stopped making such predictions have you? Also you say you love test cricket. Then you'll know that the disastrous tour of India by Eng was purely ODI's with 1 T20.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 27, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

@ Trickstar on Sorry , but I disagree. This is not the England side that were scoring big against India last summer and there did seem to be a bit of bounce off the pitch for the spinners. It's not a case of having a short memory re Bell , it's doing what I feel is best for the team. It's ok if one player is struggling as badly as Bell is and the rest of the batsmen are consistently performing but they are not. Dravid was immense for India vs Eng last summer but absolutely shot vs Aus leading to his retirement and surely if we're talking about earning the right to stay he earnt it much more than Bell. It's nothing personal against Bell, it's just that he was the one player who has shown no glimpse of form this year and IMO we don't have the batsman who could come in and do a job under these circumstances and we need to at least try a 5 man bowling attack.

Posted by GDH62 on (March 27, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

@Spelele Well, well, well. While a laboured South African attack fail to bowl New Zealand out, the news is that Eng are busy blasting the Sri Lankans out on the other side of the world. The best swing bowler in the world (Anderson) is causing havoc on flat pitches in SL, while the ordinary green track bullies of South Africa are huffing and puffing down under. Settles the 'best attack in the world' debate I suppose. Can't wait to wallop the Saffas come June.

Posted by ground-boy on (March 27, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

1 for 11,2 for 11 and Dilshan fell when he reached 11 initially put England on the driving seat. Then they failed to get the fielding basics correct.All in all it's a mixed bag for both teams:catches missed, Samaraweera's dismissals and run out. Sri Lankans had their higher share of luck. With the turning pitch, pray for lord-Nelson,not for the glory of any king/s. Nice to hear historical golden voice in the commentary box again. We need a a decision after five long days play.

Posted by   on (March 27, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

Wooooow! maiya... that was awesome. I feel that you have changed the whole complexion of the game.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 27, 2012, 3:03 GMT)

I don't really count the chance on 64 as a drop because it was too difficult. Anderson's drop with Jayawardene on 90 cost England 57 runs, although c&b are always a bit more difficult than the equivalent catch to a regular fielder. Monty's drops have cost England 21 runs so far. I take a little comfort from the fact that England has a stroke of luck to dismiss Samaraweera. If England bat well then this game is still very much in the balance. You'd back England to get a decent lead back home but obviously this is a very different situation.

Posted by raja9787 on (March 27, 2012, 3:02 GMT)

Being an Indian, it is both funny and little embarrassing to see some comments posted by my fellow countrymen.. praise the guys who perform, mahela in this case, who has single-handedly prevented his side from a downfall.. don't bring in sachin into everything.. i mean everything!! he himself wouldn't like it.. i don't understand why do we always have to prove that our batsmen are the best.. if they are the best, they could have at least drawn a test in england and aussies.. did they?? seems you guys are just living in denial just like our cricket board.. right now, we don't have a great team.. Deal with it !!

Posted by   on (March 27, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

A superb knock by Mahela. Dropped catches are England's problem. Now regarding Thilan's dismissal, he needs to be careful in taking an early start at the non striker's end. This was the second time same thing happened to him in a test at Galle. Last time it was against West Indies. Thilan has got run out I guess bit too many times in tests. His almost match saving century against WI during last tour ended with a run out. Then even his last double hundred in Pakistan also ended with a run out. Now for 3 dismissals early on, Dilshan the way he batted could have got out any time. Sanga had no reason to chase such a wide one. Lahiru might have got a good one. Chandimal has got a lot to learn about test cricket and hope he will learn fast. Having talent is not sufficient. Today will be a crucial day depending on how much more Sri Lanka could add and how well England will bat.

Posted by bharath74 on (March 27, 2012, 2:27 GMT)

Cricket is still called a gentlemans game bcos of cricketers like Mahela,Sanga, Dravid... Well done Mahela!!

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (March 27, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

@A VACANT SLIP . IT 'S BECAUSE I LOVE TEST CRICKET . SADLY OUR INDIAN TEAM IS NOT PERFORMING GOOD THESE DAYS SO I WATCH OTHER MATCHES . ALSO AFTER THE DISASTROUS ENG TOUR OF INDIA LAST YEAR I HAD STOP MAKING ARROGANT PREDICTIONS .

Posted by PrasadGunawardane on (March 27, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

Its obvious that Galle International Cricket Ground is the most productive Test venue for Mahela Jayawardane's bat and no doubt it is one of the happiest hunting ground for SL while great Muralitharan collected more than hundred Test wickets to his bag in Galle. Mahela scored his very 1st Test century in this beautiful venue and he has already scored 7 Test centuries while he missed his 8th one with one run short back in 2001. The other most interesting thing is that, Mahela has registered one out of his two ducks in SLankan soil in this venue as well. When looking into the current series, I still say that Sri Lanka are wasting Thirimanna in Test Cricket by asking him to open the inning; as he proved today too. Thirimanna is a solid middle order batsman who can build the inning with nudges and counter attack. Unfortunate for SL and for Thirimanna, if he fails once more in this Test match; Paranavithana will be given the chance to open in 2nd Test and he is not in his form as well.

