Collingwood builds on early setback

Durham 219-4 v Sri Lanka
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The Independent Online

Sri Lanka's bowlers did little to suggest they will strike fear into the England batsmen in the first Test next week during the rain-interrupted first day of their tour match against Durham here yesterday.

Despite an impressive opening burst by Chaminda Vaas, who claimed two early victims to reduce Durham to 17 for 2 at one stage, the tourists failed to bowl with any consistent accuracy as the hosts closed on 219 for 4.

Paul Collingwood dominated, hitting a fine unbeaten 103. The 25-year-old looked in command from the moment he arrived at the crease and his first century of the season came off 119 balls with 14 fours and two sixes. Gordon Muchall also impressed, compiling his maiden first-class fifty as he and Collingwood added 129 for the third wicket.

Sri Lanka looked far from impressed with the cold conditions throughout the 52 overs that were possible and only Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa looked remotely dangerous with the ball. After winning the toss, the Durham captain Jon Lewis took to the crease but was out almost immediately, Vaas finding his off stump. Vaas then snared Pratt for four in the same over, with the wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara taking a comfortable catch to leave the hosts in trouble.

After overcoming a shaky start, Muchall began to look more assured and he hit a splendid drive through extra cover for four in Ishara Amerasinghe's first over as the third-wicket partnership with Collingwood passed 50.

Spin was introduced in the 25th over with Thilan Samaraweera joining the attack. But Muchall immediately took a liking to his bowling as he flicked the ball through midwicket for another boundary before the rain came to halt proceedings for just over three hours. On the resumption, Muchall reached his half-century off 75 balls. He finally fell on 69 when he was caught by Russel Arnold at second slip off the bowling of Zoysa with the score on 146.

Nicky Peng was also caught by Arnold off the same bowler for 17, but Collingwood continued to dominate, with a rich array of strokes, including two sixes off Samaraweera. Ashley Thorpe, making his first-class debut, joined Collingwood and the pair added 24 before bad light brought an early close.

* Sri Lanka's off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is expected to return from a shoulder injury in time to play in the third Test against England on 13 June.

* Shoaib Akhtar could miss the second Test against New Zealand, starting today in Karachi, because of an ankle injury.

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