England register dramatic innings victory

Stuart Broad celebrates England’s Innings victory with team mates after taking the final wicket of Suranga Lakmal Getty Images

By Julian Guyer

Cardiff: May 31, 2011

Chris Tremlett inspired England to a sensational victory as they defied the elements to beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 14-runs in the first Test at Sophia Gardens here on Monday.

Sri Lanka were skittled out for just 82 in their second innings, with fast bowler Tremlett taking the first three wickets to fall on his way to a return of four for 40 in 10 overs on the final day.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann followed up with four wickets for 16 runs in seven overs as Sri Lanka’s dramatic collapse continued.

Stuart Broad finished off the match with two wickets in three balls, the tourists’ second innings ending in the 25th over in under two dramatic hours.

“I don’t think any of us thought it was hugely possible to get this result, but we knew we could have 50 overs to apply some pressure,” England captain Andrew Strauss told Sky Sports.

“There was some outstanding bowling from Chris Tremlett with the new ball, Stuart Broad as well, with Graeme Swann backing them up,” he added after England went 1-0 up in this three-Test series.

“We were on the receiving end of a similar result in Adelaide four years ago, and you can never relax in this game.”

England’s victory in their first Test since a 3-1 Ashes triumph on Australia was achieved despite rain, which fell throughout this match, washing out nearly a whole day’s play in total.

And the win came despite England being without James Anderson, who was ruled out from bowling in the remainder of this match on Saturday with a side strain.

Tremlett struck sixth ball to have Tharanga Paranavitana well caught low down at first slip by Strauss.

But it was all the 6ft 7in Surrey paceman’s own work when he caught and bowled Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan after a review confirmed the batsman had gloved a lifting delivery back to the bowler.

The experienced duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene hung around until tea.

But both former captains fell shortly afterwards.

The hostile Tremlett removed Mahela Jayawardene with the aid of a Strauss slip catch before Thilan Samaraweera played on to Swann for nought.

Sangakkara was then held by Strauss off Swann and 43 for five soon became 43 for seven.

Prasanna Jayawardene, who had defied England with a century in Sri Lanka’s first innings 400, fell for just three when he was given out on review, after gloving an attempted hook off Tremlett through to wicket-keeper Matt Prior.

England then reduced Sri Lanka to 52 for eight when Rangana Herath, swinging wildly, was lbw to Swann.

Test debutant Thisara Perera, primarily a seamer, top-scored in the innings with 20 before he was brilliantly caught by a diving Ian Bell at short leg off Broad.

And two balls later Broad, whose Ashes tour was cut short by a side injury, had Suranga Lakmal looping a catch to Alistair Cook in the slips to complete an improbable victory in equally unexpected bright sunshine.

There seemed little chance of England forcing a win after rain washed out the whole of Monday’s morning session and prevented play from resuming until 3.00pm local time (1400GMT).

England then added just five runs to their overnight total.

Strauss declared on 496 for five as soon as Ian Bell, who resumed on 98, completed a 159-ball hundred featuring a six and 11 fours.

Bell’s was the third century of an England innings that saw his Warwickshire team-mate Jonathan Trott score 203 and opener Alastair Cook 133.

Trott, now second only to Australia great Sir Donald Bradman in the all-time Test batting averages, was named man-of-the-match.

“I don’t pay attention to my average, I just want to contribute to the team,” Trott said ahead of the second Test, whicn starts at Lord’s on Friday.

Meanwhile a dejected Dilshan added: “I’m really disappointed. “We have to forget about it now and regroup and play some good cricket at Lord’s.”

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 400 (Prasanna Jayawardene 112, Tharanga Paranavitana 66, Thilan Samarweera 58; James Anderson 3 for 66, Graeme Swann 3 for 78) and 82 (Thisara Perera 20; Graeme Swann 4 for 16, Chris Tremlett 4 for 40) lost to England 496 for 5 dec (Jonathan Trott 203, Alastair Cook 133, Ian Bell 103*; Tillakaratne Dilshan 1 for 60) by innings and 14 runs.

Man of the Match: Jonathan Trott

Full Scorecard

AFP