OVER 97: SL 256/6 (Dickwella 42* Perera 1*)
We will see some spin, Dom Bess replaces James Anderson. No great shakes yesterday, though not much in the pitch for him. First ball is easily slapped away through point for a single and it was… well, quite a loose delivery. Second ball isn’t much better, a straight full toss that is patted back to him by Perera. He’s off the mark with a nudge through square leg for a single. Bess gets his radar a bit more on target towards the end of the over.
OVER 96: SL 253/6 (Dickwella 40* Perera 0*)
Wood’s speeds this over are all over 88mph in the first four balls. Drops a bit in the final two balls and, honestly, he looks a little like he’s feeling it. Wonder if we’ll see some spin shortly. A maiden, anyway. Perera not off the mark after 12 balls. Mathews going along nicely with 40 off 85.
OVER 95: SL 253/6 (Dickwella 40* Perera 0*)
A rare boundary off Anderson’s bowling as Dickwella drives through the covers for an exquisite four. A bit of debate on Sky Sports from David Lloyd and Mahela Jayawardene over whether Mathews hit it. They both question UltraEdge’s spike being that of bat and ball, saying it arrived too early. Here’s the still. Make your own mind up. I can see what they mean but… no. I just don’t think it’s possible to sync the audio up the the exact frame and that may be the issue.
OVER 94: SL 249/6 (Dickwella 36* Perera 0*)
Wood a bit too full and too wide makes it easier for Dickwell to hit. He had to make the shot, though, and he strokes it through extra cover for four runs. Going along nicely is the keeper. No England bowler able to exert the control of Anderson. You don’t mind that from Wood but you need it from your spinners. They have yet to feature this morning.
OVER 93: SL 244/6 (Dickwella 31* Perera 0*)
This hasn’t exactly turned the game on its head but it has changed the outlook for England. There will now be hope that they can dismiss Sri Lanka for not a great deal more than 300, certainly under 350. Anderson concedes his first run of the day to Dickwella. 4-25 off 22 with 12 maidens for him now.
OVER 92: SL 243/6 (Dickwella 30* Perera 0*)
Brilliant start by England, this. Bit opportunistic, the Anderson review was more in hope than expectation and Mark Wood has got one from an average ball.
WICKET! Mendis b Wood c Buttler 0
Well, two impotent overs from Curran and he is replaced by the rapido Mark Wood.Bet he feels about an inch shorter than he did yesterday. An eight over spell yesterday in this heat, on this pitch… got a wicket for his troubles though. 85mph first up, 89mph second but it’s a poor ball, full and on the pads and it runs to the long on boundary. Not with any great force but timed well enough by Dickwella. He steals a single off the fifth ball to bring Mendis on strike.
And he’s gone! A leg-side delivery is tickled onto his pads and Buttler dives to his left and claims an excellent catch and Mark Wood has two!
OVER 91: SL 238/5 (Dickwella 25* Mendis 0*)
No wicket this time from Anderson, but it’s still a maiden. 4-24 off 21 overs. Superb stuff.
OVER 90: SL 238/5 (Dickwella 25* Mendis 0*)
Hmmmm. Six runs to Dickwella in this Curran over. Two first and then short, wide and cut away for four backward of point off the final ball of the over. Infuriating for the bowler but it was his own damn fault.
OVER 89: SL 232/5 (Dickwella 19* Mendis 0)
That’s a big wicket for England, then. Mathews gone. Anderson claims his fourth and starts the day with a wicket maiden. Still producing the goods on a road of a pitch at the age of 38 and a half.
WICKET! Mathews b Anderson c Buttler 110
It’s James Anderson to begin at the other end. 19 overs for him, which is a comparable workload to England’s spinners. Not much in it for any bowler, mind you and Anderson was superb yesterday. Good delivery first up, drifting in slightly and bouncing off a good length. It brings a shoutfor LBW but never was the umpire going to give that. A little bit of something there, though.