Posted by sl_supporter on (March 27, 2012, 0:12 GMT)

Sanga seems to be out of form for long time now and it is time to make a decision and leave him out until he regains his form. Tharanga should be playing test cricket and I don't understand this

Posted by   on (March 27, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

Catches win matches, I just hope that dropping Mahela does not cost England the match. We have to try and make sure they don't get to 350+.

Posted by Trickstar on (March 26, 2012, 23:36 GMT)

@JG2704 Don't think it's close to being a SL day, the pitch offered nothing to the seamers after the 8 over mark and will offer less to the SL seamers because they are not close to Jimmy and Broad, they said it was spinning and the odd one did turn but it was very slow turn. At the start of the day England would have defo taken them all out for 300, they just have to finish the off and then put on a big one. It's obvious to say but whoever gets in needs to make it a big one and contrbutions from 3 or 4 others. If the England batsmen play to there potential they should be looking to pass this score by a long way. You seem to have a very short memory, Bell has had one poor series, the previous 3 years he's averaged 75, he's earned the right to have a poor one. The batting line up do need to click but it's not as if they haven't been doing exactly that for the past few years and are very much capable of doing it now.

Posted by Meety on (March 26, 2012, 23:35 GMT)

Top day of cricket. England's blitz at the start, caught me (& probably 90% of Sri Lankan fans by surprise). Hard to say how good the pitch is given Sri Lanka gave away two dumb runouts (Strauss's fielding was superb in the 2nd). What to say about Jayawerdene? Bit of luck, the rest all class. It is a hard thing to say, but I would describe him as the prettiest batsmen in the world when in form. I don't think the pitch will fall to pieces, but I do think that scoring runs will get harder, as when Oz played here the pitch became totally lifeless, but not too hard to survive. SL have the runs on the board, but if England can get two big partnerships, they could be back in front by stumps tomorrow. England will not want to let SL pass 300. Anderson bowled well, nicking out Sanga first up was pretty good, although Sanga would be ropable he played at that one.

Posted by vk6848 on (March 26, 2012, 23:29 GMT)

I think it is a waste trying to compare batsmen and statistics- Many batsmen have given us great pleasure and they are all great; my favourites include Tendulkar, Amla, Ponting, Strauss, Tamim, Sangakkara (I can go on); but there is (was) something special about people like Laxman, Damien Martin, Mohamed Yousuf, may be Graham Hick, and Jayawardena comes into that category? I always thought he should have been dropped when he gave up captaincy but years later now, when he plays without fuss yet makes all these scores I have to admit he is still a treat to watch.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 22:28 GMT)

I think some people need to focus on this test match and not bring the Indian team or any other team into this. I think people have to stop bringing Sachin Tendulkar into every conversation, we know he is brilliant but it gets slightly annoying when it keeps on happening. Instead of comparing every person to Sachin, I think people should just appreciate a person when they play a good innings as Mahela has done, he has played brilliantly considering the situation he came into, and although people can say "he was dropped 4 times", i think people should blame England for that instead of making that an excuse for him still being there. Mahela has shown that he will make teams pay if he is given chances. Lets just all appreciate a great innings and look forward to the rest of the game

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

It is NOT Mahelas fault that he did not get many oportunities to play tests in other countries. He still has not played a TEST match at MCG?

Posted by Imad_K on (March 26, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

Poor Panesar. He really needs some serious help with his catching. People drop catches even the simplest at times but the way he approached the second catch was as if the guy has never caught a cricket ball before in his life and just watched a few video clips of others catching. One second he is trying to catch it the orthodox way after a little clap/prayer and then he decides to try reverse hands for no reason - shocking.

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (March 26, 2012, 21:20 GMT)

The so called batting giants could not avoid 4-0 white wash in England and Australia

Posted by JG2704 on (March 26, 2012, 21:00 GMT)

Have to say it's SL's day and things are not looking great for England. After a great start Jayawardene has single handedly taken the game away from England. Broad looks hampered and while I wanted Eng to risk him , with only one other seamer it limits our options. I would say Bell is the luckiest player in the world to keep his place - although maybe he's unlucky because I believe if his confidence is as bad as it looks , he is being done no favours by being continually picked - let alone what it has done and will continue to do for the team. Maybe he will rediscover his form and the whole batting line up will actually stand up and be counted. It's about time. Well done Patel for his brace of wickets - hope he can do something with the bat too.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 26, 2012, 21:00 GMT)

Why do we have to have Indian's coming on here trying to compare Sachin's efforts with Mahela's.? Have there not been enough articles on Sachin recently?

