Tuesday 21 November 2017

Cricket: Dilshan digs deep to keep pressure on England

A result is still possible in this Test despite the time lost to rain and the aggressive 193 from Tillakaratne Dilshan, which has stayed Sri Lanka's batting yips from Cardiff, at least for the moment. But if England's bowlers are to prey again on that bad memory and disprove those who feel this game is already at stalemate, they will need to straighten their erratic ways.

To Dilshan, England's seamers needed to be fuller and straighter and weren't, at least until Steve Finn took his wicket off his pads with one that darted in at him down the slope.

Before that, Dilshan carried on carving boundaries through the off-side and stealing runs only when he could not plunder them.

Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara had added 81 for the second wicket, when Sangakkara was dismissed by Chris Tremlett for 26, edging to Matt Prior with the fourth delivery off the second new ball.

That moment of success apart, England badly missed James Anderson for his different trajectory and method of taking wickets. It was certainly puzzling after the rampage of Cardiff why England's bowlers should be so wayward here. But over the past two days, all the vulnerabilities of a four-man attack were made plain, not least the problems caused when more than one bowler malfunctions.

Despite Finn's adequate success with the ball he was unable to transfer it to Broad and Tremlett yesterday during the 39 overs of play possible before rain brought a premature close.

Broad is obviously not the shoo-in he once was before the Ashes. If there is to be a result, and England begin today still 114 runs ahead, Broad and Co need to sharpen up and get quick wickets.

England Sri Lanka,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 10.30

Irish Independent

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