Eng v SL live: England frustrated and flat, Rose Bowl, day five, lunch

Sangakkara digs in, England look spent, forecast not good

Lunch: third Test, Rose Bowl, day five
Match score: Sri Lanka 226-4 (Sangakkara 89*) and 184 all out (P Jayawardene 43; Tremlett 6-48) lead England 377-8 dec (Bell 119, Morgan 71, Pietersen 85, Cook 55) by 33 runs Full Scorecard
Session score: Sri Lanka 113-1 Sri Lanka win

Were there really 15,000 people baying at the groundstaff to get the covers off on Saturday? The Rose Bowl is a ghost bowl today. The sting of England’s bowling attack seems to have been drawn as well. You would expect the overcast conditions to suit the trio of Chris Tremlett, James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Yet we’ve had a bit of Jonathan Trott, and the one wicket to fall went to Graeme Swann.

That was Rangana Herath, sweeping air and adjudged lbw. But by then he had become the second nightwatchman in this match to have enjoyed the morning after. He might have been caught at short leg in the fourth over of the day, had Andrew Strauss posted one for Anderson. Or had Swann not distracted Strauss in the slips when an edge off Anderson came flying the way of the England captain.

Otherwise, though, Herath looked untroubled until his misjudgment. It wasn’t just blocking either; Broad was punched through midwicket, and Trott was punished similarly. Thilan Samaraweera has played with comfort since and Kumar Sangakkara has delighted us with drives back past the bowler and through cover (is there a more aesthetic batsman in the game?).

The old ball has not swung too much, and another dose of the heavy roller has toned down the pitch, but in truth England’s bowling has lacked the oomph of yesterday afternoon. Anderson and Swann have tried both ends but with little change of fortune. Perhaps it’s the soporific air at the ground today, or that Monday feeling. The mood is certainly a world away from yesterday’s evening session, when England were charging.

But with rain forecast for the afternoon, the bowlers will have to rev up quickly if they are to win this Test match.

Benj Moorehead is staff writer for The Cricketer

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