Sri Lanka build substantial first innings and pinch vital late wicket
Close: First Test, day two, Cardiff
Match score: England 47-1 trail Sri Lanka 400 (Paranavitana 66, Dilshan 50, P Jayawardene 112) by 353 runs Full scorecard
Session score: England 47-1; Sri Lanka 84-4 Sri Lanka win
The sun shone on Cardiff but not on England who suffered a day of frustration against a spirited, stubborn Sri Lankan batting line-up and then lost Andrew Strauss minutes before stumps.
But potentially the worst aspect of the day for England was James Anderson’s departure from the field after bowling one over of the evening session and news of a precautionary scan on a back and side problem.
The injury did not prevent Anderson emerging as nightwatchman at the scene of his Test-saving heroics of two years ago.
England’s openers had looked comfortable against an apparently toothless Sri Lanka attack until Andrew Strauss edged Suranga Lakmal to second slip. It was a shocking dismissal in the sense that it was not a devilish delivery.
It was Mahela Jayawardene’s birthday but his less heralded namesake, Prasanna, who held Sri Lanka’s innings together from No.6 with his third Test century in his first Test innings on British soil. This was only the second time Jayawardene had batted at six in his Test career and one suspected it would be a place too high.
But he looked very much at ease, pulling and steering with great assurance. His stand of 68 in 13.3 overs, with Thisara Perera, that straddled the tea interval was the key period of an innings that, much to England’s annoyance, refused to capitulate.
Shot of the day: Jayawardene played superbly but the gong goes to the left-handed Thisara Perera for his delicate straight drive off Graeme Swann.
Fielder of the day: England were not hugely impressive in the field but Broad’s diving catch at mid-on to complete the Sri Lanka innings was a triumph of athleticism for a big man who, despite taking is 100th Test wicket, had a mostly frustrating day.
Ball of the day: Anderson squaring up Thilan Samaraweera to induce an edge to Graeme Swann at second slip.
Strop of the day: Swann gave KP a Reservoir Dogs look from behind his shades when Pietersen dived over one at deep mid-on. But this was one of those days when Stuart Broad looked like a river about to burst its banks. When the ball went through third man he gestured imperiously to the (Test) captain to change the field. When Alastair Cook did a poor impression of Paul Collingwood (RIP) at third slip by grassing a tough chance, Broad bent over, hands on knees while the fielder (one-day skipper) looked apologetically at his T20 counterpart.
Stat of the day: Sri Lanka’s total of 400 was their highest in England outside London.
Commentary banter of the day: Boycott: “Some of the rubbish bowled by Trott … you could have hit those with a cricket stump.” Agnew: “Well, you could Geoffrey.”
Quote of the day: “The number of runs that went through third man was pretty frightening. It’s something we might have to look at for the rest of the series.” Stuart Broad gets in some early captaincy practice.
John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John