Final ball brings a bigger and more convincing shout… not entirely convincing though. LBW or a nick? No sound… England review…
Looks like it’s just missed the inside edge as it hits the pad. Almost certainly won’t be LBW but was there an edge? Hmmm, there’s a slight deviation and UltraEdge shows a spike! I think that’s going to be out…yep, it is! Decision overturned. Oh, there’s some hesitancy from the third umpire here – he says initially to the on-field umpire that he can “stay” with his on field decision. I think he’s just checking the catch… as if he needed to do that. Got in a right muddle!
OVER 88: SL 232/4 (Mathews 110* Dickwella 19*)
A wide ball from Curran and Angelo Mathews drives through the covers for… what looks like four? Dom Bess diving on the boundary edge to try and save a run and I think he did, initially but does the ball then touch the boundary markers? Hard to see but the third umpire says it doesn’t touch. Just three and the first runs of the day. Those the only runs from the over.
Here we go…
It’s Sam Curran who is going to kick things off, actually. No wickets for him yesterday and not a great deal of control, either. Not a great pitch for the bowlers, mind you.
We’re very nearly ready to resume play
Crucial session for England. Absolutely crucial. You sense that when they do bat, though, that it will be a bit more important. James Anderson to start the day? Probably.
Tim Wigmore on Jimmy Anderson’s indispensability to the England team
Just as eight days ago, Sri Lanka chose to bat first. As Broad did then, Anderson’s task was to extract everything from the scintilla of movement that Sri Lankan wickets offer on the first morning of a Test, knowing that a five over new-ball burst represented his best chance to impact the course of the Test match.Anderson’s method for doing so was subtly different. He favoured a shorter length than Broad, testing the openers with bounce as well as the morsel of swing and seam on offer. But the essential method – to entice the batsmen to play as much as possible – was much the same.
And a very early morning welcome to those of you who are up at this hour for day two of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England at Galle. England came into this game after an – eventually and relatively – comfortable victory in the first Test, which means they cannot lose this series. But another win in Sri Lanka would be another feather in Joe Root’s captaincy cap, as it were.
Day one started well enough, with two early James Anderson wickets, but from that point onwards things became much more difficult. After Oshada Fernando fell it was 7-2 but from that point England took just another two wickets for 222 runs in more than 83 overs. The balance tipped back Sri Lanka’s way and they ended the day at 229-4, with Angelo Mathews on 107 not out, supported by Niroshan Dickwella.
Anderson was, again, the pick of England’s bowlers on his first Test this tour. He finished the day with a hugely impressive 3-24 off 19 overs, with 10 of those maidens. Mark Wood – who took the other wicket of the day – was the only other bowler of England’s five that went for below three runs an over. The spin twins Jack Leach and Dom Bess, who took 14 wickets in the first test, struggled with control and threat.
Nick Hoult wrote about the impact of England’s two wicket takers yesterday.
As preparation for India and Australia this was perfect. With no lateral movement, and batsmen ready to stay in for long periods, England had to flog themselves for wickets when normally they bowl in home conditions safe in the knowledge another edge or play and miss is never far away.
Seam bowling is England’s strength, even in Asia, and Anderson returned to Test cricket after a five month break and dropped immediately on to the right line and length. He bowled 19 overs of unrelenting accuracy for his three for 24 in arguably his best performance in Sri Lanka on his fifth tour to the country and at the age of 38.Anderson drew on his experience and played on the patience of batsmen while Wood tested their tickers.
He rapped them on the gloves, aimed balls into the ribs and found a touch of reverse when he bowled full with the older ball. He struck Chandimal on the peak of the helmet and batsmen were tentative getting forward, making the fuller ball, with which Wood took his wicket, more dangerous.
Play gets going at 4.30am. Can England drag SL back with early wickets? They will not want another long day in the field and an ominous total to compete against, quite obviously but, at the moment, anything under 400 looks good from here.