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Cricket

Woakes and Finn lead England's morning surge



Sri Lanka 218 for 6 (Perera 12*, Herath 2*) trail England 416 by 198 runs
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Chris Woakes got his second of the day when Angelo Mathews was caught at slip © Getty Images

A Lord’s Test Saturday swung loyally towards England as a place of such grand traditions must presumably feel obliged to do on the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday. Sri Lanka had approached the third morning in good heart, but by lunch, they were obliterated: six down and still trailing by 198 runs, hopes of a consolation victory all but extinguished.

That Sri Lanka saved the follow-on, from the last delivery of the session, for the first time in the series was no consolation as England’s captain, Alastair Cook, awarded a CBE overnight with his team-mate Stuart Broad, returned to the pavilion in contented mood after England had picked up five wickets for the concession of only 56 runs.

Sri Lanka’s visions of conceding more than 400 in the first innings and then winning the Test, as they did at The Oval in their Murali-inspired 1998 victory, would have been encouraged by their close on the second day 162 runs to the good and Dimuth Karunaratne the only casualty.

Within 7.3 overs, those ambitions were dampened, Kusal Mendis, Kaushal Silva and Angelo Mathews all despatched as England’s pace attack regained the initiative.

Chris Woakes’ first ball of the previous day had brought about the Jonny Bairstow howler – and further examination of his wicketkeeping role. This time Woakes enjoyed immediate success, winning an lbw with the first ball of the second over as he rammed a delivery down the slope into Mendis’ pads.

Woakes had been the most insistent of England’s attack on the previous evening and that was enough for him to start the day alongside Broad. There was enough in the air to encourage the bowlers that it would be a more even contest and they pounded a good length – a fuller length than on the previous day – from the outset.

Silva failed to add to his overnight 79, his edge to Bairstow in Broad’s third over of the morning extending a remarkable record in which he has been caught at the wicket in all nine of his Test innings in England. Repetition around off stump is all that the bowlers have needed.

England’s energy also extended to Bairstow. When Mathews thick-edged Broad to third man, Alex Hales and Joe Root, giving chase, were shocked to find the sight of a red-headed retriever tearing past them and diving full-length in wicketkeeping pads to save the boundary. Such chases are part of Bairstow’s make-up and his pleasure in mildly embarrassing two of his team-mates was evident.

Mathews’ pugnacity was needed to restore Sri Lanka’s ambition, but when he tried to turn Woakes to leg he was defeated by extra bounce and Root, quite close at second slip, held a good catch. It was a delivery that encapsulated Woakes’ improvement, a bowler of good habits and decent action now capable of something a little more unsettling.

Dinesh Chandimal was equally uncertain, beginning with an inside-edged four against Woakes and almost scooped up at second slip by Root when James Anderson made an unaccustomed late arrival into the attack.

It was not long before Chandimal fell, too, lbw to a fullish delivery from Steven Finn and unsuccessfully reviewing in the hope that the ball might have faded down the slope past leg stump.

Finn also looked more eager than on the previous day and the wicket of Lahiru Thirimanne completed a satisfying England morning, a poor uppish-drive which gave Root his second catch of the morning.

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps


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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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