Cricket: Atapattu denies England with thrilling century

England 256-8 Sri Lanka 260-5 Sri Lanka win by five wickets and win Emirates TournamentEmirates Tournament: World Cup holders take trophy with 17 balls to spare

IT WOULD have been against the unwritten laws of one-day cricket for the World Cup holders to mess up two games at Lord's and, guided by Marvan Atapattu's expertly paced century, they duly beat England by five wickets to win the Emirates Tournament. Atapattu's unbeaten 132, a gem on a day of many fine innings, later won him the man of the series award

They needed 257 runs to win, nine runs more than they wanted last Sunday. A late hiccup when they lost three wickets for 23 runs in the final 10 overs made the game closer than it really was, but 17 balls to spare in this type of cricket was still a whipping. Once again England were 30 to 40 runs light, their batting losing crucial momentum as Muthiah Muralitharan choked off the final third of the innings.

When Sri Lanka began their pursuit, it looked a different proposition as Sanath Jayasuriya, their dangerous opener, was bowled for nought by Darren Gough, who began his first over with two wides. However, the dismissal, which should have bolstered the bowlers, appeared to have the opposite effect and England, like the Sri Lankans earlier, made risky pinch hitting redundant with an assortment of bad balls.

Driving cleanly, Atapattu added 138 runs with his partner, the more agricultural Romesh Kaluwitharana, who happily hacked and smeared his way to 68 before Robert Croft induced a mishit.

England's gain quickly turned sour, though, as Aravinda de Silva countered with a blistering cameo that included three fours in as many balls off Peter Martin, who conceded 60 runs from his 10 overs.

England's fielding, too, suffered under pressure and Gough put down Atapattu when, on 97, he miscued a slog off Croft. In hindsight it was an important miss as Sri Lanka still needed 46 runs and would have had two new batsmen at the crease.

Winning the toss on a pitch used in the previous game, England, having selected Michael Atherton in place of Adam Hollioake, decided to bat. Atherton, not selected for England's previous 14 one-day matches, began well and his first two scoring shots both found the boundary. Apart from one mishit, when he broke his bat - a legacy perhaps of the alleged extra hardness of the white ball - it was a fine knock.

Criticised in the past, England's former captain has long argued that his reputation as a batsman too sluggish for the frenetic pace of one- day cricket is ill-deserved. Yesterday he proved it, and his fifty off 50 balls was the quickest of the match.

By comparison it took Knight, his opening partner, 15 balls more to reach the same milestone. But while there was nothing wrong with that, Knight's dawdling later in the innings - possibly as a result of England's previous collapses, or perhaps because he was nearing a fourth one-day hundred - cost England important runs.

Knight was not the only batsman who struggled to keep up the initial run rate as Arjuna Ranatunga shuffled his bowlers like a card sharp short of a few aces. It was a clever tactic and the stacatto changes prevented England's batsmen from settling. The Sri Lankan captain, having learnt from his mistakes last Sunday, also utilised more spin, and his seam bowlers accounted for just 14 of the 50 overs.

But, if five tweakers were used, one stood apart. Muralitharan is a prodigious spinner of a ball on any surface. As a result of England's storming start - they were 83 for 0 after 15 overs - Muralitharan was pressed into action in the 14th over, but was immediately taken off. Apparently the ball was still too hard and he asked to be held back until it had softened.

When he did return, this time from the Pavilion End, both slope and fortune were with him and he had Michael Atherton held by his captain at mid-wicket for 64, after the batsman toe-ended a pull shot. Not long after, Stewart followed caught off his gloves sweeping for 18, the England captain not waiting for the umpire's decision.

Graeme Hick, after a couple of handsome drives, fell to the leg-spinner Upul Chandana, the ball just clipping off-stump, a fact that appeared to cause some confusion after Hick stood his ground, presumably in the belief that the keeper had attempted to stump him.

At that stage England were 191 for 3 in the 39th over and set for a total around 280. Muralitharan had other ideas and, with the ball now soft enough to squeeze his fingers around, he mesmerised England's batsmen in a tightly spun web of intrigue to finish with 5 for 34, the best-ever bowling figures in a one-day international at Lord's.

At one stage he took 3 for 0 in five balls, including the now inert Knight, caught and bowled for 94. While it is perhaps unfair to be too hard on a player who has scored 94, Knight's last 44 runs took him 71 balls, as compared to the 55 balls it took to score 64 runs at the other end.

More appropriately perhaps, the blame should be levelled at England's selectors for their confused thinking. More specialist bowlers equal a longer tail. If they do not take wickets, you need more runs. It is a balancing act England must get right before next summer's World Cup.

Henry Blofeld, county reports, page 19

LORD'S SCOREBOARD

England won toss

ENGLAND

N V Knight c and b Muralitharan 94

177 min, 136 balls, 4 fours

M A Atherton c Ranatunga b Muralitharan 64

101 min, 73 balls, 7 fours

*A J Stewart c Kaluwitharana

b Muralitharan 18

31 min, 24 balls, 1 four

G A Hick b Chandana 14

25 min, 16 balls, 1 four

A D Brown b Muralitharan 18

25 min, 18 balls, 2 fours

N Hussain lbw b Muralitharan 0

2 min, 2 balls

R D B Croft c Kaluwitharana b Perera 17

21 min, 17 balls, 1 four

I D Austin not out 11

23 min, 12 balls, 1 four

D Gough b Perera 0

1 min, 1 ball

P J Martin not out 1

4 min, 1 ball

Extras (b4,lb5,w10) 19

Total (for 8, 209min, 50 overs) 256

Fall: 1-132 (Atherton), 2-170 (Stewart), 3-191 (Hick), 4-218 (Knight), 5-218 (Hussain), 6-223 (Brown), 7-246 (Croft), 8-246 (Gough).

Did not bat: A D Mullally.

Bowling: Wickramasinghe 5-0-29-0 (one spell), Perera 9-0-44-2 (w4) (4- 0-17-0 2-0-11-0 2-0-6-0 1-0-10-2), Dharmasena 9-0-47-0 (w1) (3-0-16-0 3-0-13-0 2-0-11-0 1-0-7-0), Muralitharan 10-0-34-5 (1-0-5-0 4-0-10-1 3- 0-15-1 2-0-4-3), de Silva 2-0-10-0 (one spell), Jayasuriya 8-0-45-0 (4- 0-24-0 1-0-3-0 3-0-18-0) Chandana 7-0-3 8-1 (w2) (4-0-22-0 3-0-16-1).

Progress: 50: 36 min, 53 balls. 100: 72 min, 107 balls. 150: 117 min, 175 balls. 200: 169 min, 249 balls. 250: 206 min, 296 balls. 15 overs score: 83-0. Knight's 50: 83 mins, 65 balls, 3 fours. Atherton's 50: 76 mins, 50 balls, 6 fours.

SRI LANKA

S T Jayasuriya b Gough 0

R S Kaluwitharana c Hick b Croft 68

M S Atapattu not out 132

P A de Silva c Brown b Gough 34

*A Ranatunga c Knight b Martin 1

U D U Chandana c Knight b Croft 2

H P Tillakaratne not out 10

Extras (lb7 w6) 13

Total (for 5, 47.1 overs) 260

Fall: 1-2 (Jayasuriya), 2-140 (Kaluwitharana), 3-210 (de Silva), 4-224 (Ranatunga), 5-233 (Chandana).

Did not bat: H D P K Dharmasena, S A Perera, G P Wickramasinghe, M Muralitharan.

Umpires: D J Constant and D R Shepherd. TV replay umpire: J C Balderstone.

Match referee: Ahmed Ebrahim.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee