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Maharoof admits Sri Lanka struggles

Investec Test Series

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Alastair Cook & Farveez Maharoof

Farveez Maharoof, who dismissed Alastair Cook for 133 as England amassed 491 for five today, said: "Credit to the English batsmen; they batted really well."

Farveez Maharoof was left to reflect on a "tough day at the office" as Sri Lanka again toiled in the field in the first npower Test at Cardiff.

Jonathan Trott led the way for England with a superb 203, the highest Test score by an England player against Sri Lanka, with Alastair Cook and Ian Bell contributing 133 and 98 not out respectively as the home side reached 491 for five in their first innings - a lead of 91 - by stumps on day four.

The tourists have gained little reward from the 153 overs sent down over the past two days and, while he was quick to praise the performance of the England batsmen, Maharoof believes he and his team-mates needed to keep things a bit tighter.

The 26-year-old all-rounder said: "It was a tough day at the office, but credit to the English batsmen; they batted really well.

"I am coming back into the side after a three-and-a-half year period and it was tough, but that is what Test cricket is all about.

"To be honest Trott batted really well, but we could have bowled much better to him.

"We could have been more consistent with our line and length, but you should not take anything away from his innings; he batted really well."

Maharoof, recalled to the Test side this week after his impressive recent form for Lancashire, had got rid of Cook, who edged a cut behind, not long after play began at 2.30pm following more rain in the Welsh capital.

Soon after, Rangana Herath trapped Kevin Pietersen in front for three - the 19th time in Tests he has fallen to a left-arm spinner.

Rangana Herath & Sri Lanka

Maharoof says Kevin Pietersen's fall to Rangana Herath, centre, was a consequence of pressure built rather than Herath being a left-arm spinner

While Maharoof admitted Sri Lanka had discussed that record, the seamer believes it was the tactic of denying Pietersen easy scoring opportunities that ultimately paid dividends.

"It's normal with any batsman on a pitch where bowlers don't get much help that you want to keep the run scoring dry," he said. "That's what we did with him, we tried to stop him getting easy runs and he got out so it worked very well.

"It (left-arm spin) is something we talked about. Herath had bowled a massive spell of about 20 overs or something like that and he bowled very well.

"Most of our bowlers bowled very well and the only thing to work on is to be more consistent in the coming days."

The prospects of there being a result in Cardiff appear slim with three of the four days being blighted by rain.

More rain is forecast tomorrow and the docile nature of the pitch would suggest that Sri Lanka will have little difficulty in securing a draw should they be asked to bat again, particularly as England will be down to three frontline bowlers due to James Anderson's side strain.

Maharoof believes there is little that either side can take from this game ahead of next week's second Test at Lord's.

"A lot of time has been lost in this Test, there are two innings not completed, so you can't take much out of this Test because more than 100 overs have been lost," he added.

"As a team we batted really well to get 400 on that wicket in the first couple of days. We just need to be more disciplined and bowl in the right areas."

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