England lose their captain second ball after frenetic afternoon session
Tea: Second Test, day four, Lord’s
Match score: England 18-1 (Cook 11*, Trott 5*) and 486 (Cook 96, Bell 52, Morgan 79, Prior 126, Broad 54; Welegedara 4-122) lead Sri Lanka 479 (Paranavitana 65, Dilshan 193; Finn 4-108) by 25 runs Full scorecard
Session score: Sri Lanka 107-7, England 18-1 Draw
Despite the extortionate ticket prices at Lord’s these days and despite the insinuation that England’s current opposition are just a warm-up act, never let it be said that Sri Lanka don’t offer great value for money.
After yesterday’s rain and another lost session this morning, prospects of a positive result were receding faster than an MCC member’s hair-line.
Somehow the game needed to be sped up. Cue Sri Lanka’s lower and middle order who took it upon themselves to throw the bat and very entertaining it was too.
In helpful conditions, the England bowlers’ radar was still malfunctioning. For every full, swinging ball there was one designed to test both Matt Prior’s athleticism and his patience.
Poor Prior gave up 25 byes and the total of 58 extras equalled the highest conceded in a Sri Lankan innings.
Prasanna Jayawardene, the wicket-keeper who made a century at Cardiff, showed again that he is not flattering himself at No.6 and Rangana Herath, with 26 off 33 balls, had a bit more success sweeping Graeme Swann than he did at Cardiff where his wild swish was the blackest or black marks in the 82 all out debacle.
Steven Finn, whose nack of picking up wickets without bowling with any sort of consistency continues, went after the No.11 Suranga Lakmal, hitting him on the helmet and the hand.
That Sri Lanka conceded a lead seemed irrelevant. It’s all about time on the clock. And it seemed even less relevant when Chanaka Welegedara nipped one back down the slope and hit Andrew Strauss on the back pad. Strauss’ referral was desperate, a captain’s prerogative if ever there was. There might be life in this game yet and after Cardiff all bets are off.
John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John