2nd Test: England manage to stay world’s best

By AFP
Published: April 8, 2012

Strauss’ team carried relieved faces following England’s first win in five Tests on their Asian tour that started off with a 3-0 whitewash against Pakistan in the UAE. PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO: 

Graeme Swann claimed a match haul of 10 wickets as England roared to a series-levelling win over Sri Lanka in the second and final Test to retain their number-one ranking.

Swann followed his four wickets in the first-innings with six in the second as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 278 at the stroke of lunch on the fifth day.

England, set a modest target of 94, coasted home by eight wickets despite a brief stutter at 31 for two following the dismissals of captain Andrew Strauss for no score and Jonathan Trott for five.

Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen carried the tourists home with a brisk third-wicket stand of 66 off 69 balls, amid wild celebrations from the 5,000 travelling English fans at the ground.

Left-hander Cook remained unbeaten on 49 and Pietersen, who hit a century in the first-innings, smashed 42 from 28 balls, signalling his team’s emphatic victory with a six off Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Strauss relieved after status-saving win

“We are still number one, for a while yet, hopefully,” said Strauss, who has been under pressure for both his leadership skills and his poor form with the bat.

“The most important thing was winning the game. We did not want to walk away from Sri Lanka having lost the series. I’m delighted by the way the guys reacted to the challenge.

“At the end of the day this will look like a reasonably comfortable victory, but we all know how hard we had to work for that. It’s been a tough winter and we’re delighted to come through at the end of it.”

England’s first win in five Tests

It was England’s first win in five Tests on their Asian sojourn this year after being thrashed 3-0 by Pakistan in the UAE and losing the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. Strauss saluted Swann, man-of-the-match Pietersen and seamer Jimmy Anderson.

“Anderson was outstanding on an unresponsive pitch, Swann proved his worth once again and Pietersen showed everyone why he is such a special talent.”

Sri Lanka, currently ranked sixth, paid the price for not reaching 300 in either innings of the match and will remain without a series win since 2009, when they beat New Zealand at home.

Jayawardene rues hosts’ mistakes

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who ended with 354 runs in four innings at an average of 88.5 with two hundreds and a half-century, was declared the man of the series.

“We knew England would come hard at us because good players and good teams always step up to the plate,” said Jayawardene.

“We made a few mistakes. It was important to get a big first-innings score, which is always so important in our part of the world. We probably fell 100 runs short. And then KP came and turned the game around. His century shifted the momentum of the Test.

“We were outplayed on the first two days and that proved the big difference.”

Jayawardene paid rich tribute to Swann, saying he was one of the best spinners he had faced.

“We knew going into the series that Anderson and Swann would be the main threats because they can bowl well in any conditions. It was a hard-fought series.

“We made mistakes and we have to learn from that and become more consistent going forward.”

A Strauss

“At the end of the day this will look like a reasonably comfortable victory, but we all know how hard we had to work for that. It’s been a tough winter and we’re delighted to come through at the end of it.”

M Jayawardene

“We made a few mistakes. It was important to get a big first-innings score, which is always so important in our part of the world. We probably fell 100 runs short. And then KP came and turned the game around.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Raj
    Apr 8, 2012 - 10:14AM

    I do not understand this ranking system. Pakistan thrashed England 3-0. England thrashed India 4-0. England drew Sri Lanka 1-1 and still England are number one team. I am fan of England India and Pakistan Teams but I honestly feel that ranking system is not very scientific. ICC should abolish this ranking system and leave it the fans to appreciate and criticise their teams without any ranking.

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