About the Match
With the first test match ending in a dramatic draw after England failed to clinch a win though coming so close to it, the series is still open as the two sides meet for the 2nd test match at Leeds from June 20th. The teams have closely watched each other’s strengths and weaknesses and both will put their best foot forward to make a breakthrough and push for a win here; but it all boils down to player forms in the end. It will be interesting to see how the match proceeds; but we are sure to see some more sensational turn of events as both sides try to dominate the other with greater determination.
Having lost the toss and put to bat first by the Lankans, the English top order failed to put up a good defence and toppled to 74-3 by the 19th over; it was an unbeaten 200 by Joe Root, which brought back hope for the home team. While he built strong partnerships with Bell and Ali, it was the 6th wicket stand of 171 between him and Prior that took the side to 575 in the first innings, with a good support from all-rounders Broad and Plunkett. Anderson and Jordan took 3 wickets each to make it tough for the opponents and with Plunkett, Broad and Ali coming together to take regular wickets, the English side restricted Lanka to 453. The second innings saw Ballance with an unbeaten 104 but the others failed to score the big runs; they were happy adding another 267 runs on board and were confident to demolish Lanka. Anderson, Broad and Jordan were superb with their precision bowling and things looked good but the slow over-rate and inability to topple the Lankans on the final day resulted in a draw. The team showed a great comeback in this format of the game and would be determined to convert their hard-work to a win this time around.
Nuwan Pradeep came through for the team on the final day as he protected his wicket and ensured they survived the day to head towards a draw. With a 390-run target, the Lankan batting had collapsed with only Sangakkara and Silva showing some fight while the others like Jayawardene and Mathews failing to repeat their brilliance. The batsmen had no choice but to face the brilliant English attack and keep their wickets safe. Pradeep had taken 4 wickets in the first innings but wasn’t rewarded in the second; avenging his embarrassing dismissal earlier on in the match, Pradeep stuck his feet firmly on the ground after Herath walked away and made sure that they didn’t lose the well-fought match. Sangakkara’s 147 off 258 and Mathews’ 102 runs in the first innings couldn’t close the gap but Eranga, Herath and Kulasekara bowled well to restrict England to 267 in the second innings. Though there were glimpses of heroism from all quarters, Lanka couldn’t establish its supremacy and will look forward to doing so at Leeds.
It was a tough contest in the first match and both sides have equally talented and established players to do the job for the team. Though the English players show a lot of promise and the team has the home advantage, Sri Lanka seems to be better placed to make a comeback and clinch a win here to take the series.
Sri Lanka, 4.50 @ Bet365