England seal stunning victory

England snatch an improbable innings victory over Sri Lanka with one of the most remarkable wins in Test history.

    England lie in wait at the slips as Sri Lanka crumble in Wales [GALLO/GETTY]

    England defied the odds and the elements to beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 14 runs in the first Test at Sophia Gardens on Monday.

    Sri Lanka were blown away for just 82 in their second innings with fast bowler Chris Tremlett and offspinner Graeme Swann both taking four-wicket hauls.

    Swann took 4-16 and Tremlett 4-40 as England took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

    The last eight wickets fell for 49 runs in 12 overs as England clinched victory in the final session after the Test had seemed destined to end in a draw. Thisara Perera was Sri Lanka's top scorer with 20.

    England's victory in their first Test since a 3-1 Ashes triumph on Australia was achieved despite rain, which fell throughout this match, washing out nearly a whole day's play in total.

    Late start

    The final day started four hours late and England batted for only two overs to allow Ian Bell to reach his hundred, declaring at 496 for five.

    Sri Lanka then began their second innings trailing by 96 runs at 1521 local time. Just over two hours later the game was over.

    England's performance was all the more worthy as they had been reduced to three specialist bowlers when their leading paceman James Anderson suffered a side strain in the Sri Lanka first innings.

    Sri Lanka struggled immediately when Tharanga Piranavitana was caught at first slip off Tremlett for a duck and skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan was caught and bowled for 10 before tea.

    After the interval, Sri Lanka were immediately under pressure once more when Mahela Jayawardene (15) became England and Tremlett's third wicket. After playing and missing the previous ball, the batsman edged the next delivery to captain Andrew Strauss at first slip.

    Final day scorecard

    Sri Lanka first innings 400
    England first innings (overnight 491-5):
    A Strauss c M. Jayawardene b Lakmal 20
    A Cook c P. Jayawardene b Maharoof 133
    J Anderson c M. Jayawardene b Mendis 1
    J Trott b Dilshan 203
    K Pietersen lbw b Herath 3
    I Bell not out 103
    E Morgan not out 14
    Extras: 19
    Total: (for five wickets declared; 155 overs) 496
    Fall of wickets: 1-46 2-47 3-298 4-305 5-465

    Sri Lanka second innings

    T Paranavitana c Strauss b Tremlett 0
    T Dilshan c & b Tremlett 10
    K Sangakkara c Strauss b Swann 14
    M Jayawardene c Strauss b Tremlett 15
    T Samaraweera b Swann 0
    P Jayawardene c Prior b Tremlett 3
    F Maharoof c Prior b Swann 0
    T Perera c Bell b Broad 20
    R Herath lbw b Swann 3
    A Mendis not out 12
    RAS Lakmal c Cook b Broad 0
    Extras 5
    Total (all out; 24.4 overs) 82
    Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-10 3-33 4-36 5-43 6-43 7-43 8-52 9-82 10-82

    It was then 36 for four when Thilan Samaraweera (0), batting with an injured elbow, chopped a bottom edge on to his stumps from a ball that turned and kept low from Swann.


    The procession of wickets continued as Sri Lanka slipped from 43 for four to 43 for seven, starting with the loss of former captain Kumar Sangakkara for 14.

    The left-hander came forward and prodded at Swann only to edge low down to Strauss at slip for his third catch of the innings.

    The sixth man to depart was all-rounder and number seven batsman Farveez Maharoof (0), caught off a faint edge by wicketkeeper Matt Prior off Swann.

    He failed in his bid to have the decision reversed on review.

    The next victim in the crazy session was first innings centurion Prasanna Jayawardene (3), who was caught down the leg side by Matt Prior off Tremlett. Initially umpire Billy Doctrove rejected England's appeal but it was overturned on review.

    The Sri Lankans looked to be plummeting towards their lowest Test total of 71 when they slumped to 52 for eight with Rangana Herath (3) departing lbw to Swann after missing a sweep.

    Ajantha Mendis drove Swann through the covers for a boundary but a rally in which Thisara Perera counter-attacked briefly for 20, including four fours was soon over.

    Perera jabbed a ball heading for his ribcage from Stuart Broad to Ian Bell at shirt leg, an impressive one-handed diving effort.

    An astonishing win was completed when the last man, Suranga Lakmal, was caught in the slips by Alastair Cook off Broad.

    England will now head to Strauss's Lord's home ground, where the second Test starts on Friday, 1-0 up in this three-match series.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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