Sangakkara and Samaraweera guide Sri Lanka to a draw the 3rd and final Npower Test
The 5th days play in the final and 3rd Npower Test series,played at Rose Bowl in Southampton, began in bright sunshine with the Sri Lanka total on 3 for 112, still needing 81 more runs to avoid an innings defeat. The overnight batsmen, standing-in skipper Kumar Sangakkara and night watchman Rangana Herath on 44* and 2* respectively. Both were determined to dig in and build a partnership against the hostile pace attack and the off spin of Swann. The pair added 71 useful runs for the 4th wicket before Herath, the night watchman was ruled leg before wicket to Swann for 36 trying to a mighty sweep off Swann. It was an aggressive inning for the night watchman (72 balls,4 fours).During the partnership Sangakkara made his 50 in 129 balls. This was the first occasion either he or Mahela, the two of the best and most experienced batsmen in the side had made a half a century in this series. At lunch the two had stretched the score to 226 for 4 wickets in 79 0vers.Sangakkara was 89* and Samaraweera 27*had added 41 runs for the unbroken 5th wicket, the latter being the aggressor.
Thilan Samaraweera,the remaining Sri Lankan batting stalwart who too was needed to make a long overdue big score batted with aggression when the conditions for batting was ideal. He really overshadowed his senior partner and raced to his 50 in just 72 balls with 6 hits to the fence stroking them to either side of the wicket even coming down the wicket to Swann and lifting over the infield. Sangakkara soon reached his century the 25th in his Test career compiled in 217 balls with 13 fours mostly with drives on the off side, backward of point and through the covers.
He ultimately broke his England hoodoo. He said later ‘that it was satisfying to have reached this land mark, although it would have better if the century was made in the Lords Test’. His batting average in England now looks better at 30.16 compared to his overall test average of 56.18. On the stroke of tea when on 119 Anderson deceived him with a slower delivery hurled at 79 mph, which he attempted to drive, mistiming and spooned a catch to be caught in the covers by substitute fielder A.P.Rouse. It was described as a very soft dismissal particularly as he batted with determination and full of concentration without any blemishes, in a five and a half hour stay at the wicket. He faced 249 balls stroking 16 fours. The score was then 326 for 5, at that time Sri Lanka were out of danger. At tea with the rain falling heavily Sri Lanka were 334 for 5 wickets made in 104 overs with Samaraweera on 87*(in128 balls,9 fours) and Prasanna Jayawardena on 6* a lead of 141 runs and the Test was heading for a draw. James Anderson England’s premier fast bowler had the best figures of 2 for 81 in 30 overs.There was no play possible after tea and the 3rd Test was rained off to a draw with England clinching the series 1-0. Altogether 369 minutes were lost in the course of the three Test series owing to rain and it was obviously frustrating for the players, spectators and the administrators of the ICC for scheduling the tests too early in the summer, not taking into consideration, the all important weather forecast. Thilan Samaraweera was very unlucky not to have got the opportunity of scoring another Test match ton. Chis Tremlett for his 6 wicket haul in skittling the Sri Lanka batsmen in the 1st innings for just 184 runs was named the ’Man of the Match’. While Prasanna Jayawardena and Chris Tremlett were named, ‘players of the series’, for Sri Lanka and England.
Chief Scores: Sri Lanka 1st innings 184 all out,2nd innings 334 for 5 wickets (Sangakkara 119,Samaraweera 87*) England 377 for 8 dec.( Ian Bell 119*, Pietersen 85,Morgan 71,Cook 55.)
By Sunil Thenabadu (SLPL) © SLPLT20.Co