Sri Lanka Show Improvement, England Show Resolve
England 342-6 (Cook 96, Morgan 79) v Sri Lanka
Second Test, Lord's, day one
| Report: John Pennington
For the first time this summer, England were severely tested by Sri Lanka but they recovered from losing three early wickets to close on 342 for six on the opening day of the second Test at Lord's.
After winning the toss and raising a few eyebrows by choosing to bowl first Sri Lanka quickly had England at 22 for three and struggling before composed half-centuries from Alastair Cook (96), Eoin Morgan (79), Matthew Prior (73 not out) and Ian Bell (52) steered England to a stronger position.
Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott both fell cheaply when they played all round straight deliveries from Chanaka Welagedara and Suranga Lakmal respectively and England's position was worsened when Kevin Pietersen chipped Lakmal into the gulley where captain Tillakaratne Dilshan took the catch.
The three batsmen had combined to score eight runs, Strauss making four with Trott and Pietersen just two apiece.
Cook and Bell then added a priceless 108 runs for the fourth wicket, Bell surviving a few early scares to unleash some silky drives while Cook simply carried on from where he had left off in Cardiff and looked set for another century when he latched on to a back-of-a-length delivery from Dilhara Fernando and only succeeded in spooning it up in the air to be caught by Farveez Maharoof.
Bell had fallen when he edged Welagedara to Tharanga Paranavitana at slip to bring Morgan to the crease and he proceeded to begin his innings in a way which belied the still precarious match situation.
He effortlessly struck Rangana Herath for six and struck some powerful blows down the ground, going on to hit ten fours and two sixes before falling, trapped in front by Lakmal for a beautifully crafted 79 in 128 balls.
Morgan's counter-attack put some pressure back on the tourists and as England gained in confidence towards the end of the day, Sri Lanka's efficacy with the ball faded, with the result that Prior took full advantage, playing some excellent shots, particularly through the covers, to reach 73 in just 83 deliveries with 14 boundaries as England helped themselves to 177 runs in the final session of 36 overs.
Alongside him at stumps was Stuart Broad on 17. After winning the opening match by an innings and 14 runs, England made one change to their side with Steven Finn replacing the injured James Anderson while Sri Lanka introduced Welagedara and Fernando into their attack at the expense of Ajantha Mendis and Tissara Perera.
© Cricket World 2011