Sri Lanka gain upper hand

Sri Lanka hold the advantage after the second days play at Trent Bridge after finally bucking the trend of getting bowled out cheaply and watching Kevin Pietersen bludgeon run upon run off their bowling.

The Sri Lankan bowlers managed to strangle the England batsmen in a way that they haven’t managed all series and the results were there for all to see. The livewire fast bowler Lasith Malinga struck early on, making Alistair Cook play on. Malinga’s slingy action has caused several English batsmen discomforting, hurrying them up and he today succeeded in hitting Pietersen and Collingwood on the body.

However, the Nottingham crowd would have been more eager to see the magical Muttiah Muralitharan bowling to the explosive Pietersen. Pietersen has got the better of Murali for the majority of this series, but in his innings today the Sri Lankan attack had frustrated Pietersen, who likes to score at a run a ball, and he’d been trying to force the pace without his usual level success. He’d looked comfortable against Murali, though – walking down the wicket and driving him for four and sweeping him a long way back into the stands. When he tried to repeat the latter shot two balls later, he found himself walking back to the pavilion, having top edged to the captain Mahela Jayawardene who’d cleverly positioned himself around the corner. Murali won this round.

Andrew Flintoff followed Pietersen back to the pavilion almost as soon as he’d got out. Trying to force veteran Sanath Jayasuria, on his return to Test cricket, through the offside off the back foot. Succeeding to edge to Jayawardene at slip and leaving the crease for just one run.

Geraint Jones was the next man out, having scored 19, when he stupidly charged Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara made no mistakes in taking the stumping. However, Paul Collingwood is a much harder player to frustrate into doing something rash. He battled, with Liam Plunkett and Matthew Hoggard aiding him, to get England from 151/6 to close to the 200. Plunkett only managed 9 before he was bowled by Jayasuria. Collingwood was trapped lbw by Chaminda Vaas for a top score of 48. Hoggard fought for 10, but eventually was wrongly given out when a Murali doosra clipped his back arm and was caught at slip via a ricochet off Sangakkara. Jon Lewis played a short cameo, but was eventually the last man out with England two runs short of Sri Lankas 231.

Matthew Hoggard struck in the first over of Sri Lankas innings, bowling Michael Vandort, but Upul Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara took Sri Lankas lead to 47 at stumps to set up an exciting end to the series.

Sri Lanka 231
Chaminda Vaas 38*, Kumar Sangakkara 36
Andrew Flintoff 3-52, Jon Lewis 3-68

England 53-2
Paul Collingwood 48, Kevin Pietersen 41
Muttiah Muralitharan 3-63, Sanath Jayasuria 2-19

Sri Lanka 45-1
Kumar Sangakkara 22*, Upul Tharanga 17
Matthew Hoggard 1-18

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