Kumar Sangakkara added yet another missing feather to his almost perfectly decorated hat, when he registered his maiden hundred at Lord’s, the Home of Cricket, to guide Sri Lanka out of woods on the third day of the first cricket test here yesterday. The 36-year-old former Sri Lanka captain, who is playing very likely his [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Sangakkara fulfils Lord’s ‘ton’ dream


Kumar Sangakkara added yet another missing feather to his almost perfectly decorated hat, when he registered his maiden hundred at Lord’s, the Home of Cricket, to guide Sri Lanka out of woods on the third day of the first cricket test here yesterday.

The 36-year-old former Sri Lanka captain, who is playing very likely his last test at the hallowed ground, drove part time spinner Joe Root crisply through the covers for his tenth boundary to reach his 36th Test career century off 182 balls.The stylish left hander made the maximum of ideal conditions to score 147 in 258 balls with 16 boundaries and saw the visitors safely past the follow-on mark before returning to the pavilion.

Kumar Sangakkara (C) celebrates reaching a century with Mahela Jayawardene (R) on the third day of the first cricket Test match between England and Sri Lanka at Lord's cricket ground in London on June 14, 2014. AFP

Skipper Angelo Mathews also enjoyed the excellent batting conditions to thump an unbeaten 79 as Sri Lanka finished the day on 415 for 7 in reply to England’s 575 for 9.

Sangakkara who on previous day became the eighth highest run scorer in Test history surpassing Australia’s Allan Border, immediately turned towards the Sri Lanka dressing room upon reaching three figures and pumped both his arms in the air before his close pal Mahela Jayawardene sprinted from the non-striker’s end to jump onto the celebrating batsman’s back.

The MCC members in their formal attire at the exclusive confines of the historic Lord’s members’ stand gave a vigorous standing ovation as Sangakkara permanently etched his place in the pantheon of all time greats of the game while a packed Lord’s crowd soaked in one of the finest moments of world cricket.

A Lord’s Test century is a feat that has eluded all time greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Rickey Ponting and Jacques Kallis while Sangakkara’s effort interestingly comes after his century at the same venue in the fourth ODI a fortnight ago.

Sri Lanka who were chasing an initial target of 375 to avoid a follow-on, built their innings around the brilliant chanceless innings of Sangakkara who shared three superb partnerships with Kaushal Silva, Jayawardene and Mathews.

Opener Silva who batted judiciously on the opening day to make 62 could add just one more to his score in the morning before a bouncer from paceman James Anderson brushed his protruding bat and sailed straight into the gloves of waiting wicket keeper Matt Prior as the compact right hander crouched to leave the ball.

Silva who hit 10 fours in his 160 ball innings, put on 97 for the second wicket with Sangakkara.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara carried Sri Lanka solidly to lunch without further losses at 212 for two as it was the home side bowlers’ turn to curse the unresponsive pitch that rendered no support to them.

Jayawardene reached his half century three balls after Sangakkara’s hundred, but the new ball taken by England two overs later brought them immediate results, breaking the 126-run third wicket stand on 277.

Just in the second over with the new ball, Stuart Broad trapped Jayawardene lbw with an in-swinging delivery which was proven even after the batsman’s referral. Jayawardene made 55 in 105 balls with seven fours.

Anderson also struck with the new ball when he dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne for just two when the left hander flicked a ball straight to Sam Robson at mid wicket.

Skipper Angelo Mathews then joined Sangakkara to add another 96 for the fifth wicket before Sangakkara provided debutant Moeen Ali a memorable maiden Test wicket. Sangakkara attempted to square cut a wide, turning ball from the off spinner and managed only a thin top edge to Prior.

Mathews faced 127 balls and hit eight fours as England hit back with three late wickets in the final session.

Wicket keeper batsman Prasanna Jayawardene who replaced Sangakkara made only six and became recalled paceman Laim Plunkett’s first Test victim in seven years when Ian Bell at leg slip held a ball that was travelling fast after Jayawardene pulled it firmly off the hips.
Nuwan Kulasekera also didn’t last long before edging a moving delivery from Chris Jordan to Prior.

Sri Lanka put Vithanage on stand-by for injured Jayawardena

Sri Lanka has asked Kithruwan Vithanage to be on standby as they might ask him to be flown in for the second Test starting at Headingly on Friday, pending the fitness of wicket keeper Prasanna Jayawardene who had injured his finger while warming up for the second day at the current first Test at Lord’s.

Kaushal Silva kept wickets early in the first session of the second day as Jayawardene had been rushed to hospital for an x-ray which proved no fracture. But the wicket keeper batsman had not been fully comfortable as he kept wickets on Friday and then batted yesterday under pain killing injections and will undergo a fitness check before the second Test. As there are three other wicket keepers Silva, Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal in the squad already, Sri Lanka has decided to keep left hand batsman Vithanage as their option.

