England 351 Sri Lanka 105-2: Sidebottom and Prior combine to perk up England

Matt Prior and Ryan Sidebottom are not two of England's most high-profile cricketers. For each a walk down the High Street is rarely interrupted by a demand for autographs. But without their endeavour yesterday England would have been in a right pickle. It is not over-egging it to suggest that Michael Vaughan's side, after a seventh day of Test cricket in Sri Lanka, could already be out of the three-Test series.



The pair's initial contribution was made following the loss of two early wickets, dismissals that threatened to spoil much of England's hard work on Sunday. England began the second day of the second Test on 258 for 5 but when Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad were trapped plumb in front no controversy here on these occasions England appeared set to fall short of 300. Yet, with the doomsters gathering voice, Prior and Sidebottom rebutted Sri Lanka's finest for almost two hours, adding 74 valuable runs in an industrious and sensible partnership. The stand allowed England to post a reasonably competitive first-innings total of 351.

England's score became even more combative in the opening nine overs of the hosts' reply when Sidebottom dismissed Upul Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's in-form batsman. Each of Sidebottom's victims was well caught by Prior behind the stumps. The double strike reduced the hosts to 22 for 2, but in the final session of play the tourists were unable to make any further inroads. Michael Vandort, with an unbeaten 50, and Mahela Jayawardene, 43 not out, blunted England's attack, taking their side to 105 for 2 when bad light stopped play.

"We were a little bit disappointed with our total," admitted Sidebottom. "We were aiming for around 400 this morning but [Chaminda] Vaas and [Lasith] Malinga bowled well first up so it wasn't to be. But 350 is still a competitive score."

There is nothing more that a bowler loves than scoring a few runs down the bottom of the order but it was the dismissal of Sangakkara that gave Sidebottom the greatest pleasure. In Kandy, England's bowlers would have felt as though they were bowling at a brick wall while he collected 244 runs, but cricket is a great leveller and Sangakkara had to go when he edged the 10th ball he faced through to Prior.

On seeing the catch safely taken Sidebottom went galloping towards the cover point region, in Monty Panesar style, jumping for joy before swooping round like an aeroplane and returning to his team-mates. "You work so hard to get good players out so I was ecstatic to get his early wicket," he said.

The other three members of England's attack toiled gamefully, with Stuart Broad coming closest to taking a wicket. Broad's debut began horribly, when he was trapped lbw for two, and it became worse when he took the second over of the Sri Lankan innings. In his opening over umpire Aleem Dar expressed concern about where Broad's feet were landing in his follow-through and within five overs he had been warned twice. A third warning would have seen him banned for the remainder of the innings. Yet, in between the warnings and during a lively second spell from the other end, Broad highlighted why he is rated so highly. His bowling was straight and purposeful, and on another day a couple of aerial shots would have gone to hand. If he wants to bowl with freedom, though, he will have to ensure he keeps off the pitch.

Steve Harmison bowled reasonably well, too, sending down several hostile balls in 10 overs. In his first spell he bowled too short and Jayawardene left him comfortably, but he returned with a much better spell before the close. Panesar was once again disappointing and England are likely to need a significant contribution from him if they are to leave Colombo with the series level.

Sidebottom scored only 17 of the 74 runs added with Prior, who confirmed his position as England's No 1 'keeper with a fine 79 and another good display with the gloves. Much is expected of the modern wicketkeeper. Not only must they bat well; they need to be able to score quickly and smash it around, too. Prior is capable of both.

England continued to thrive until Muttiah Muralitharan found the outside edge of Sidebottom's bat. Harmison perished first ball and Prior's brave innings ended when he tried to slog the legendary spinner for six.

The wicket gave Murali, who once again did not bowl particularly well, the 62nd five-wicket haul of his Test career. How England would love to have a man capable of producing such figures during an indifferent day's work.

Scoreboard from Colombo

Second day of five England won toss

England First innings (Overnight: 258-5)

P D Collingwood lbw b Vaas.........  52

145 min, 96 balls, 7 fours

†M J Prior c and b Muralitharan.........  79

189 min, 130 balls, 9 fours

S C J Broad lbw b Malinga.........  2

12 min, 8 balls

R J Sidebottom c D P M D Jayawardene b Muralitharan.........  17

110 min, 81 balls, 1 four

S J Harmison c Silva b Muralitharan.........  0

6 min, 1 ball

M S Panesar not out.........  0

8 min, 7 balls

Extras (b 8, lb 2, w 0, nb 7, pens 0).........  17

Total (536min, 126.2 overs).........  351

Fall (cont): 6-269 (Collingwood), 7-272 (Broad), 8-346 (Sidebottom), 9-350 (Harmison), 10-351 (Prior).

Bowling: Vaas 32-8-68-2; Malinga 24-3-78-3; Fernando 23-3-79-0; Muralitharan 47.2-9-116-5 .

Sri Lanka First innings

M G Vandort not out.........  50

174 min, 91 balls, 5 fours

W U Tharanga c Prior b Sidebottom......... 10

30 min, 21 balls, 2 fours

K C Sangakkara c Prior b Sidebottom......... 1

11 min, 10 balls

*D P M D Jayawardene not out......... 43

131 min, 106 balls, 5 fours

Extras (b 0, lb 0, w 1, nb 0, pens 0).........  1

Total (2 wkts, 174min, 38 overs).........  105

Fall: 1-20 (Tharanga), 2-22 (Sangakkara).

To bat: L P C Silva, J Mubarak, †H A P W Jayawardene, W P U C J Vaas, C R D Fernando, S L Malinga, M Muralitharan.

Bowling: Sidebottom 11-1-35-2 (w1) (8-0-27-2, 3-1-8-0); Broad 11-3-19-0 (5-1-6-0, 6-2-13-0); Harmison 10-2-23-0 (5-2-10-0, 5-0-13-0); Panesar 6-0-28-0 (5-0-22-0, 1-0-6-0).

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak), D J Harper (Aus).



Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable