|Second test, Hal (first day).|
|Sri Lanka 229-4 : Matthews 107, Candimal 52; Anderson 3-24|
|England: It’s not too late.|
Angelo Mathews was a century old for Sri Lanka on the first day of the second Test in Wales as the English players began their task.
The hosts led 7-2 when James Anderson scored two early victories and 76-3 when Sailor struck on the afternoon.
But on level ground and in stifling heat, Mathews hit 107, without being eliminated, to leave Sri Lanka 229-4.
Mathews put on 117 and Captain Dinesh Chandimal put on 52 before being taken out by Mark Wood.
Niroshan Dikwella finished the day with 19 points (not eliminated), putting Sri Lanka in a position where they think they can post an exemplary score in the first set.
However, England have limited the number of wickets on the track and offer little movement to their fast bowling or spinners.
Anderson, who joined the team in place of England’s only Stuart Broad after winning the first test at the same venue, finished the day with a 19-10-24-3.
The fast wickets will leave England on the second day having won 2-0 in both Test sets.
Mathematics for Sri Lanka
Mathews struck out 11 four times in his 228-run inning.
When Anderson sent Kusal Perera for six and Oshada Fernando for a duck in the third over, the echoes of Sri Lanka’s desolate batting on the first day of the first Test echoed.
Perera pointed to an inexplicably ill-advised push by Joe Root and Fernando, replacing the unfortunate Kusal Mendis in third, cut a ball that could have been left on his stump.
However, when he got to home plate at 7-2, the veteran mathematician held his own – albeit on a surface that was easier to beat than on the first day of the first test.
Mathews, who played 380 matches for Sri Lanka in an international career spanning over 12 years, gave no quarter and managed to shake off the English giants in a controlled manner.
At the age of 33, he did 69 with Lahiru Thirimann before he and Chandimal defeated England in the scorching heat.
In the 90s, he survived an excellent spell with Wood and eventually picked up his 11th win of the season. Test hundred, the third against England and the first in Wales.
He usually survived seven overdoses with the new ball at the end of the day to give himself a chance to score more points on the second day.
Evergreen Anderson impresses again
Anderson’s three wickets showed 603.
Anderson stayed away from England for the first test – Stuart Broad was selected instead as England faced the pressure of two of its most experienced bowlers over the winter.
Eight passes during the team’s warm-up match, for example, were the 38-year-old’s only overtakes since her third attempt in Pakistan in August.
After the game he said we were very nervous, both because of the break and to replace Brod who was exceptional in the first test. He didn’t show up.
Anderson probed the batting technique and made the most of minimal movement, as when Thirman hit his second ball of the afternoon that was slightly off the line.
He and Broad combined for a record 6-58 in 45 over with 24 girls in three sets in what were believed to be unfavorable conditions.
With the largely ineffective Dom Bess and Jack Leach spinners, Wood provided an extra pace that Anderson kept up.
He shook the drummers early in the day – he hit a bouncer in Chandimal on the gate – and an eighth spell after tea gave his camp the breakthrough they needed.
He pitched quickly, found a backspin and caught Chandimal with a long ball.
Woods’ relief was evident during the celebration as he spread his arms and looked to the sky, having played 38.5 scoreless games in the series so far.
Wood rested during the first two tries of the four-game series against India, which follows a tour of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka just finished the day – response.
England player James Anderson in a special test match: As a group, mostly sewing ball players, we are now building difficult pitches. It’s good to keep them on 230 on a flat wicket, we’re in the game but we need to play well tomorrow when we come back.
Sri Lankan drummer Angelo Mathews: I got into a rhythm in the second inning of the first Test [he scored 71 off 219 balls], so I said to myself : If I can start it, I won’t give it away.
I had to work very hard. They haven’t given us anything, but there are 229-4 of us, and we can’t give up now.
Former British Captain Michael Vaughan: For me, Sri Lanka just finished the day as they put the lead on the board.
The games on the board will be crucial. Above 350 will be very difficult for England, but they are doing well.
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