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June 8, 2011 12:14 am

Sri Lanka resists England lightning

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So lightning did not strike twice – even if Matthew Prior’s bat somehow managed a direct hit on a window of the Lord’s pavillion.

England and Sri Lanka batted and battered each others’ bowlers to a draw in St John’s Wood on Tuesday, dashing hopes of a decent last day crowd for a repeat of the fireworks of Cardiff a week earlier.

Andrew Strauss shook hands with Thilan Samaraweera and Prasanna Jayawardene on 127-3 - effectively 127-4 in pursuit of 343 as injured captain Tillakaratne Dilshan was not going to bat except in dire need and will miss the final Test at the Rose Bowl

So we now know that both sides can bat – 1,400 runs-plus over five rain-spoiled days and bowlers giving up 100 runs five times – even if Sri Lanka seem dependent on their top 5 while England can get strokes even out of Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn. Both sets of bowlers, one Welsh session apart, need to find some wings.

This new-look touring side is without the cutting edge of Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas or the exuberant and energetic Lasith Malinga. So with a fresh captain, a stand-in coach and revolving selectors, it so far seems to lack the killer instinct.

Experience they have in plenty among the senior batsmen to help and guide the inexperienced and exuberant. With Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jawardene still playing, there should be enough collective nous to guide the tyros - even if Sangakkara, now stand-in captain again, does not seem in love with batting in England.

The form of Dilshan did not seem be hindered by captaincy on Saturday as he amassed 193 – but it has certainly been hurt by a Tremlett lifter that broke his thumb. Ajanta Mendis had a dismal test at Cardiff and was dropped at Lords, though left arm spinner Rangana Herath kept his place his place and got Kevin Pietersen, twice, along with Trott, Prior and Cook all when well set.

Half the seam attack is relatively new to English conditions, Suranga Lakmal and Chanaka Welegadara. The old guard consists of the not so consistent Dilhara Fernando, and the fast medium – and underbowled at Lord’s – Farveez Mahroof. The latter has signed for Lancashire this season and is already something of an Old Trafford icon. Glenn Chapple will be wondering if he can get his bowler back if Sri Lanka are only going to bowl him 24 overs in an entire game.

Prasanna Jawardene got a century at Cardiff. The other batsman apart from Dilshan who seems to have aquired some type of form is opener Tharanga Paranavitana who made 66 in the 1st Test and top scored with 44 in Sri Lanka’s block-out on the final Lord’s day.

Now if the Rose Bowl produces the kind of seam-friendly result wicket that Hampshire captain Dominic Cork has been demanding at his home ground, the bowlers will be much happer – except for the one left out of the England trio. If Jimmy Anderson returns, and Stuart Broad is undroppable, either Tremlett or Finn will have to sit it out.

Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott both continue to play the best cricket of their careers. Kevin Pietersen managed to deal with Herath at least until he had 72. Ian Bell’s dash to 57 off 43 balls was breathtaking at times. It seems bizarre that one concern over form might be Strauss, the rock of the team, and his own vulnerability to left armers – in his case seamers.

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