Posted by Harry_Kool on (March 26, 2012, 20:56 GMT)

Yes guys, Mahela is no doubt a class bastman but let's get some perspective here. He got dropped FOUR times! And simple catches that most 14yo kids would catch. He should buy a few lottery tickets as the luck seems to be going his way big time. If you guys are going to rely on the Poms dropping catches to remain competitive, then be prepared for some huge disappointments coming up. Although he owuld be happy with his score, there is no doubt he would have been embarrassed by the way he scored. I saw most of it and he wasn't himself, just rode through the chances and gritted his way through, punishing the loose ball. We'll wait for the Poms reply to see how much their indiscretions have hurt them.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 20:50 GMT)

What happened to Fin? Why isn't he playing instead of Patel?

Posted by Green_How on (March 26, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

Great days cricket, swinging this way and that. I think England could live to regret those drops by Monty. Set up to be an interesting couple of games, SL don't have the quality of the Pakistan spinners but their batting is stronger. Its gonna be a tough mini series to call !! Finally - @jonesy please don't give up the day job fella - you'll never make a cricket commentator. Clueless comments, amazed Cricinfo bother with publishing them. Stick to aussie rules pal, at least you can comfort yourself that Australia are the best at that cos having watched the Aussies in WI, your a long way off being the best at a proper game !!

Posted by cute_vela on (March 26, 2012, 20:24 GMT)

@Venki_indian I think you personaly hate Mahela..tats why talking like this..Mahela have proved allot..hv scored well and escply last few matches.. If its so difficult fo you to appreciate Mahela's play..No problem just be quite..no one need your praise..

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (March 26, 2012, 20:22 GMT)

@rahulcricket007 - man you are joke. How many times did you say "mark my words". Not once has any prediction of yours come right - especially the ones about India cricket. Why you Indian suddenly expert of Sri Lanka cricket? Stick to India forums you might do better there.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (March 26, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

This is the very reason I would have prefer Bresnan to come in as a 3rd seamer and Patel replacing Monty...first off I am a big Monty fan but watching the replays of those 2 dropped catches made me sick to my stomach. He is supposed to be a professional cricketer...an international cricketer at that and he does not even have the proper technique that is required of even a weekend cricketer. We are all taught how to put our hands together when trying to catch a ball and it was disgusting watching him trying to catch those 2 balls. No excuse whatsoever...I do not care how unathletic or clumsy you are, if you are a professional, the least you can do is have the proper technique at what you are doing!

Posted by Dhutugemunu on (March 26, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

It's fun to watch Indian Fans commenting everywhere praising Indian Batsmen or Bowlers even that game is not related to India.

Posted by Dhutugemunu on (March 26, 2012, 20:07 GMT)

@ Venki_indian; Get your stats right man. Jayawardene scored only 7 hundreds out of 30 at Galle (not 17). He has scored only 20.47 % of his Runs (not almost half) at the same venue. Since India has a lot of Test Venues Sachin "The God" has played at 14 home grounds. If India had only a few Test grounds, Sachin could have accumulated a lot of runs at a same ground.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

As usual Indian trolls have entered our page too..Its o joke whaen Indians call others flat treack bullies..we all saw who are the real flat track bullies for last 6 months !

Posted by hhillbumper on (March 26, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

Nice to see some constructive comments on here.And Jonesey 2

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

class? This guy has 30 test tons and 24 have come in the sub continent.

21 have come in Sri lanka alone.

1 in zimbabwe 1 in bangladesh

This guy is a flat track bully.

Posted by supadupamonk on (March 26, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

I wish SL best of luck...dont allow Eng to win in the subcontinent SL, chase them away. They dont deserve the No.1 spot either.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

she is my best pleyer........good.very good

Posted by brittop on (March 26, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

@spelele: Wow you can bowl out NZ. Great effort!

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (March 26, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

@Nandika u really have opened a can of worms here. Can you not just enjoy what Mahela did here today and stop comparing with the other greats. Since u have started this I am compelled to stress more on what @kitten has well said: ~57% of Sachins century have come away from home and i can give u a break up by country since I am sure u will claim it was against minnows. Mahela has scores only 30% of his centuries away from home. Had this been Sachin instead of Mahela, I am sure we would have seen comments like "flat trak bullies etc....." i wonder why the double standards. Stop comparing and just enjoy the game of cricket like @Romain has said. Its not fair to compare but human psychology is such that we always need a frame of reference.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (March 26, 2012, 19:29 GMT)

Well played Mahela, Keep it up!

Posted by bobmartin on (March 26, 2012, 19:29 GMT)

I knew it wouldn't be long before some Indian supporters came along to belittle Jayawardene's effort and start drawing comparisons with Tendulkar... Shame on you for being so ungracious towards Jayawardene who's done a magnificent job for his country. Why don't you buzz off back to your own little world that can see and praise no-one other than your little over-hyped God... and leave this thread to decent genuine supporters of the two countries involved.

