Final Session Report: Mahela Jayawardene single-handedly carried Sri Lanka to a respectable 289 for 8 in the opening day’s play of the First Test at Galle. Barring Mahela’s knock, the rest of the Lankan batsmen failed to get going. Infact the second highest score for the day was just 27 from Chandimal! The 34-year-old Mahela Jayawardene, was lucky to get dropped twice by Monty Panesar in the final session. The Sri Lankan Skipper remained unbeaten on a superb 168 (from 290 balls with 20 fours and 3 sixes) by the close of play on Day 1.
Resuming the final session at 168 for 5, Sri Lanka lost Prasanna Jayawardene (23) when he was struck on the pad by a reversing inswinger from James Anderson in just the fifth ball after Tea. Next man, Suraj Randiv was run out for 12 by a direct throw from Andrew Strauss at point to the bowling end when the former was sent back by Mahela Jayawardene in an attempted single. Sri Lanka slipped to 191 for 7 in 66 overs at this stage.
Mahela Jayawardene got great support from Rangana Herath who hung in there for 30 balls and helping his Skipper top add up 62 valuable runs for the 8th wicket. Herath got out to Samit Patel in an attempted predetermined paddle sweep, which he missed for an lbw dismissal. By the end of play, Mahela got decent support from no.1 Chanaka Welegedera who is on 10*. Mahela Jayawardene punished the English bowlers on what seems to be a flat pitch.
Tea Report: England continued to put Sri Lanka under pressure in the afternoon session as well. The visitors picked up two key wickets but the Sri Lankans have managed to put on something decent on the board thanks to their Skipper Mahela Jayawardene’s unbeaten 80 (from 184 balls with 10 fours and a six). At Tea on Day 1, Mahela is getting the support from Wicket Keeper Prasanna Jayawardene who has collected 21* (from 35 balls with 3 fours).
On what seems to be a flat pitch, England have done really well to keep the Sri Lankans down to 168 for 5 in 61 overs. Their first breakthrough after lunch came when Thilan Samaraweera (20) was run out backing up at the non-striker’s end when James Anderson deflected a Mahela Jayawardene straight drive onto the stumps. Sri Lanka were at a dismal 67 for 4 in the 33rd over when young Dinesh Chandimal joined his Skipper.
Chandimal looked settled for his 27 (from 48 balls with 2 fours and 2 sixes) before he threw his wicket attempting a ridiculous predetermined slog sweep off Samit Patel to get caught at point. It seemed that Chandimal was still fresh from his one-day cricket mode in the CB Series and the Asia Cup. It was a maiden Test wicket for Samit Patel who broke a promising stand of 61 runs.
Lunch Report: Sri Lanka are struggling at 66 for 3 in 30 overs on the morning session of the 1st Test at Galle. James Anderson took two wickets in two balls and Stuart Broad chipped in with a wicket to give England an early advantage in this 1st Test.
The hosts lost two wickets in two balls in the 3rd over when James Anderson got left-handers Lahiru Thirimanne (3) and Kumar Sangakkara (0 from 1 ball) nicking him behind. Stuart Broad complimented Anderson by getting Tillakaratne Dilshan (11) edging him to the Keeper in the 4th over to leave the hosts at 15 for 3.
By Lunch, the Lankans were steadied by Skipper Mahela Jayawardene (30* from 90 balls with 3 fours and a six) and Thilan Samaraweera (19* from 72 balls with 3 fours).
Toss and Teams: Sri Lanka have won the toss and elected to bat first in the 1st Test at the Galle International Stadium. The conditions are hot and humid at Galle, which is going to very tough for England especially when they have lost the toss and put into the field.
The pitch at Galle could deteriorate as the game goes on under hot conditions. Spinners will be the key in this Test Match. Sri Lanka have gone into this match with two specialist spinners in Suraj Randiv and Rangana Herath.
England have given Test Debut to all-rounder Samit Patel who bowls quick left arm spin. It will therefore be a spin trio for England with Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar also in the playing XI.
Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (Captain), Thilan Samaraweera, Dinesh Chandimal, Prasanna Jayawardene (Wicket Keeper), Suraj Randiv, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal and Chanaka Welegedera
England: Andrew Strauss (Captain), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Matt Prior (Wicket Keeper), Samit Patel, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Monty Panesar