Cook And Strauss Put England In Strong Position
Sri Lanka 275 (M Jayawardene 105, Swann 4-75) v
England 154-1 (Cook 77no, Strauss 61)
Second Test, Colombo, day two
England enjoyed arguably their best day of their winter as they closed day two of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka in a strong position.
After dismissing the hosts for 275 early in the day, they closed on an imposing 154 for one after both openers - Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss - hit half-centuries.
It was a welcome return to form for the England captain, who has been under pressure in some quarters, and he made 61 in 126 balls.
Cook was unbeaten on 77 in 227 deliveries, playing with great discipline and resolution after Graeme Swann's haul of four for 75 had made short work of Sri Lanka's lower order.
Resuming on 238 for six, Sri Lanka first lost Suraj Randiv when he was caught by Kevin Pietersen off Swann for 12 and the key wicket of Angelo Mathews (57) fell next.
He was caught by Strauss as Swann struck again. Rangana Herath stuck around to make two in 19 balls and Dhammika Prasad was unbeaten on 12 while Suranga Lakmal failed to score.
Herath was caught by Matthew Prior off Tim Bresnan before Swann wrapped things up by bowling Lakmal.
Out came England with Strauss and Cook in a mood to continue the excellent work of their bowlers and they produced a 122-run partnership for the opening wicket.
Gone were any injudicious and over-ambitious shots against spin as the pair stayed in their crease, thrusting their bats in front of their pads and rotating the strike cleverly.
Strauss finally fell when he attempted to cut Tillakaratne Dilshan only to thinly edge through to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.
Cook was unmoved, however, and he progressed seamlessly to his 28th half-century, adding a few more extravagant shots once past his milestone.
Jonathan Trott was unbeaten at stumps on 15 in 44 balls.
Sri Lanka lead the series 1-0 after a 75-run win in the opening in Galle and had a Mahela Jayawardene innings of 104 on the opening day to thank for their decent first-innings score.
© Cricket World 2012