Posted by yorkslanka on (March 26, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

another wonderful innings from mahela when his country needed him..yes he did have a bit of luck thanks to monthy's huge hands but all players know, you take it when you can get it...hopefully the tail can hang aroud with mahela and get us to around 350..we still have to bowl very well, given the form of England's batsmen..Cook and Strauss will be very diffiucult to dislodge...good luck to SL for day two..Credit also to Anderson who bowled very wel(which is hard to say for a yorkshire lad - even a sri lankan one :-) l, lot of comments about him saying he cant perform in asia, i think that's rubbish personally..finally hope that the many England fans are enjoying our wonderful country...

Posted by yorkslanka on (March 26, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

another wonderful innings from mahela when his country needed him..yes he did have a bit of luck thanks to monthy's huge hands but all players know, you take it when you can get it...hopefully the tail can hang aroud with mahela and get us to around 350..we still have to bowl very well, given the form of England's batsmen..Cook and Strauss will be very diffiucult to dislodge...good luck to SL for day two..Credit also to Anderson who bowled very wel(which is hard to say for a yorkshire lad - even a sri lankan one :-) l, lot of comments about him saying he cant perform in asia, i think that's rubbish personally..finally hope that the many England fans are enjoying our wonderful country...

Posted by jackthelad on (March 26, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

Great effort from Sri's premier batsman, considering that none of the team have had more than a couple of days to put their feet up over the last four months or so. England will find these conditions helpful but quite tiring - Sri has an average temperature around 35 degrees, with very high humidity - if it gets to 27 degrees, Lankans start running out to buy overcoats! But it's the humidity more than anything that saps strength. Good to see Sri can still compete at this level despite their injury losses. Looks set to be an interesting (if all too short) series.

Posted by Jarr30 on (March 26, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

Great job J'wardede!! 30th ton in Srilanka.His 29 of his 30 tons have been scored in SriLanka's dust bowls. J'warde's 9999 out of 10200 runs have been scored in Srilanka. Prove it to us that you are a resonably good batsmen if you score a half century in Australia or SA.

Posted by PrasadGunawardane on (March 26, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

Its obvious that Galle International Cricket Ground is the most productive Test venue for Mahela Jayawardane's bat and no doubt it is one of the happiest hunting ground for SL while great Muralitharan collected more than hundred Test wickets to his bag in Galle. Mahela scored his very 1st Test century in this beautiful venue and he has already scored 7 Test centuries while he missed his 8th one with one run short back in 2001. The other most interesting thing is that, Mahela has registered one out of his two ducks in SLankan soil in this venue as well. When looking into the current series, I still say that Sri Lanka are wasting Thirimanna in Test Cricket by asking him to open the inning; as he proved today too. Thirimanna is a solid middle order batsman who can build the inning with nudges and counter attack. Unfortunate for SL and for Thirimanna, if he fails once more in this Test match; Paranavithana will be given the chance to open in 2nd Test and he is not in his form as well.

Posted by CricPissu on (March 26, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

SL has got two good spinners. if it is already started turning then ENG has got hard days at work. Mind you, the heat & humidity are the other factors that will decide who is the fittest in this contest. One positive for ENG is that they have already seen quality spin from PAK in the UAE - Ifthi

Posted by goldeneye075 on (March 26, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

@S.Jagernath ; Mahela is a finest of a batsmen, a world has seen in this era, and they were never got many opertunities to go on tours, like the other nations. So what ever Mahela has achieved to be a great goal. Some of them has stated that Mahela could only bat in galle. which indeed shows the class of the bastman, it would be not significant if other players did also got runs in pills... but it's not the case at galle, the next highest is 27 runs... which indeed show the character and more about the true class of the man him self. If I can remember correctly mahela scored his first hundred in galle against NZ, which was a deteriorating pitch, where the team had the players on Aravinda, Santh, but non of them could get past 50, and over the years less no of players did scored 100's at galle, which says its not a batting paradise. It would be turely grateful if the comments were constructive as possible. as we will only see this master batsman bat few year more. like Muarly ;-) enjoy!

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

An interesting second day ahead. If SL could grab another 50 odd runs then that might prove to be a crucial factor in the outcome.

Posted by northumbriannomad on (March 26, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

Well played Jayawardene, thanks to the generosity of Panesar. Letting Panesar back into the team is back to the bad old days for England. His comedy fielding is not funny. How many runs did he give away today? There's no excuse for being so inept in the field in this day and age.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

@David Hopps Talking in terms of statistics alone, Jayawardene has got a fair share of away matches (54/129 ~ 42%). While the percentage is still lower than players from more "established" countries, it is not fair to say that he has been at a massive disadvantage due to not playing enough away games.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

@rahulcricket007 Away averages: Laxman (42.49), Sehwag (44.65), Gambhir (47.55), Jayawardene (40.11). Check the stats before posting as though you know everything.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (March 26, 2012, 17:09 GMT)

Wow, loving these pitches being created. Really makes it a struggle between bat and ball. I really wanted to see Mahela regain captaincy in the Tests because I read somewhere that he averages 60+ when captaining Sri Lanka

Posted by maddy20 on (March 26, 2012, 17:02 GMT)

Classy innings from Mahela. Cometh the hour cometh the Mahela. Now if the Lankans can just make it 350 it will be a daunting task for England. There is plenty of assistance in the pitch for Herath and Randiv to make merry.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

mahela is getting better form as a captain! congratulation for mahela!

