England 551-6 dec Sri Lanka 91-6: Mahmood enjoys dream debut to leave Sri Lankans in tatters

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The Independent Online

Pietersen, who struck his third Test hundred in his 12th appearance, was not the only England player to shine on another day totally dominated by the home side. Sajid Mahmood claimed three wickets on debut in a blisteringly fast spell of bowling to leave Sri Lanka reeling on 85-6. When bad light stopped play the tourists had moved on to 91-6, still 460 runs behind England's first innings total of 551-6 declared.

Mahmood's performance will not have gone unnoticed in Australia, and Ricky Ponting and Co may now have another tall fast bowler to fend off in Brisbane in November. Matthew Hoggard, England's "Mr Consistency", claimed two scalps too, dismissals that took him to within one wicket of joining the 200-wicket club.

Sri Lanka's batsmen looked totally out of their depth against the hostility of Mahmood and the nagging accuracy of Hoggard and, weather permitting, there will further cheap wickets up for grabs today. Indeed, there is a very real possibility of England completing a resounding victory before the final whistle at the FA Cup Final is blown.

Pietersen's unforgettable maiden Test century came against Australia at The Oval. His exhilarating display sealed England's Ashes victory and yesterday, on the same total, he perished to a Chaminda Vaas inswinger.

Pietersen, and England, will cherish his innings in South London more, but scoring a century at the home of cricket is a special feat for any cricketer. England were in control of this one-sided Test well before Pietersen was out, and after warmly applauding him off the hallowed turf the capacity crowd gave Andrew Flintoff, England's favourite sportsman, a thunderous reception.

Flintoff did not disappoint either, striking two huge sixes in a breezy 33 before declaring England's innings closed with 30 overs of the day remaining.

Hoggard trapped both Sri Lankan openers plum in front in his first four overs but it was the five-over spell of Mahmood that caught the eye. In the build-up to this Test Mahmood has been compared to Stephen Harmison and in nine exceptionally fast balls he highlighted just why.

On numerous occasions he whizzed the ball down in excess of 90 mph, pace that was far too hot for the timid Sri Lankans. Kumar Sangakkara edged a loose drive to Marcus Trescothick at first slip, while Thilan Samaraweera and Chamara Kapugedera were struck on the pad before they knew what hit them. Taking three wickets in nine balls without conceding a run is not a bad way to start your Test career.

Sri Lanka's state of panic was exposed by the ludicrous run out of Tillekeratne Dilshan, who hit the ball straight to mid-off and ran. Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, might well have reached his ground had he set off straight away, but Dilshan's reaction was that of a player not in control of his actions.

If a criticism can be aimed at Pietersen, and it seems a trifle harsh to pick faults in a player who averages 65 for England in one-day cricket and 48 in Tests, it is that he has not gone on to post as many big scores as he should have. Yet in his second Test appearance at the home of cricket he looked determined to score a hundred.

Even though he was faced with a limited attack Pietersen batted properly. On occasions he has been guilty of trying to hit every delivery he faces for four or six, but here he treated the good balls with respect and put the bad ones away.

Bowling at Pietersen in this sort of mood is an unenviable task, and as Sri Lanka's seamers ran in to bowl they would have sensed him moving down the pitch towards them. To see a big, powerful man with a broad bat and a sharp eye acting in such a manner is very disconcerting, especially when it is your job to push him on to the back foot.

Yet there is not a member of Sri Lanka's attack that is fast or aggressive enough to force Pietersen on to the back foot without running the risk of being clubbed violently for four, and the hands of the fielders positioned at extra cover, mid-off and mid-on would have been sore last night after stopping dozens of powerfully hit drives.

The defensive fields were occasionally penetrated but the cricket was far from compelling. This had nothing to do with the efforts of Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, who shared a partnership of 123 - it was largely down to a lack of competition. With the exception of Muttiah Muralitharan the Sri Lankan bowlers provided few problems, with containment rather than taking wickets being their objective.

In an attempt to frustrate Pietersen, who is particularly strong through the leg-side, the tourists bowled outside off stump. But rather than heave across the line he hit through the covers. Pietersen scored more than half his runs through the off-side, a statistic rarely seen from him.

After the early loss of Hoggard, who was bowled by Vaas, Collingwood joined Pietersen. When batting, Collingwood must feel like a spoilsport because his presence deprives supporters of watching Pietersen and Flintoff bat together. He scored a composed half-century.

Collingwood fell in the over after Pietersen had perished, when he was bowled playing Muralitharan off the back foot. It gave the spinner his third wicket, but unlike Pietersen, and possibly Mahmood, his name will not appear on an honours board here.

