England lose sight of target after Muralitharan row

Sri Lanka 382 England 163-4
Click to follow

For the first six days of this Test series it appeared as though the bitterness created during England's last tour of Sri Lanka had been forgotten. Despite several contentious umpiring decisions the players looked to be getting on with each other pretty well and the ugly scenes of 2000-01 were but a bad memory.

However, any goodwill that existed evaporated as quickly as the last drop of moisture in this arid pitch when Nasser Hussain was accused by the Sri Lankans of making a foul and abusive remark to Muttiah Muralitharan.

In situations where the players' behaviour deteriorates it is normally poor umpiring that leads to a state of anarchy. But on this occasion it was the alleged incident between Hussain and Muralitharan that led to the gloves being taken off. From then on the friction between the teams was clear to see. The appealing became incessant and the reaction of the players to a negative response from the umpire was aggressive rather than understanding.

By the close of play it did not appear that England's tactics had worked; if anything, Hussain had fired up the home side. England were delicately placed on 163 for 4, still 219 runs behind Sri Lanka's first-innings total of 382. Hussain was not the only England player to be involved in a controversial incident on a day when Michael Vaughan's side wasted the advantage they had gained on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka had recovered from 278 for 8 to 382 for 9 before Muralitharan attempted to cut a delivery from Ashley Giles. The home side's last pair of batsmen were again frustrating England and had added 28 useful runs before the ball appeared to flick Murali's bat and go through to Chris Read behind the stumps. England went up for an appeal but it was cut short when Read dropped the ball and it rolled on to the off stump. Bending down to pick the ball up, the wicket-keeper noticed that the bail had fallen backwards rather than forwards and the England players appealed for bowled. The umpires, Daryl Harper and Aleem Dar, conferred but said not out.

Giles then appeared to gesticulate to Vaughan that he should ask for the third umpire to have a look at the episode. The England captain proceeded to have another chat with the two umpires who then asked for the incident to be viewed by the third umpire, and Muralitharan was rightly sent on his way - bowled.

Through reacting as he did Vaughan had broken a playing condition which states that "Players may not appeal to the umpire to use the replay system - breach of this provision would constitute dissent and the player would be liable for discipline". However, Clive Lloyd, the match referee, said Vaughan had politely enquired whether the batsman had hit his wicket and that the "common sense approach" should come into play.

That England had to wait until after lunch finally to bowl Sri Lanka out was a direct result of the unbalanced side they picked. On a couple of occasions on the first day it was clear that Vaughan needed another fast bowler in his side, and this was definitely the case yesterday. Giles and Paul Collingwood came on but neither looked threatening on a pitch that remains excellent for batting despite an infestation of ants.

Collingwood is now in the unenviable position of having to score the 90 extra runs accumulated to justify his selection. It did not appear that he would be needed after Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick had given England's reply a lightning start. The pair were racing along at five runs an over before Muralitharan was introduced into the attack.

In his third over he found the inside edge of Trescothick's bat, and four overs later he removed Vaughan with a superb leg-spinner. Mark Butcher was stumped as he attempted to come down the wicket and Hussain's unsatisfactory day ended when he was trapped plumb in front by Chaminda Vaas.


Second day; Sri Lanka won toss

SRI LANKA - First Innings

(Overnight: 277 for 7)

*H P Tillakaratne c Butcher b Flintoff 45

152 min, 115 balls, 4 fours

H D P K Dharmasena lbw b Giles 29

140 min, 91 balls, 4 fours

K A D M Fernando not out 51

135 min, 104 balls, 7 fours

M Muralitharan b Giles (TV replay) 19

26 min, 22 balls, 2 fours, 1 six

Extras (b1 lb15 nb2) 18

Total (126.4 overs, 519 min) 382

Fall (cont): 8-278 (Tillakaratne), 9-354 (Dharmasena), 10-382 (Muralitharan).

Bowling: Kirtley 33-10-109-2 (nb2) (7-3-17-1, 5-2-20-0, 3-0-18-0, 3-1-14-0, 9-4-16-1 6-0-24-0); Flintoff 24-5-60-2 (6-1-24-0, 4-1-11-0, 5-0-10-1, 8-3-7-1, 1-0-8-0); Giles 37.4-7-116-5 (10-3-44-1, 14-2-30-2, 3-0-11-0, 7-2-19-0, 3.4-0-12-2); Collingwood 9-3-13-0 (3-1-5-0, 2-1-3-0, 2-0-4-0, 2-1-1-0); Batty 18-3-59-0 (1-0-2-0, 6-1-19-0, 6-2-18-0, 1-0-5-0, 4-0-15-0); Vaughan 5-0-9-0 (one spell).

Progress: Second day: 300: 419 min, 101.4 overs. Lunch: 347-8 (Dharmasena 27, Fernando 39) 119 overs. 350: 488 min, 119.3 overs. Innings closed: 1.43pm.

Dilshan 50: 88 min, 70 balls, 8 fours.

Fernando 50: 123 min, 100 balls, 7 fours.

ENGLAND - First Innings

M E Trescothick c Dilshan

b Muralitharan 36

74 min, 61 balls, 5 fours

*M P Vaughan c Jayawardene

b Muralitharan 52

102 min, 77 balls, 8 fours

M A Butcher st Sangakkara

b Dharmasena 4

10 min, 8 balls, 1 four

N Hussain lbw b Vaas 10

21 min, 18 balls, 1 four

G P Thorpe not out 20

91 min, 80 balls, 1 four

P D Collingwood not out 19

87 min, 69 balls, 2 fours

Extras (b8 lb7 nb7) 22

Total (for 4, 51 overs, 194 min) 163

Fall: 1-89 (Trescothick), 2-100 (Butcher), 3-119 (Vaughan), 4-119 (Hussain).

To bat: A Flintoff, +C M W Read, A F Giles, G J Batty, R J Kirtley.

Bowling: Vaas 11-3-33-1 (7-2-25-0, 3-1-5-1, 1-0-3-0), Fernando 5-0-31-0 (nb5) (3-0-29-0 2-0-2-0), Dharmasena 12-2-42-1 (nb2) (3-0-17-0, 6-0-22-1, 2-1-3-0, 1-1-0-0), Muralitharan 16-6-28-2 (14-5-27-2, 1-0-1-0, 1-1-0-0), Jayasuriya 7-0-14-0 (one spell).

Progress: Second day: 50: 45 min, 9.5 overs. Tea: 89-1 (Vaughan 43) 18 overs. 100 in 84 min, 20.5 overs. 150 in 161 min, 41.5 overs.

Vaughan 50: 93 min, 70 balls, 8 fours.

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

TV replay umpire: P T Manuel.

Match referee: C H Lloyd (W Indies).