SL remove Cook to leave England in trouble

2016-06-09 16:57
Alastair Cook (Getty)

London - Nuwan Pradeep captured the prize wicket of England captain Alastair Cook as Sri Lanka reduced the hosts to 165 for five at tea on the first day of the third Test at Lord's on Thursday.

Left-handed opener Cook was closing in on his 29th Test century when he played round his front pad to the paceman, bowling from around the wicket, and was was plumb lbw for 85.

Cook's exit ended a 173-ball innings including nine fours.

It also halted a fifth-wicket stand of 80 with Jonny Bairstow, 44 not out at tea, that had helped England recover from 84 for four.

Cook's wicket was no more than Pradeep deserved after having Bairstow dropped when on 11.

Moeen Ali, fresh from his Test-best 155 not out in the second Test at the Riverside, was one not out.

England had already won this three-match series at 2-0 up.

But Cook insisted in the build-up to this match that England were determined to correct their habit of losing 'dead' Tests in series they'd already won following heavy defeats at the end of victorious campaigns at home to Australia in 2015 and away to South Africa earlier this year.

Fielding an unchanged side, England made a serene start after Cook won the toss in ideal sunny batting conditions on a placid Lord's pitch, albeit one offering a touch of seam movement.

Sri Lanka made little impression as Cook, presented with a commemorative bat before play to mark his achievement in becoming the first England batsman to score 10,000 Test runs, a landmark he reached at the Riverside, and Alex Hales compiled a fifty stand in 74 balls.

But Rangana Herath succeeded where the pacemen had failed when, with just his fourth ball, the left-arm spinner had Hales (18), slogging across the line of a ball that turned, caught by Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews at slip.

By his own admission, Nick Compton was playing for his Test place.

But England's number three, on his Middlesex home ground, fell when he was caught behind after failing to get to the pitch of a gentle Suranga Lakmal away-swinger.

Lakmal then made it two wickets for two runs in five balls when he had Joe Root (three) lbw, hitting across the line, although Sri Lanka needed to review Australian umpire Rod Tucker's original not out decision.

At lunch, England were 71 for three.

Cook was 48 not out, with James Vince unbeaten on three.

Vince has yet to make a major score in his three-Test career and he fell for 10 on Thursday when Pradeep bowled him with a delivery that trimmed the top of off stump.

England were now 84 for four -- the fifth time in their last seven Test innings they had lost four wickets before reaching 100.

Bairstow revived England from the depths of 83 for five in the first Test with a superb 140 on his Headingley home ground in a match that England eventually won by an innings and 88 runs.

The Yorkshireman should have been out cheaply Thursday when he clipped Pradeep firmly off his pads straight to mid-wicket.

But Shaminda Eranga -- included despite being reported for a suspect action at the Riverside -- dropped the catch and the quick-scoring Bairstow cashed in with a boundary next ball.

Read more on:    sri lanka  |  england  |  alastair cook  |  cricket


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