Dilshan falls for 193 before rain
Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan converted his overnight century into an international-best 193 prior to prolonged showers halting the tourists’ progress towards England’s first-innings total for the day at Lord's.
Dilshan resumed circumspectly this morning on 127 and became more adventurous in reaching 150 for the fourth time in Tests. The right-hander continued unabated against the second new ball and overtook his previous Test pinnacle of 168.
His progress slowed after lunch when Chris Tremlett struck him a painful blow on the right thumb, as he had done just after tea yesterday. Steven Finn then breached Dilshan’s defence, curtailing an innings that occupied 253 balls and contained 20 fours plus two sixes.
A shower soon after, which had threatened since lunch, arrived with Sri Lanka 372 for three in reply to England’s 486 all out.
Tea was taken during an hour-long delay before the players returned for five runless balls. However, the use of floodlights could not prevent them departing again due to bad light and more rain, which ultimately ended today’s proceedings minus more than 50 overs.
Dilshan’s innings was an emphatic response to Sri Lanka’s capitulation to 82 all out on Monday in the innings-and-14-run defeat at Cardiff. He and Tharanga Paranavitana began to right that wrong yesterday with a 207-run opening stand, taking the tourists to 231 for one by stumps.
Today Kumar Sangakkara survived an early half-chance when he gloved Stuart Broad to leg, narrowly avoiding Matt Prior’s outstretched right glove.
Despite the cloud cover, in contrast to sun on the first two days, off-spinner Graeme Swann bowled the seventh over as part of a double change with Finn also introduced.
Sangakkara caressed Finn through the covers for four and Dilshan’s single off Swann brought up the fifty partnership.
Dilshan cut and drove Swann for consecutive fours, and a single later in the over took him to 150.
England replaced the old ball at the earliest opportunity and Tremlett had Sangakkara caught behind four deliveries later after doubling his overnight 13, ending a stand worth 81.
Dilshan carried on regardless, taking Broad for a couple of fours to beat his previous highest - against Bangladesh at Colombo in 2005.
The skipper survived a scare on 173 when he edged Broad aerially for four between a pair of slips and gullies as runs continued to flow.
Mahela Jayawardene punished wayward bowling, which forced Andrew Strauss to rotate the attack, and his fifth four heralded a half-century alliance from only 41 balls.
The afternoon session began a couple of minutes late after the pitch was temporarily covered due to the threat of rain.
England showed greater discipline than before the interval, but Dilshan’s two through the covers off Tremlett overtook Sri Lanka’s previous Test-best at Lord’s: Sidath Wettimuny’s 190 in 1984.
Tremlett then struck Dilshan on the same thumb as yesterday, prompting a short delay while he received treatment. The blow appeared to unsettle Dilshan and Finn soon clipped the top of his off stump, halting an 82-run alliance.
Boosted by the wicket, Finn and Broad found greater control and troubled Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera, who had 40 and one respectively at stumps.