England 154-1 (Alstair Cook 77*, Andrew Strauss 61, Tillakaratne Dilshan 1-16) trail Sri Lanka 275 all out (Mahela Jayawardene 105, Angelo Matthews 57, Thilan Samaraweera 54, Graeme Swann 4-75) by 121 runs.
England was cruising well in their first innings due to a solid opening stand of 122 runs against Sri Lanka and was chasing well at 154 with 9 wickets in hand.
The Islanders were bowled out for 275 at an average of 2.47 runs in 111.1 overs in their first innings. England scored 154 averaging 2.33 runs in 66 overs after losing just one wicket at the end of the second day’s play.
Earlier, the Lankan Lions resumed their first innings at 238 runs after losing six wickets in 90 overs whereas Angelo Matthews and Suraj Randiv were unbeaten on 41 and runs respectively. England started off with James Anderson and Steven Finn, they bowled according to their line and length while the runs were difficult to earn. Matthews achieved his fifty on the fourth ball of the 97th over which was pulled through midwicket for four. The home side managed just 19 runs after the end of the 100th over which was bowled by Graeme Swann.
The visitors got the first success of the day when Randiv was caught superbly by Kevin Pietersen at deepish mid-on off Swann for 12. The seventh wicket fell at 258 runs and Angelo Matthews departed three runs later for 57. The tail order batsmen were unable to add many runs and the whole team was sent back to the pavilion for 275 runs after 111.1 overs.
Graeme Swann was the highest wicket taker with four, Anderson held three, Tim Bresnan two and Steven Finn chipped in with one wicket.
England started off with their established openers, Captain Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook as much was expected from their skipper. They initiated the innings with caution without taking any chances and scored 41 runs at the end of the 15th over. The runs were hard to score and they could strike just one boundary from over no 16th to 36th when tea was taken and the score board showed 83 runs without losing any loss.
The duo continued their observant approach after tea interval while ticking the score at regular intervals. Strauss scored his much needed fifty on the fifth ball of the 43rd over by taking a single which was cheered by hundreds of English spectators present in the ground. Cook followed him and posted his fifty on the second ball of the 46th over while dispatching a four and was hailed byhis countrymen and supporters.
The openers produced a solid stand of 122 runs for the first wicket when Andrew Strauss was caught behind by the wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene on the bowling of Tillakaratne Dilshan for 61 off 126 balls with 4 fours. Jonathan Trott came in next and provided a solid stand to Alastair Cook who was consolidating at the other end. England reached at 154 without losing any further wicket in 66 overs at stumps on the second day whereas Cook was at the crease with 77 and Trott was batting at 15.
England is in a sound position, would like to carry on and end their first innings with a solid lead which can provide them a chance to win the match. Sri Lanka will be anticipating some early wickets on the third day which can put them back in the match.