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Herath stars in Sri Lanka win

2012-03-29 11:56

Galle - Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath claimed a match haul of 12 wickets as Sri Lanka condemned top-ranked England to their fourth consecutive Test defeat on Thursday in the series opener.

The 34-year-old grabbed six wickets in each innings as the tourists, chasing a stiff target of 340 runs, were bowled out for 264 soon after tea on the fourth day at the Galle International Stadium to lose by 75 runs.

Off-spinner Suraj Randiv lent admirable support with a match haul of six wickets as Sri Lanka went 1-0 ahead in the short two-match series.

Jonathan Trott kept the tourists afloat with a defiant 112 before the last five wickets fell for just 12 runs in front of 8 000 bitterly disappointed English fans in the southern coastal town.

It was only the second win in 18 Tests for Sri Lanka since the retirement of world bowling record holder Muttiah Muralitharan in 2010. They lost six while the rest were drawn.

Trott, who notched his seventh Test century, hit 10 boundaries in his patient 266-ball knock, but he fell when he flicked at a Randiv delivery and was snapped up by a diving Tillakaratne Dilshan at backward short-leg just before tea.

Trott had a lucky break when Herath failed to take a return catch when the batsman was on 62 in the morning session.

Wicket-keeper Matt Prior helped Trott add 81 for the fifth wicket before he was dismissed by Herath for 41 as Lahiru Thirimanne clung on to a full-blooded sweep at forward short-leg.

Debutant Samit Patel made nine before his uppish drive off Herath was caught by Dilshan at short cover.

Tailenders Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar fell in the space of five runs to hand Sri Lanka victory with a day to spare.

England, who will slip to number two behind South Africa if they lose the series, lost Kevin Pietersen in the day's third over after just seven runs had been added to the overnight score of 111/2.

Pietersen, on 30, attempted to on-drive spinner Randiv and only managed to spoon an easy catch to Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene at short mid-wicket.

The sloppy dismissal ended a valuable 70-run partnership for the third wicket with Trott after England had been reduced to 48-2 late on Wednesday afternoon.

Accurate Sri Lanka bowling tied down the tourists to just 34 runs from 15 overs in the first hour of play, 22 of them coming from the bat of Trott.

Bell, who top-scored with 52 in the first innings, missed a sweep shot off Herath and was given out leg-before by umpire Rod Tucker.

Bell immediately asked for a review, but he did not earn a reprieve from TV umpire Bruce Oxenford and England slipped to 152/4.

England played positively after lunch, scoring 51 runs from 15 overs as Sri Lanka handed Herath the new ball that was claimed as soon as it was due in the 81st over.

The second and final Test will be played at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo from April 3.

AFP

Comments
  • Bob - 2012-03-29 13:40

    Some bowler Herath, seems like it was a real spinners wicket with Swann and Herath having a field day.

  • Gunner - 2012-03-29 13:45

    Well done to Sri Lanka...4 straight losses for England... soon to be the former no 1 test ranked team

      Bob - 2012-03-29 14:26

      They need an easy test series against a far below par NZ side to get their confidence back, playing against the Paki's and Sri lanka on dusty turning tracks is a little harder.

  • Deon - 2012-03-29 14:51

    The only plus for England is that they now have the highest 4th innings total in Galle and Trotts innings.

  • Doug - 2012-03-29 15:34

    Being a two match series, effectively puts England down 2 points (at least), which means that as of 1st April they should share top spot with SA when the ICC hand out the bonus for the top test team........and SA won't have to wait until July to knock them off their undeserved perch

      Bob - 2012-03-29 16:36

      I guess the ICC ranking system will be the perfect system if the Proteas get to No1 but at the moment it's flawed because England are No1, typical bad sportsmanship.

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