Thursday 20 December 2007 

Jayawardene And Vaas Leave England Reeling

Sri Lanka 499-8 declared (M Jayawardene 213no, Vaas 90) v
England 81 (Vaas 4-28) & 2-0 in Galle

Sri Lanka lead the three-match series 1-0

Mahela Jayawardene and Chaminda Vaas starred with bat and ball to leave England in a desperate position on day three of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, with England bowled out for a shambolic 81 in reply to a huge 499 for eight declared by the hosts.

Following on, England had to face Muttiah Muralitharan opening the bowling for one over before bad light ended proceedings.

Mahela Jayawardene made up for his narrow miss in Colombo by ending unbeaten on 213, while Chaminda Vaas finished with 90 before taking four for 28 as England lost their way when it came to their turn to bat.

Jayawardene's sublime innings included 25 fours, as he and Vaas extended the record seventh-wicket partnership for Sri Lanka against England to some 183 runs.

In marked contrast Michael Vaughan, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Ravi Bopara and Matt Prior all departed for single figure scores while Alastair Cook made 13.

Vaughan (one) left a straightening delivery from Vaas and was trapped in front, Bell (one) was run out, Cook thinly edged Vaas behind while Pietersen (one) was undone by a vicious delivery from Lasith Malinga that he could only glove behind for Prasanna Jayawardene's second catch of the innings.

That left England on 24 for four at lunch; after the interval Matt Prior (four) was bowled by Vaas while Ravi Bopara (nought) chipped him to midwicket where Chanaka Welegedara took a simple catch.

Paul Collingwood battled hard alongside Ryan Sidebottom when heavy rain forced the players from the field of play. The two and a half hour delay would have been more welcome in the England dressing room, but a fine effort from the ground staff saw play resuming after tea.

It was only a matter of time before Muralitharan got his name on the scorecard, having Sidebottom caught by Dilshan at bat-pad for a typically doughty 11. Two balls later, Collingwood became Welegedara's first Test wicket when he was bowled for 29, before Matthew Hoggard edged Jayawardene to slip without scoring.

England's innings ended in aptly farcical circumstances, Monty Panesar ridiculously run out leaving Steve Harmison unbeaten on nine, and England asked to follow on. They can scarcely do worse than what transpired in just 30.5 overs - by far their lowest score against Sri Lanka, and their lowest in Asia.

Sri Lanka lead the series 1-0; England need to win to avoid a slide down the Test rankings table.

© Cricket World 2007