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

@S Jagernath For a team to play lots of Tests overseas, it takes another team to invite them to do so. That has not always been the case. I think you are doing a disservice to one of the world's finest batsmen. There are countless examples of great batsmen doing better in their home environment. In Jayawardene, it is true, the distinction is more marked.

Posted by CricEshwar on (March 26, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

England going in with 3 spinners is a huge surprise. Jayawardhane is as classy as ever.

Posted by Damo_s on (March 26, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

After a dream start England have blown it a bit here. SL have a good total already on the board should England fail with the bat tomorrow. People may say that Herath is no Ajmal but neither is Rehman (apparently) yet he caused England just as much bother. Tomorrow will be a good days of cricket for sure, lots of spin and no doubt a few red faces (Bell and possibly KP).

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

Real class mahela,as always...

Posted by Danufur on (March 26, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

@Venki_indian: Thanks for your support towards Mahela and Sri Lankan Cricket. Much appreciated.

Posted by rajabojuna on (March 26, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

Wonder whether Dilshan is ever spoken to by his captain and team management for playing like an idiot in the opening slot of a test team.... what callous disregard for his team for him to launch into such flamboyant shots when the situation called for steely resolve. Isn't he better off coming down the order at say #7???

Posted by kitten on (March 26, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

Brilliant innings from a brilliant player. Well done Mahela. May you carry on with the good work. It is indeed a shame that none of the others played a major role. But who knows, another 20 or 30 runs, and then if SL strike early like England did, and with the wicket beginning to take spin, anything is possible. Looking forward to an interesting game, thanks to Mahela. However, before some people like Nandika start jumping and making statements like Mahela and Sanga are better than Tendulkar, let us go by the same stats that he has provided. Mahela after 128 matches got 30 centuries, avg 4.26, Tendi after 188 got 51, avg 3.68, and Sanga after 106 got 28, avg 3.78. These figures prove that Tendi scored a century every 3.68 tests which is better that the other two. Furthermore, we all know that it gets harder to keep scoring centuries time and time again, as one gets older, and against fitter and younger players. I'd like views on this matter.It would be interesting.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

If I may quickly respond to Nandika's comment, if you use the exact numbers you mentionned (30 centuries from 128 games for Jayawerdene and 51 centuries from 188 games for Tendulkar), Tendulkar scored a century in 27% of his matches while Jayawerdene scored one in 23% of his.

I'm not saying that either batsman is better than the other, and I'm completely neutral when it comes to the nationality of the players (I'm actually French). I'm just trying to point out that while the achievement is admirable, it is not fair to compare the two in these terms.

Posted by Sinhaya on (March 26, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

Mahela proved that he is simply unstoppable in Sri Lanka and that is why his average is well over 60 plus in tests at home. He simply proved his class when he scored 105 in Galle last year against the Aussies when the pitch was the worse ever for batsmen. Mahela's main flaw is consistency unlike Sanga. Mahela simply offset his poor test run in UAE and SA by scoring this sensational innings.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

Waddaplayer... well done Mahela...all class

Posted by brittop on (March 26, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

@satish619chandar: have to disagree with you. It's a risk/reward thing. The batsman is trying to gain an advantage by getting a start on any runs available. There has to be a risk associated with this reward.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

mahela u rock man !!! great artistry and even greater resillience !!! watching u play made me feel that u missed the captaincy!!!

Posted by Buddhika86Liyanage on (March 26, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

@Venki_indian I can understand your frustration.

Posted by deep123 on (March 26, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

If SL makes 330 in the first innings then there is high probability of SL win...

Posted by brittop on (March 26, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

This is what test cricket is about. Great start by England, great innings by Jayawardene to get SL back in. Hope England's batting can live up to it.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

Jayawardene is a superb player. So graceful and easy in his approach. 30 test tons is a major achievement.

Posted by Herath-UK on (March 26, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

A masterclass innings from Mahela ;a showpiece to the cricket world against a very good bowling attack.Panasear does not know how to catch a ball and make England the laughing stock unfortunately. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

Unlike Dilshan, Mahela seems to be invigorated by his return to the captaincy. Here's hoping he can go past 200 tomorrow.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 26, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

Tomorrow's play will show just how important Mahela's knock will be in the outcome of this match. It could well be a match-winning effort because I don't see batting getting any easier on this track. As for England's bowling, I thought it was wholehearted and generally competent - with Jimmy two notches up from competent. Well done to Samit - for a man regarded as a batsman who bowls usefully but is not an allrounder, two wickets must count as a bonus, esp. on debut. Good selection, just as I thought he'd be here. And I'll say it because someone needs to: Swann has lost some zip or variation of pace and use of flight; he looks innocuous against right-handers; the only way he looks like getting a wicket is through a batsman's indiscretion and when you're leaking 4 an over, no one's looking to break free! This must be beginning to give cause for concern. His figures today look poor in comparison to the rest.

