Wednesday 5 December 2007 

Muralitharan Triple Strike Bowls Sri Lanka To Victory

Sri Lanka 188 (Sangakkara 92) & 442-8 declared (Sangakkara 152) v
England 281 (Bell 83) & 261 (Bell 74, Prior 63, Vaas 3-56)

Sri Lanka won by 88 runs and lead the three-match series 1-0

Muttiah Muralitharan took three wickets in three overs to derail England and help bowl Sri Lanka to victory by 88 runs in the first Test in Kandy.

Ian Bell and Matt Prior put together a record seventh-wicket partnership of 108 for to frustrate the home side before the record-breaking spinner removed both in consecutive overs before adding the wicket of Ryan Sidebottom in his next.

The game was ended when Lasith Malinga produced a perfect yorker to bowl Matthew Hoggard.

England lost Michael Vaughan to the second ball of the day, as Chaminda Vaas struck a double blow removing the England captain for five and night-watchman James Anderson for 11.

Kevin Pietersen batted positively for 18 before he was unlucky to receive a straight ball that didn't bounce from Dilhara Fernando and he was bowled. Fernando soon picked up Paul Collingwood (16) before Ravi Bopara showed positive intent, hitting seven fours in his 34 before he was given out lbw by Sanath Jayasuriya.

Bell, batting beautifully, finally found solid support in Prior and the pair added 70 in 30 overs, using up crucial overs and eking out the runs. Bell made his second half-century of the match while Prior, under some pressure after a first innings duck, drove his way to his own half-century.

Prior brought up the century partnership with a crisply driven boundary off of Chaminda Vaas. Muralitharan, handed the new ball, bowled Prior for 63 to leave England's tail exposed and Sri Lanka sensing victory. Bell, who had played so well for his 74, then had no answer to a vicious off-break and saw his stumps disturbed seven balls later.

Sidebottom, like Bopara, was unlucky to be given out as a deflection onto his pad off his bat was not spotted by umpire Asad Rauf, who gave him out leg before for one.

England were set 350 to win.

© Cricket World 2007