Dilshan century inspires Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan led an impressive response to England’s imposing 486 all out with a swift hundred on day two of the second npower Test at Lord’s.
Dilshan, whose side were skittled for 82 on Monday in an innings-and-14-run defeat at Cardiff, dominated an opening stand of 207 with Tharanaga Paranavitana – the highest first-wicket alliance in Tests between the sides.
Dilshan closed on 127 from 166 balls, including 12 fours and two sixes, in a total of 231 for one as the tourists dispelled fears they had been scarred by Monday’s implosion.
Paranavitana struck 10 fours in a patient 65, having been reprieved on 13 by Alastair Cook’s spill at third slip.
On another warm day, England’s lofty pace trio, missing the injured James Anderson, lacked the consistency that has been a feature of three straight innings-victories.
Matt Prior earlier raced to his fifth Test century to ensure another commanding total for Andrew Strauss’ side.
Prior, who began the day on 73, eventually fell for 126 from 131 balls featuring 19 fours - five short of his best score, but a second hundred in as many Test innings following 118 at Sydney.
With the hosts resuming on 342 for six, Prior rode his luck in reaching three figures. He was ably supported by Stuart Broad, who converted his overnight 17 to a lusty 54 from 51 deliveries, including nine fours.
Prior and Broad, who added 40 yesterday, shared the third hundred partnership of the innings, a remarkable achievement considering England were 22 for three a little more than 24 hours earlier.
Broad brought up the 350 in the day’s first over with two fours off Chanaka Welegedara, and pulled Suranga Lakmal for consecutive boundaries.
Prior’s fortune began when he edged back-to-back Lakmal deliveries for four, first between the wicketkeeper and slip and then slip and gully.
He was dropped on 94 by Mahela Jayawardene at slip off Welegedara. Broad rubbed salt in the wound by driving the next two balls for four, going to 50 from 47 deliveries.
Prior again edged Lakmal through the slips to register 99, the 400 and the century partnership. A single next delivery took him to three figures.
Broad was plumb in front to Welegedara and Graeme Swann, who drove his first ball for four, edged to Paranavitana at first slip later in the over.
A period of relative calm followed until Chris Tremlett got in on the act with driven fours off Welegedara and Lakmal.
Prior smashed Welegedara through midwicket but perished attempting a similar shot off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who clipped the right-hander’s off-stump.
Herath lost Sri Lanka’s last review with an lbw appeal against Steven Finn as England’s last pair kept up the momentum, Finn taking Dilhara Fernando for three fours and lifting Herath down the ground for another.
Herath exacted revenge by bowling Finn for a Test-best 19 a few minutes before the scheduled lunch break, leaving Tremlett unbeaten on 24. Welegedara finished with four wickets and Lakmal three.
Tremlett and Broad put Sri Lanka’s openers under pressure with the new ball, but Dilshan and Paranavitana somehow survived.
Dilshan attacked from the off and, having regularly played and missed, connected with a pulled six immediately after a driven four off Tremlett.
Paranavitana survived as Cook put down a straightforward chance off Finn. England’s frustration grew when Broad’s bouncer went for four byes to herald Sri Lanka’s 50.
Dilshan also went after Swann. Ian Bell, at short-leg, bore the brunt of a full-blooded sweep and he was forced off for treatment before returning to the field later in the day.
The batsmen looked increasingly comfortable and Dilshan brought up his half-century from 58 balls with a single off Swann. Finn’s leg-side wide took the tourists to three figures on the brink of tea.
After the interval, Dilshan lifted Swann for six over long-on and smote him for four through midwicket.
Having narrowly avoided being run out on 48, Paranavitana struck Broad for four through backward point next ball. Dilshan emulated that shot off Finn to go to his 12th Test ton in style.
Paranavitana clipped the same bowler to the square-leg boundary to ease Sri Lanka to 200, but in Finn’s next over edged to Strauss at first slip.
Kumar Sangakkara caressed his first ball for four through midwicket and consolidated to end on 13.