Posted by Perera32 on (March 26, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

What a great innings by Mahela so far, he has to still keep going and get SL upto 350. Monty Panesar Praying with his hand before dropping that 2nd catch was one of the funniest things I've seen on the cricket field.

Posted by lakshitha.jayakody on (March 26, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

Ideal batting position for Mahel is 02 down!!! Even in ODIs. And Upul Tharana should have given a chance. He seems to be playing 04 down or 05 down superbly!!!

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (March 26, 2012, 14:52 GMT)

What a batsman. He alone has scored 58% of the teams total. Go on and score the double hundred. I hope it doesnt turn out to be Mahela vs. ENG like it did last summer for us DRAVID vs. ENG. SL without Muruli are going to struggle unlike PAK who had Ajmal, the best spinner in the world. I am surprised no wickets for Swann or Monty.

Posted by Spelele on (March 26, 2012, 14:45 GMT)

Well, well, well. While a laboured English attack continues to struggle to bowl Srilanka out, the news is that SA are busy blasting the Kiwis out on the other side of the world. The best bowler in the world (Philander) is causing havoc on flat pitches in NZ, while the ordinary green track bullies of England are huffing and puffing in Asia. Settles the 'best attack in the world' debate I suppose. Can't wait to wallop the Poms come June.

Posted by mikey76 on (March 26, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

All in all a good day in the field for England, especially after losing the toss. Anderson again demonstrating that he is one of the finest bowlers around at the moment.Cant wait for him to go head to head with Steyn in the summer. There are no excuses now for the batsmen, no scoreboard pressure and a pretty friendly attack. A great opportunity for Strauss and Bell to get over their form slumps. Mervo? United England? 2 out of 11 players. Uzman Khwaja...Pakistani...hello! Double standard anyone.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

Mahela the masyer... a very graceful and elegant batsman...u rockkk

Posted by playitstraight on (March 26, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

@Nandika - well for your information. Sachin's 51 Test hundreds have come all over the world, not only in India. Mahela has scored 21 of his 30 hundreds in Sri Lanka! Only 9 hundreds outside SL and only 4 outside the subcontinent excluding Zimbabwe! He does not even have a single hundred in South Africa! A tiger at home, but a cat outside!

Posted by jonesy2 on (March 26, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

i think lanka have the upper hand but they will dissappointed how they batted against a really poor england bowling attack. england must be worried that they have gone in with less batsmen and the weak ian bell at 5. swann must be on the verge of being dropped and you would think that that would be his career done..

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

this is enought for lions.... more than enough for our oppositions ....weak team = ENG

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (March 26, 2012, 14:20 GMT)

MARK MY WORDS . RANDIV WILL BE THE MAIN DANGER MAN FOR ENGLISH BATSMEN . HE BOWLS WITH BOUNCE & TURN . HE ALSO BOWLS A MYSTERY BALL CALLED "PANTHERA" .

Posted by Yasi_Gee on (March 26, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

Well played Mahela. Hopefully SL tail could wag and get to 400+

Posted by playitstraight on (March 26, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

Well at 15 for 3, SL were on the backfoot but then came superman Mahela and he rescued them. But the idea of Thirimanne opening has failed, a horrid one to start with. Dilshan does not have the technique for Tests. Sangakkara received a good ball first up but should have resisted from having a waft at it. But credit to the England bowlers, they bowled good lines and length. Chandimal has a long way to go, he has to learn to resist slogging during such situations. Prasanna was probably the only batsman who received such a great ball, but he was batting pretty well. Mahela's innings was superb, and he was due after a horrid year in 2011. Well done Mahela! You showed the way, as a captain. Happy that there was a sell-out crowd, to watch Mahela's great innings and England's great bowling (and sloppy fielding from Monty). What a contest!

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (March 26, 2012, 14:13 GMT)

@VENKI _INDIAN . MAHELA HAS AN AVERAGE OF 38 OUTSIDE SL WHICH I THINK IS BETTER THAN SEHWAG , LAXMAN , GAMBHIR 'S AWAY AVERAGES .

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 14:06 GMT)

I agree with satish619chandar about the run-out of Samaraweera. The law should be re-examined, I never thought it was a fair law. The same for overthrows when the stumps are hit - you are punishing a team for fielding well! My 2c

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:50 GMT)

gr8 player!!...I alwz lyk his batting!!...hw he manage such improvisation in later part of the innings!!....awesome!!

