England Produce Remarkable Test Win In Cardiff
England 496-5 dec. (Trott 203, Cook 133, Bell 103no) beat
Sri Lanka 400 & 82 (Swann 4-16) by an innings & 14 runs
First Test, Cardiff
England overcame the loss of strike bowler James Anderson to bowl themselves to a remarkable innings-and-14-run victory over Sri Lanka in the opening Test in Cardiff.
Following another day that was severely delayed by rain, the match appeared to be set for a draw despite England declaring their second innings on 496 for five, but the game took a final dramatic twist in the afternoon when Sri Lanka were then bundled out for just 82.
They lasted a mere 24.4 overs - all bowled by England's remaining specialist bowlers Chris Tremlett (4-40), Graeme Swann (4-16) and Stuart Broad (2-21).
The rout began when Tharanga Paranavitana, so impressive in making 66 in the first innings, fell for a ten-ball duck when Tremlett had him caught by Andrew Strauss.
Tremlett struck again to remove captain and opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, caught and bowled for ten before Kumar Sangakkara (14) and Mahela Jayawardene (15) appeared to be guiding their side towards safety either side of tea.
England's chances of victory opened up when Swann dismissed Sangakkara and Tremlett took his third wicket when Jayawardene was another to be caught by Strauss.
Thilan Samaraweera was then bowled by Swann for nought, first-innings centurion Prasanna Jayawardene was caught behind as Tremlett grabbed his fourth wicket for three and Farveez Maharoof failed to score before edging Swann to Matthew Prior.
Rangana Herath (3) was subsequently trapped in front by Swann before Tissara Perera hit 20 in 17 balls and Ajantha Mendis 12 as they briefly brought the possibility of a draw back into focus.
It was not to be as Sri Lanka lost their final two wickets with the score on 82 when Broad finished things off by having Perera caught by Ian Bell and Suranga Lakmal caught by Cook.
Such a captivating finale would have been predicted by hardly anyone when play finally got underway and after Bell had reached his century, England batted on for two more overs before finally declaring.
It appeared to be a token gesture, given their lack of bowling resources and the time that had been lost to the weather. As it turned out, it gave them ample time to move into a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
© Cricket World 2011