Sri Lanka off to solid start

2011-05-26 21:20

Cardiff - Sri Lanka reached 133-2 at stumps against England on a rain-affected day one of the first test at Sophia Gardens on Thursday.

Defying blustery conditions, Tharanga Paranavitana was unbeaten on 58 (154 balls, six fours) and Tillakaratne Dilshan made 50 (94 balls, seven fours).

Their opening stand of 93 was a record for Sri Lanka in England, but late wickets for Graeme Swann (1-12) and James Anderson (1-42) brought the host back into the contest, the latter removing Kumar Sangakkara after a referral.

The morning session and much of the afternoon was wiped out by rain, with play eventually getting underway at 3:30 p.m. (1430 GMT).

England left out bowler Steven Finn from their 12-man squad and made two changes to the side which won their last Test in Australia in January.

As expected, Stuart Broad returned to replace the injured Tim Bresnan while Eoin Morgan came in for the retired Paul Collingwood.

Sri Lanka's Dilhara Fernando failed to recover from a knee injury and was replaced by Farveez Maharoof for the visitors, who also handed a Test debut to Thisara Perera.

Paranavitana and Dilshan weren't entirely comfortable in the 16 overs they faced before tea, but although there was plenty of lateral movement for England's bowlers, the closest they came to a wicket was when Paranavitana nearly played on to Chris Tremlett.

Andrew Strauss's side continued to toil for more than an hour into the evening session before Swann broke through.

Dilshan, whose innings moved him past 4 000 runs in Test matches, reached his 50 at the start of the 33rd over, but three balls later he was bowled, chopping the ball on to the stumps.

Sangakkara (11) looked equally at ease when he came to the crease, only to be given out by the third umpire.

England reviewed a decision after Sangakkara was given not out caught behind to Anderson.

Television replays seemed inconclusive but the hotspot camera showed a faint nick from the side.

That was enough to convince third umpire Rod Tucker to overturn the decision - a move later vindicated by the snickometer.

Paranavitana reached his 50 from 145 balls and survived with Mahela Jayawardene (4 not out) to the close.

The crowd for the first Test of the English summer was disappointing however. Although 9 000 tickets were sold, only 6 000 fans watched the afternoon's play.


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