Posted by Nandika on (March 26, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

what a inning by great mahela.30th century wonderful to watch.mahela only played 128 test matches but he has got 30 centuries.sachin has played 188 test matches and has got 51 ceturies.well well............... if mahela played another 60 matches surely he will beat sachin records easily.dont for get sanga 106 mataches and 28 centuires.i think in future sanga is the all time best batsman in world crciket.sachin is a great player but sanga is far better than that.look at his records.only thing is india has better chance than sri lanka to play more test matches.other wise sanga is to be the best batsman all time.........evry one talks about sachin because of his satitictics.but i really can say in future sanga is man to change every records.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

My comment might be irrelevant but Jaywardene's form during Dilshan's captaincy is questionable... I wish next time in series against Pakistan Dilshan may restore as captain :p, cause Jaywardene will again become ordinary batsman

Posted by NALINWIJ on (March 26, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

There is a difference between scoring centuries at SSC and scoring at Galle where everyone else fails and Mahela has done many freakish centuries at this ground. HIS INNINGS MAY BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VICTORY AND ABJECT HUMILIATION!!! Note that Panesaar or Swann did not get a wicket in the pitch that is taking some turn with unpredictable bounce. Herath is the main man but Randiv can use the bounce.IF Sri Lanka can win this all the shortcomings at Asia cup will be forgiven and England may be fighting South Africa for the world test crown soon.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

What a player you are Mahela, I always wanted to see you batting.. Great performance once again fighting like a lion in the middle. :)

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 26, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

Ian Bell has the challenege ahead of him, if he is going to look less effective with the bat than Graeme Smith does with the ball.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

btw seems like england supporters watch test cricket like odi's and odi's like test cricket,

Posted by S.Jagernath on (March 26, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

Mahela Jayawardene now has 30 test centuries,more than Donald Bradman.He has scored 21 of the 30 in Sri Lanka,which is disgraceful.Sri Lanka's lack of touring has truly benefitted their careers.

Posted by stormy16 on (March 26, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

Another test series and another poor batting display by SL in the first innings and will most probably cost them them another series. Its hard to imagine that batting is SL's strength looking at the first test of each of its last 4 series where they have been blown away for less than 200. Today again in Galle, won the toss and three down in the first 20 minutes is unforgivable. SL have nearly made 300 on a what really is a 400+ first innings wicket, thanks to Mahela and sloppy fielding but with a weak bowling attack, they started chasing the game in the first 20 minutes.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

welldone mahela..well played..u saved the defeat now..now hv 2 mak de way for de victory..go for 200..score much as possible.. Btw i shld state panesar is de best fielder i had ever seen..

Posted by Selassie-I on (March 26, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

compelling first day, Eng would have been well positioned if we'd held our catches. Interesting now and again nervous with some of our boys as this looks like it'll be a rank turner in a day or so.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

how can someone be stupid like dilshan? come on he's not a international test player,get rid of him,and poor atheton had to bite his words, lol , support for england was amazing to see,

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

Mahela is continuing is Golden run with the bat. He is in sublime touch...

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

Our top order should be more responsibiliry-conscious. And Chandimal has to learn a lot, to become a proper Test Batsman. Pls learn from Mahela. Do not waste your mighty talent.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

Mahela will push on. Then Sanga will make up in the second innings

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

<<<<<<Well Played Mahela>>>>> after 3 Quick wickets you have built the innings nicely..... if we can get around 330-350 that will be a good total in this ground..

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

brilliant knock ! under the circumstances ! way to go maiya !

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

brilliant knock ! under the circumstances ! way to go maiya !

Posted by landl47 on (March 26, 2012, 13:00 GMT)

Mahela's century probably has given Sri Lanka the edge, since this looks to be a pitch that will deteriorate pretty quickly. England needed to keep SL's first innings score to around 250 or so after losing the toss. Great start for England, good to see Samit Patel getting a game and picking up useful wickets, but congratulations to Mahela- 168 out of 289, where would SL have been without him?

Posted by Venki_indian on (March 26, 2012, 12:54 GMT)

Jayawardene's record at GAlle 43 65 6 4797 374 81.30 8825 54.35 17 17 1 554 28

Posted by AadeeSL on (March 26, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

What a knock!!!!!!!!Mahela,You beauty!!!!!!

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

game is still on but the matches in lanka will be not that much low scoring as were in UAE . Masterful innings from jayawardene but still they need to reach atleast 350 to have a go against Eng . On the other hand Eng will be very relieved when they will bat as bowling attack in UAE and Lanka has huge difference . Hope for the good contest as in lanka chasing anything above 150 in fourth innings will be tricky.

