Can the spirited Lankans make a match of it?

(Daminda Wijesuriya reporting from Lords)

Sri Lankan batsmen staged a spirited display in their second innings to score 183 for three, at stumps on the third day, yesterday, of the first cricket test against England, being played at Lords. The visitors, all out for 192 in the first innings in reply to England's mammoth 551 for six, are yet to make 176 runs to make England bat again.

Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene hits a four off a ball from England's captainAndrew Flintoff during the third day of their first test cricket match at Lord's yesterday.-REUTERS

Young Upul Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara put a record partnership for the second wicket and lifted the total from 10 for one to 119 for two in the second innings. However England’s new found left arm spinner for England, Monty Paneser, got the breakthrough that England looking for more than two and half hours.

Tharanga reached his fifty in 115 balls with seven hits to the rope, gave a thick edge to wicket keeper Gerient Jones before Mahela Jayawardane joined his deputy. Sangakkara, showing signs that he will be a better number three, completed his half century without any discomfort. The stylish left hander too departed in the similar fashion, with eight overs to stumps, as Tharanga departed. In his 225 minutes stay in the crease, Sangakkara faced 156 balls while sending six of them past the rope.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardane is at the crease with a very broad bat in his hand and there are two more front line batsmen waiting in the dressing room for their turn.

England was in a commanding position by lunch yesterday as Sri Lanka all out for 192. Resuming the innings at six for 91 in the morning, visitors added 101 for the last four wickets. Chaminda Vaas (31) and Nuwan Kulasekara (29) stood across the four pronged English pace attack to collect 61 runs for eighth wicket Andrew Strauss dropped Vaas on 13 off Liam Plunkett when the total was on 151. That will come to the frame only if England has to bat again to score less than 40 runs to win or a draw, which is far but not impossible.

Jayawardane batted absolutely well under the conditions, despite the hosts were feeding him on his leg stump. The skipper showed great courage and temperament but ran short of partners. Jayewardene's168 minutes stay in the crease fetched his 29th test half century in 102 balls and the stylish right hander it nine boundaries before his departure from the crease.

English bowlers handled the shining red 'Duke' ball much better than Sri Lankans did. They extracted a vicious swing apart from the speed they generated on the conditions where Sri Lankans were total mismatch.

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