Dernbach decimates Sri Lanka
Jade Dernbach returned excellent figures of 5-44 as England Lions dismissed Sri Lanka for 266 to gain a first-innings lead of 227 on the second day of their match at Derby.
Dernbach was the pick of the home attack as they pressed home their advantage, despite interruptions for bad light and rain, after declaring on 493 for eight this morning.
Eoin Morgan and Samit Patel took their scores on to 193 and 119 respectively and Sri Lanka then collapsed from 59 without loss to 97 for six before Suraj Randiv inspired a recovery of sorts with an unbeaten 76.
Graham Onions and Ajmal Shahzad picked up two wickets apiece for the Lions, but they could not match the efforts of Dernbach, who twice struck with consecutive deliveries in an impressive display.
Steven Finn and Onions drew a blank for almost 15 overs with the new ball either side of lunch, until the Durham fast bowler had Tharanga Paranavitana lbw with some full length-swing.
Onions would also have had Tillakaratne Dilshan for eight had Patel held a routine catch before lunch. Instead, he had to be patient through a half-century opening stand before he got his first reward.
Finn’s spell was principally notable for words exchanged with Dilshan in an over which saw the Sri Lanka captain pull two fours and steer another wide of the slips.
But a double change and the arrival of mediocre light under heavy cloud cover saw Shahzad strike in his first over, Dilshan edging an attempted drive to slip, and then Dernbach in his second when Mahela Jayawardene failed to get his bat out of the way and edged to Patel in the cordon.
Kumar Sangakkara fell to a very good catch down the leg-side by wicketkeeper Jonathan Bairstow off his fellow Yorkshireman Shahzad.
Sri Lanka’s best batsmen were therefore all back in the pavilion in a rush, but Dernbach still had power to add, finding extra bounce to have Dinesh Chandimal well-caught high at second slip and then Prasanna Jayawardene edging to first for a golden duck.
Dernbach had to wait till his next over for his hat-trick ball and did not let himself down, testing Thilan Samaraweera with a quick yorker which the batsman did well to dig out.
England’s progress stalled significantly thereafter, though, as Samaraweera and then Randiv and Thisara Perera posted successive half-century stands which more than doubled the score.
The returning Onions did finally have Samaraweera edging a drive behind. But otherwise the Lions were tamed as Randiv reached a 91-ball 50 and Perera put bat to ball until he holed out attempting another big hit to reach his half-century, from Patel’s first delivery.
Then in the final over of the day, Dernbach took two in two again - bowling tailenders Dilhara Fernando and Nuwan Pradeep.
Morgan and Patel had earlier taken their partnership, already a ground record for the fifth wicket last night, to 266 until the latter was bowled on the back foot by Dilhara Fernando.
Morgan was set on his way again first thing by two full-tosses and a half-volley in the first over of the morning from Perera, all dispatched for boundaries.
Patel departed with 18 fours to his name from 156 balls, and Morgan was joined briefly by Bairstow until the latter chipped a straightforward catch off Perera to mid-on - where Fernando juggled four times but eventually held on.
After Perera then made Morgan his third and final wicket - lbw pushing forward, having hit 30 fours and five sixes from 226 balls - the declaration was looming.
But there was time first for Shahzad to club a quick, unbeaten 20 before he and his fellow pace hopefuls set out to impress Test selectors gathered on site for their final deliberations ahead of next Thursday’s first Test in Cardiff.