Sri Lanka collapse for 82 in astonishing fashion to give England innings victory
Close: First Test, day five, Cardiff
Match score: England 496-5 dec. (Bell 103*, Morgan 14*; Cook 133, Trott 203) beat Sri Lanka 400 (Paranavitana 66, Dilshan 50, P Jayawardene 112) and 82 (Tremlett 4-40, Swann 4-16) by an innings and 14 runs Full scorecard
Session score: Sri Lanka 49-8 England win
England, with only three fit bowlers, achieved one of the most astonishing Test victories by dismissing Sri Lanka for 82 in less than 25 overs and under two hours.
Chris Tremlett’s fiery spell before tea had put Sri Lanka under pressure on 33 for 2, still 63 behind England, but thoughts of a victory at that stage were still fanciful.
But after the interval Sri Lanka simply collapsed in abject fashion, losing eight wickets for 49 in 12 overs.
Tremlett, who took the first three wickets to fall and four in all, and Stuart Broad bowled fast and furiously even on a placid pitch while Graeme Swann took the key wicket of Kumar Sangakkara and also finished with four.
The astonishing finish brought to mind the nail-biting close to Cardiff’s one previous Test in 2009 when Monty Panesar and James Anderson held on for a draw against Australia.
The shame was that there were only a few hundred people in the ground to witness the amazing scenes. Ticket sales have been poor throughout the match and the appalling weather has not enticed a walk-up crowd. Those who were here will never forget it.
John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John