Moeen Ali remained unbeaten on 56 at tea © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Jun 24, 2014
England continued their dodged resistance against Sri Lanka in the second session with Moeen Ali leading from the front, unbeaten on 56. After rain spoiled most part of the first session, the Lankans had to find the breakthrough to avoid any last minute hassles like the one for England at Lord’s. But Joe Root and Moeen showed that the new face of England has the required temperament and skills to survive the pressure. England lost two in the session and are on 173 for seven.
Before the start of play, Mahela Jayawardene had already raised a few eyebrows by expressing unhappiness over England’s bowling tactics. And they were in no mood to let go off and a pounded the pressure on England with a few sledging. The Root and Moeen resistance was showing the frustration on skipper Angelo Mathews’ face, standing at the brink of leading his team to a historical win. Mathews had a go at Root and the umpires had to intervene to cool down the flaring tempers.
Root looked composed as was Moeen. The fact that they weren’t even interested in getting their bat in the V showed the extent to which they had curbed the natural instincts. Moeen had slowed down after hitting three boundaries early on while Root literally grinded the pacers. Lanka finally managed to break through with Root edging one to gully. Nuwan Pradeep was the man who got the breakthrough. Root’s resistance lasted for 108 balls in which he scored 31.
From thereon, it was Lanka vs Moeen’s defence. From the other end though, Prior was being tested by Herath from all sorts of angles. Unlike any other fifth day pitch, this one at Leeds was still firm thereby taking out vicious turn off the deck from the equation. Left-handed Moeen was moving at his own pace finally completing his maiden half-century. Prior though still looked unsettled as the kid running at long-on stand too disturbed his concentration.
Prior was finally peppered with short balls and once again fell prey to it. But the dismissal came with its own drama as the replays showed, Dhammika Prasad‘s foot was just on the line. After numerous replays, third umpire Paul Reiffle gave it in the favour of bowling side. Prasad completed his maiden five-for.
England will have a nervous two hours ahead with all their bets banking on Moeen and Jordan with birthday boy Stuart Broad to come.
Sri Lanka 257 (Kumar Sangakkara 79, Dinesh Chandimal 45; Liam Punkett 5 for 64, Stuart Broad 3 for 46) and 457 (M Jayawardene 79, Angelo Mathews 149*; Liam Plunkett 4 for 112) lead England 365 (Sam Robson 127, Gary Ballance 74; Shaminda Eranga 4 for 93, Angelo Mathews 4 for 44) & 173 for 7 (Moeen Ali 56*; Dhammika Prasad 5 for 39) by 177 runs.
Catch all news and updates of the Sri Lanka tour of England 2014 here
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)