Sri Lanka set for win despite bowlers giving England hope
England’s bowlers may have worked wonders on the second day of the first Test with Sri Lanka, but given the struggles with Pakistan in their most recent series, it is hard to oppose the hosts at 4/11 to secure victory.
Sri Lanka were as short as 2/9 at one point having restricted England to 193 all out in their first innings chase of 318.
However, Sri Lanka themselves then followed England’s bad batting example by being restricted to 84/5 at the close of play.
Despite the good work of Graeme Swann in particular with the ball, England still find themselves 209 runs adrift of their opponents and realistically this figure cannot climb beyond 250 if they are to have any chance of gaining an unlikely victory.
The bad news for England is that the Galle pitch is beginning to show signs of deterioration and it will only suit the spinners more as the game continues.
This is important as Rangana Herath claimed six England scalps in the first innings and he is likely to be even more dangerous in the second innings.
The flaws uncovered by Pakistan about playing slow spin were exposed again and England were only saved from a truly mammoth deficit by Ian Bell’s 52 and the 88 added by their four bowlers.
Four of England’s top seven failed to reach double figures and at least one of these players will need to atone with a century in the second innings if England are to triumph.
It is 9/4 that England win and the obvious first job is to take the remaining five Sri Lankan wickets as quickly as possible, with a positive being that Mahela Jayawardene is one of these already out.
Then the pressure moves onto the batsmen, who will be eager to avoid the woeful run chases against Pakistan, especially the horrid 72 in the final innings of the second Test.
Alastair Cook is the favourite to be the top runscorer in England’s second innings at 7/2 and he will be keen to make amends on his duck in the first innings, which was his first in 49 innings’ for his country.