A confident England galloped to lunch unscathed on 97, with Michael Vaughan stroking a slick 75 to put them on top on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka.
After winning the toss Vaughan and England began cautiously, wary of any early moisture and the threat of Chaminda Vaas. The pitch, although clearly a belter, offered a little bit of sideways movement early on and both Vaughan and Alastair Cook, his opening partner, were troubled by Vaas’s disciplined lines.
23 were scored from the first 10 overs as Vaas and Lasith Malinga applied the pressure, beating the outside edge of both openers with regularity. But when they strayed, Vaughan pounced - driving Vaas back down the ground before flicking the inconsistent Malinga through midwicket. Vaughan spoke of his desire that England take the attack to Sri Lanka’s support bowlers, after dealing with the ever-reliable Vaas and the constant menace of Muttiah Muralitharan. And after the first hour, he was true to his word, leading from the front and looking in wonderful touch.
While Vaughan conquered, Cook continued to struggle with his timing - in particular against Vaas, which was no disgrace given the disciplined lines he was bowling. Only when Dilhara Fernando was introduced could Cook break the shackles, smiting a half-volley through cover for a relieving four. Fernando was consistently wayward, though he did force a loose stroke from Cook who was squared up on off stump and dropped by a diving Mahela Jayawardene at second slip. On such a flat surface, it could be a very costly miss.
Inevitably, Muralitharan was thrown the ball early but he too struggled with his lines and Cook was decisive in his footwork, rocking back to pull a befuddled Muralitharan through midwicket for four. Vaughan was by now in sublime touch, cracking three handsome fours off one particularly wayward Fernando over: the first was sweetly timed off the back foot; a second hooked around the corner before a horrid bumper was pulled with Vaughan’s trademark swivel. Vaughan brought up his 16th Test fifty from 75 balls and was looking back to his majestic, imperious best.
Cook nudged and blocked his way to lunch for 21, and remained unbeaten which will be a huge relief to someone who has struggled all tour. But it was Vaughan who stole the show and, on such a true surface, ought to fill his boots after lunch.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Chaminda Vaas, england, England in Sri Lanka 2007, Lastih Malinga, Mahela Jayawardene, Michael Vaughan, Sri Lanka
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, December 9th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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