Sangakarra and Samaraweera restore Sri Lankan pride
Tea: third Test, Rose Bowl, day five
Match score: Sri Lanka 334-5 (Samaraweera 86*, P Jayawardene 6*, Sangakkara 119) and 184 all out (P Jayawardene 43; Tremlett 6-48) lead England 377-8 dec (Bell 119, Morgan 71, Pietersen 85, Cook 55) by 141 runs Full Scorecard
Session score: Sri Lanka 108-1 Sri Lanka win
There might not have been a better place to take a siesta as the Rose Bowl this afternoon. After the drama that’s gone before, we were unmistakably at one of those scenarios on the fifth day of a Test when everything says draw, and the cricket in the middle seems more like a net session. When Kumar Sangakkara drove a friendly ball from James Anderson to gully – only the second wicket to fall today – Andrew Strauss decided to bring on Jonathan Trott.
At one point in the afternoon a lady in the sparse crowd had an idea to get a Mexican wave going. So she coerced a few nearby spectators. The only problem: one of them needed the toilet. “It’s ok,” said the lady, “we can wait for him.” It’s that sort of afternoon.
Not to undermine Sangakkara. Out of form, thrusted with the captaincy he had just given up, and faced with a no-win situation when he came in to bat in the second innings, Sangakkara played a wonderful innings, the merit of which was that fine resistance when England were throwing everything at him yesterday evening.
The new ball was taken when available an over after lunch, but ultimately it brought runs not wickets. Sangakkara did not score in 18 balls he faced after lunch and when he did it was off an edge flying over Andrew Strauss at slip. But thereafter it seemed easy. This being almost certainly his last tour of England, Sangakkara has signed off with style, tenacity and a hundred.
Thilan Samaraweera – another to have struggled in English conditions – also played fluently, driving and cutting to his liking.
The pitch is less the trampoline that it had been in the previous four days and the England bowlers seem to have used up all the fire in that long session yesterday afternoon. All that, and Sri Lanka’s excellent rearguard, has made for sleepy time.
And there we were thinking only rain could deny England victory. Now the rain has come. Good night.
Benj Moorehead is staff writer for The Cricketer