Scoreboard from Lord's

England won toss

England - First Innings

(Overnight: 318 for 3)

M E Trescothick c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 106

252 min, 180 balls, 17 fours, 1 six

A J Strauss c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 48

119 min, 97 balls, 8 fours

A N Cook c Sangakkara b Maharoof 89

233 min, 184 balls, 11 fours

K P Pietersen lbw b Vaas 158

300 min, 205 balls, 19 fours, 2 sixes

M J Hoggard b Vaas 7

42 min, 37 balls

P D Collingwood b Muralitharan 57

161 min, 119 balls, 7 fours

*A Flintoff not out 33

38 min, 29 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes

ÝG O Jones not out 11

33 min, 22 balls, 1 four

Extras (b16 lb7 w4 nb15) 42

Total (for 6 dec, 591 min, 143 overs) 551

Fall: 1-86 (Strauss) 2-213 (Trescothick) 3-312 (Cook) 4-329 (Hoggard) 5-502 (Pietersen) 6-502 (Collingwood).

Did not bat: L E Plunkett, S I Mahmood, M S Panesar.

Bowling: Vaas 36-2-124-2 (w1) (6-1-11-0, 3-1-6-0, 2-0-5-0, 4-0-18-0, 6-0-20-0, 10-0-43-1, 5-0-21-1); Maharoof 28-4-125-1 (nb14 w2) (8-1-39-0, 5-0-29-0, 5-0-26-1, 8-3-22-0, 2-0-9-0); Kulasekara 25-3-89-0 (nb1 w1) (5-0-17-0, 1-0-3-0, 6-0-24-0, 5-1-19-0, 1-1-0-0, 6-1-24-0, 1-0-2-0); Muralitharan 48-10-158-3 (11-4-18-1, 2-1-2-0, 14-3-49-1, 21-2-89-1); Dilshan 6-0-32-0 (2-0-12-0, 4-0-20-0).

Progress: First day: 50: 62 min, 14.5 overs. Lunch: 86-1 (Trescothick 30) 28.1 overs. 100: 141 min, 34 overs. 150: 192 min, 46.5 overs. Tea: 199-1 (Trescothick 95, Cook 44) 59 overs. 200: 241 min, 59.4 overs. 250: 310 min, 76.3 overs. New ball taken after 81 overs at 275-2. 300: 345 min, 84.3 overs. Close: 318-3 (Pietersen 54, Hoggard 2) 90 overs. Second day: 350: 421 min, 100.3 overs. 400: 467 min, 110.3 overs. Lunch: 432-4 (Pietersen 120, Collingwood 31) 118 overs. 450: 506 min, 120.4 overs. 500: 552 min, 133.4 overs. Declaration at 3.18pm, early tea taken.

Cook's 50: 143 min, 116 balls, 5 fours. Pietersen's 50: 93 min, 62 balls, 9 fours. 100: 214 min, 129 balls, 14 fours, 1 six. 150: 290 min, 197 balls, 18 fours, 2 sixes. Collingwood's 50: 135 min, 103 balls, 7 fours.

Sri Lanka - First Innings

J Mubarak lbw b Hoggard 0

9 min, 7 balls

W U Tharanga lbw b Hoggard 10

31 min, 21 balls, 2 fours

ÝK C Sangakkara c Trescothick b Mahmood 21

102 min, 64 balls, 3 fours

*D P M D Jayawardene not out 40

117 min, 79 balls, 6 fours

T T Samaraweera lbw b Mahmood 0

8 min, 4 balls

T M Dilshan run out (Hoggard-Jones) 0

8 min, 3 balls

C K Kapugedera lbw b Mahmood 0

1 min, 1 ball

M F Maharoof not out 6

16 min, 8 balls

Extras (lb7 nb7) 14

Total (for 6, 149 min, 30 overs) 91

Fall: 1-0 (Mubarak) 2-21 (Tharanga) 3-81 (Sangakkara) 4-81 (Samaraweera) 5-85 (Dilshan) 6-85 (Kapugedera).

To bat: W P U C J Vaas, K M D N Kulasekara, M Muralitharan.

Bowling: Hoggard 8-2-14-2 (nb2) (7-1-14-2, 1-1-0-0); Flintoff 11-2-29-0 (nb2) (4-1-11-0, 3-0-7-0); Plunkett 6-0-32-0 (nb3); Mahmood 5-2-9-3 (one spell each).

Progress: Second day: 50: 74 min, 14.1 overs. Bad light stopped play 6.09pm.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) and R E Koertzen (SA).

TV replay umpire: N J Llong.

Match referee: A G Hurst.