England Stun Sri Lanka On Fifth Day Classic At Cardiff

England beat Sri Lanka on the fifth day of the first Test match after it had seemed for most part of four and a half days that the Test match was meandering towards a tame draw.

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England Stun Sri Lanka On Fifth Day Classic at Cardiff

If ever there was a stunning Test match win, then it had to be this one. In a Test match where the first four days had seen a collective loss of 15 wickets, Sri Lanka lost ten in under one session on the fifth and the final day at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff to England. As a result, a Test match which had been deemed to be a draw for most part of the previous two days was won by the English side by an innings and 14 runs. England now lead the three Test match series 1-0.

In reply to Sri Lanka’s 400 all out in the first innings, the English side were 491 for five at the end of the fourth day of a rain-affected Test. Inclement weather at the start of the fifth day meant that the play was delayed by four hours, effectively ending any outside hopes of a result. Or at least that is what one thought at that time.

England batted for a couple of overs to allow Ian Bell to complete his century before declaring with a lead of 96. There was around three hours of play remaining for the game to be called off. As it turned out, England needed around half of that to be push Sri Lanka out of the game.

Tharanga Paranavitana followed up a half century in the first innings with a duck in the second while captain Tillakaratne Dilshan hit a couple of crisp ones to the fence before fending it back to the bowler. Chris Tremlett had a couple and Sri Lanka were 10 for two. Former captains Kumar Sangakkara an Mahela Jayawardene saw the side through to the safer shores at tea, at 33 for two.

It was after the break that things went into a complete tailspin for the Lankans. Jayawardene edged to the slip in the very first over to Tremlett and Thilan Samaraweera followed without troubling the scorers too much. And when Sangakkara fell to Swann as well, half the side had collapsed for 43. Sri Lanka needed another 48 to make England bat again but with five wickets in hand and a session to bat, things had begun to look bleak. Rather surprisingly, the weather had lost the bleakness it had shown through the first four days and was sunny and warm!

In the same over, Farveez Maharoof edged one to the wicket-keeper and off the next, first innings centurion Prasanna Jayawardene gloved it to Matt Prior. And when Ranagana Herath was declared lbw to the spin of Swann, Sri Lanka were 52 for eight.

The end wasn’t too far and despite a spirited show from Thisara Perera, it took Stuart Broad three balls in the 25th to get rid of the remaining batsmen. A shell-shocked Lankan side had been bowled out for 82, losing by an innings and 14 runs. 

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