Power failure

There was a power failure at Lord’s ground yesterday after lunch for more than an hour which affected all sections of the ground, including the media box.

It also affected the scoreboard which is electronically operated and was stuck when Sangakkara was on 99 and didn’t correct score until the batsman reached 103, well after he had completed his historic hundred.

England media mock Sri Lanka’s “pop-gun” attack

Sri Lanka’s pedestrian bowling attack on a flatbed at Lord’s was the laughing stock for England’s cricket writers on the second day of the First cricket Test.

The wicket which looked green and fast initially proved to be a deception, as it turned into a dead batting friendly track very quickly and by the second day, was as docile as slow Sri Lankan wickets.

However, The Sri Lankan pace attack which resorted to a ploy of employing an attack of short-pitched deliveries looked average at its best and was never a threat for the English batsmen who scored at six runs an over in the latter stages of their first innings.
The attack was so lame that one journalist felt it was no better than the Bangladesh pace bowling while another writer thought it was similar to the standards of second level county attack.

“Australia’s pace attack had been world-class; Sri Lanka’s, having been commendably full of length on the first morning, was not overtly better on the second day than Bangladesh’s had been in their two Tests at Lord’s” wrote Scyld Berry in the Daily Telegraph.

Former England cricketer Derek Pringle who also writes to the same publications described the Sri Lankan attack this way:
“Root’s younger brother, Billy, 21, made 200 for Nottinghamshire seconds against Derbyshire seconds on Wednesday, so when 23-year-old Joe began the day on 102 he was determined not to be outdone. With a determined effort from England’s tail to stay with him, he reached the milestone to claim the greater deed, at least until some wag suggested the standard of the bowling was probably the same”.

Stephen Brinkley of The Independent stated “Sri Lanka’s attack was of the pop-gun variety and by the end of the innings it was less dangerous than that, say an elastic band catapult”.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain wrote “But this Lord’s pitch is very flat, the outfield is fast, and Sri Lanka’s bowling attack lacks any real firepower. It’s a good start — and no more than that” in his column in the Daily Mail.
Senior journalist David Hopps wrote “Dip your bread, Joe Root will have been told since childhood on batting days like this. Like Oliver Twist, he dipped his bread and then asked to dip it some more. Sri Lanka did not possess a bowler with the capability to scold him” in Cricinfo and added

“This was a bountiful Lord’s batting surface and the Sri Lanka attack had serious limitations, but Root’s response over eight-and-a-quarter hours was impeccable”.

Sri Lanka team has employed former great Chaminda Vaas as fast bowling coach at a fantastic salary, while there also two other highly rated fast bowling coaches Champaka Ramanayake and Anusha Samaranayake in the SLC academy, though no fast bowlers of the class of Lasith Malinga has come out of the mill since of late.

It also worthy to mention that Sri Lanka’s leading pace bowler at Test level, Suranga Lakmal is injured and was not available for this Test. – CdeS



England 1st innings 575/9 dec in 130.3 overs (Joe Root 200 n.o, Matt Prior 86, Ian Bell 56, Moeen Ali 48, Stuart Broad 47, Nuwan Pradeep 4 for 123, Shaminda Eranga 3 for 163)
Sri Lanka 1st innings (140/1 in 40 overs overnight)
Dimuth Karunaratne c Prior b Jordan 38
(Drives half forward and finds a thin edge; flies
through low to the keeper)
Kaushal Silva c Prior b Anderson 63
(Tries to avoid a well targeted bouncer, gets
an edge to the keeper)
Kumar Sangakkara c Prior b Ali 147
(Attempts to cut that through point, gets a
top edge to the keeper)
Mahela Jayawardene lbw b Broad 55
(A good length ball, nipped back into him from
outside off stump)
Lahiru Thirimanne c Robson b Anderson 2
(Flicked in the air and straight to at midwicket)
Angelo Mathews not out 79
Prasanna Jayawardene c Bell b Plunkett 6
(Goes for the glance, the ball flies towards leg slip)
Nuwan Kulasekara c Prior b Jordan 9
(Jordan angles it in, gets the outside edge)
Rangana Herath not out 0
Extras (b7, lb1, w6, nb2) 16
Total (7 wickets; 124 overs) 415
To bat: Nuwan Pradeep, Shaminda Eranga
Fall of wickets: 1-54 (Karunaratne, 12.3), 2-151 (Silva, 48.2), 3-277 (M. Jayawardene, 81.4), 4-289 (Thirimanne, 86.6), 5-385 (Sangakkara, 109.6), 6-400 (P. Jayawardene, 116.1), 7-413 (Kulasekara, 121.6)
Bowling: James Anderson 24-6-73-2 (1w), Stuart Broad 24-7-60-1(1w), Chris Jordan 27-4-98-2 (1w), Liam Plunkett 30-2-113-1 (2nb, 3w), Moeen Ali 16-2-56-1, Joe Root 3-1-7-0


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