Root, Ali hold firm

2014-06-24 13:51
Joe Root (Gallo)

Leeds - Joe Root and Moeen Ali prevented England losing further wickets in the second Test against Sri Lanka before rain on Tuesday's final day at Headingley bolstered the hosts' hopes of a draw.

Root (nine not out) and Ali (22 not out) survived more than an hour's play Tuesday to take England to 83 for five - still needing a further 267 runs to reach their victory target of 350 - before rain at 13:11 led to an early lunch on the fifth day.

England resumed on 57 for five, having collapsed in the face of paceman Dhammika Prasad's sensational burst of four wickets for 15 runs on Monday.

Prasad's haul included England's two most experienced batsmen in captain Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, with more than 200 Tests between them, while left-arm spinner Rangana Herath had nightwatchman Liam Plunkett out for a duck off the last ball of the day.

England needed to surpass their 86-year-old highest fourth innings record total to win of 332 for seven against Australia at Melbourne in 1928 if they were to record a sensational victory.

It was all a far cry from when England were 311 for three after tea on the second day of this Test, thanks to Australia-born opener Sam Robson's maiden Test century, and even when they reduced Sri Lanka to 277 for seven on Monday - a lead of just 169.

At that point Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews threw his bat down in frustration after Prasad had been dismissed for a golden duck.

But all-rounder Mathews went on to make a superb Test-best 160, the all-rounder's putting on 149 with the admirable Herath (48).

However, England did not help themselves by being more concerned with trying to get Herath on strike than dismissing Mathews, with pacemen James Anderson and Stuart Broad looking to have run out of steam with Cook, reluctant to use Ali despite the 'part-time' spinner's two wickets in three balls in the first innings, running out of ideas.

Sri Lanka, annoyed by the way in which former coach Paul Farbrace left them to become Peter Moores's England deputy and angered by both accusations of unsporting behaviour for the 'Mankad' run out of Jos Buttler in their one-day series clinching win at Edgbaston and the reporting of limited-overs spinner Sachithra Senanayake, were on the brink of winning their first Test series on English soil of more than one match.

In Auckland last year Matt Prior took England to an unlikely draw by repelling New Zealand for 54 overs.

But England, who had hoped this two-match series would see them recover from their 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia and who were just five balls away from defeating Sri Lanka in the first Test at Lord's before the tourists clung on for a draw, had a minimum of 90 overs, weather permitting to bat on Tuesday.

However, with Root content to defend and left-hander Ali hitting three fours, England avoided fresh embarrassment before the rain fell.

Read more on:    england  |  joe root  |  cricket

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

The Proteas have announced plans to play a four-day Test against Zimbabwe starting on Boxing Day. What do you make of this?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.