Posted by rockyyy on (March 26, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

if lanka goes upto 350, england is in danger of herath

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 26, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

Even without the let-offs for Jayawardene, SL came back well after a terrible start. That was a fine innings by MJ but England would have been batting by the end of the day if they could have held those catches. Anderson should have taken the first one but it is hard to judge perspective when it comes straight at you like that, especially in a bowler's follow through. Monty's first drop could possibly be excused due to the sun being directly in his eyes but the last one was a real botch-up. There's every chance that SOMEONE will be along to tell us how bad Swann was today but he actually bowled relatively well without luck. There were at least two LBWs that would have been umpire's call if given and reviewed and there were at least four occasions when he got the batsman to pop one in the air but they just didn't quite go to the fielders. England need to bowl with renewed vigour in the morning, finish the innings off quickly and then bat nothing like they did in UAE. Simple!

Posted by DJ_Priyank on (March 26, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

(From India) Wow ! What a fighting knock from Mahela. When I saw SL opening pair on the ground I thought it was going to be yet another pathetic run feast on dead flat track. But Boy, Credit goes to English pace men for PWNING SL batsmen. But Mahela saved the Lankan faces ! With some quality spin bowlers in Lankan lineup and England having to bat in 4 th innings, the match is quite balanced !

Posted by Mathu. on (March 26, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

Whether they had time or not most of the time they are not prepared when they r' in the middle.. :-) hardly you can see 3-4 batsman perform well in one single match. I can see them as lack of concentration, poor shot selection, under estimating opponents talents. I strongly believe that SL players have to change their laid back attitude and improve to feel more about the game. Best wishes for SL team!

Posted by satish619chandar on (March 26, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

The runout of Samaraweera is almost same like Mankading with it happening after delivering ball and it happens without knowledge of anyone.. I think it should be referred to third umpire.. Unless it is intentional by bowler, the batsman should get one warning.. How unfortunate a batsman can be to get out in this way.. Plus he never had any intention to run single also.. ICC really need to rethink and introduce a new rule for this kinds of unlucky/unfortunate mode of dismissals.. Spirit of cricket??

Posted by anuradha_d on (March 26, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

Lanka nearing 300 at the close of D1.........they turned it into their day inspite of good bolwing from anderson......horrible luck of two runs outs in a test match inning........and with good assitance from Monty's two dropped catched at the end those thoug would not have prevented a 250- total neverthless.....whihc in itsefl might be sufficient on a pitch like this,

Eng missing one strike bowler...they should have played Finn....who with his 95mph pace has troubled everyone in the subcontinent including the Indians, in UAE and now the Lankans in practsie games.....agenda of forcibly including Swann in the side will hurt England...and Swann was the most listless of all bowlers on display going for 90 odd at 4RPO on a pitch like that.......playing Swann is the decision that Eng will rue.....just like they played him ahead of inform Monty in T1 against pak......and never recovered thereafter

Posted by Venki_indian on (March 26, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

how many drops does jayawardene need to score those runs?

Posted by Mervo on (March 26, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

One has to feel for SL. Their bowlers have Test averages in the high 30s and even 40s. They have no chance of bowling good sides out. Their batting will improve but the bowling is a mess.

Posted by Venki_indian on (March 26, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

Looks like Jayawardene cannot play outside Galle :)

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (March 26, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

BRILLIANT & DOMINANT INNINGS FROM MAHELA . REMINDS ME OF THE GALLE 2008 TEST WHERE SEHWAG MADE 201 OUT OF INDIA 'S FIRST INNINGS TOTAL OF 329 .

Posted by Venki_indian on (March 26, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

Jayawardene's stats are fun to watch...17 hundreds out of 30 scored at Galle..almost most half of the runs socred at the sam venue...He is a one ground wonder LOL

Posted by Mervo on (March 26, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

The "Rest of the World" team versus Sri Lanka. SL will struggle without Matthews. he is such a rock for them.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

srilanka plssss dont lose this one! england wud then say they won in subcontinent conditions :P

Posted by 5wombats on (March 26, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

7/218 - we've let Sri lanka off the hook here. Same as V Pakistan. Get a team on the ropes at 3/15 - don't expect to see them go on to cross 200. This was the problem in UAE. Although England bowled well - Englands batting was so pathetic that Pakistan's scores were high enough to win the matches. This pitch is not going to improve either. This is going to be difficult now for England.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (March 26, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

had to feel for sl players . they are playing nonstop cricket for some months . while england team is fresh & fully fit .

Posted by newaku on (March 26, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

SL will strugle...........................

Posted by 5wombats on (March 26, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Well, we were right about our team selection. Pity we didin't win the toss! It was fairly predictable that a turner would be produced - afterall - it is Sri Lankas best chance to beat England. It's going to be difficult for England, especially now that they have wasted their reviews.

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Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (PSS) - Apr 3-7, 2012
England won by 8 wickets
Sri Lanka v England at Galle - Mar 26-29, 2012
Sri Lanka won by 75 runs
SLC Dev XI v England XI at Colombo (SSC) - Mar 20-22, 2012
England XI won by 4 wickets
SL Board XI v England XI at Colombo (RPS) - Mar 15-17, 2012
England XI won by an innings and 15 runs
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