England dominated the game till the last hour of Day 2, but Sri Lanka didn’t left away and indeed now they came back really strong that they are on verge of winning with match going into Day 5. After getting a decent lead on Day 3, Lanka continued the flow as a blistering Captain knock from Mathews led Lanka to grab a lead of 349. Later Prasad with the ball bowled out a magical spell as England lost 5 wickets in span of 18 runs. England now need 293 runs to win on Day 5 with 5 wickets in hand.

Continuing the 106 run lead, Jayawardene and Mathews played with a positive intent. They played some strokes to get the runs in a quick pace. In between Mathews completed his 15th test fifty. As things looked like going into Sri Lankan favour, Anderson got rid of Jayawardene for 79 as he nicked one to keeper. The wicket meant the fifth wicket partnership of Mathews and Mahela valued of 92 runs came to an end. Soon after the breakthrough was found, Plunkett sneaked with double strikes as he sent back Chandimal and Prasad in back to back deliveries. Things looked tough for Lanka as they were leading by only 169 runs with 3 wickets in hand. Hearth joined Mathews and both put on some valuable runs before Lunch without losing another wicket. They went to Lunch with 311 for 7 leading by 203 runs.

After Lunch, the pair became a headache to break for England as they were never giving up. Both the batsmen continued to play shots with ease as the poor lines from England never troubled them. Mathews went past his fourth test century in 153 balls. They put on 149 runs for eight wicket before Hearth was run out for a poor call from Mathews as players went for Tea after that wicket. Mathews was unbeaten on 149 at Tea with score 426 for 8, leading by 218 runs.

After the Tea interval, Mathews went past his second 150 mark in test and ended his innings on 160, his Test best score felling to Anderson. After that Eranga scored 20 to take the score to 457 before Anderson cleaned up the last man Pradeep which meant England needed to score 350 runs to win the match as well as series.

England openers came out to chase the total as they tried to resist till the end of the day. Robson and Cook played 15 overs putting on 39 runs and looked like they are going to chase it till Prasad came into attack. Prasad came to bowl his first over, innings’ 16th over as he scrapped double blow to opposition. First he cleaned up Cook and soon on the next ball trapped Balance for duck. Robson and Bell looked to play out the day but once again Prasad struck in his third over as Robson edged to Mahela at score on 50. Bell playing his 100th test was also victim of Prasad as he was cleaned up by him for 8. Plunkett was sent as night watchman but he played out a poor shot of his 12th ball, the second ball of last over of the day straight into hands of cover.

Now England needs 293 more runs to win and Sri Lanka needs just five more wickets. Root remained unbeaten on 6 and Prior and Ali yet to come to bat. And England can hope for a helpful hand from Jordan and Broad.

Score Details:

England: 365 all out and 57 for 5 (SD Robson 24; KTGD Prasad 4/15) need against Sri Lanka: 257 all out and 457 all out (AD Mathews 160; DPMD Jayawardene 79; L Plunkett 4/112, J Anderson 3/91) 293 runs to win

    Cricket Statistician and Journalist. Love to churn out facts and stats. Member of the Society of Cricket Statisticians of India (SCSI).

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