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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Day five at Lord's as it happened
England 551-6 dec drew with Sri Lanka 192 & 537-9

England drew the first Test with Sri Lanka at Lord's after a combination of dropped catches and brave batting from the tourists denied them victory.

Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Kulasekera put on a Sri Lankan ninth wicket record stand of 105 as they finished on 537-9.

Kulasekera, dropped on 14 by Alastair Cook, reached his maiden fifty in style with a six off Monty Panesar.

England had revived victory hopes with two scalps in a rain-hit first session but did not strike in the afternoon.



1827: Umpires Koertzen and Dar go back out to remove one of the stumps to signify the match has been drawn. A combination of dismal fielding from the hosts and brave batting from the visitors means the teams go to Edgbaston a week on Thursday on level terms.

1743: The players go off for bad light and the manner of the embrace between Flintoff and Muralitharan suggests that a return is unlikely.

1742: Vaas tickles a leg-side Hoggard delivery to complete his fifty in four hours and 12 minutes, having faced 187 balls. A match-saving innings if ever.

1739: Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody is laughing and joking with his players on the balcony. They know it's job done as far as they are concerned. Their team have scored the highest second-innings total in a Lord's Test.

1736: Mahmood sends down a short delivery, prompting a chat between Vaas and Aleem Dar. Both umpires look over the pavilion and the end cannot be far away.

1735: Vaas pulls a Hoggard no-ball for four and the atmosphere has gone flat. The clouds are gathering and unless a wicket falls in the next few minutes the game will be over.

1730: Yet another dropped catch, this time by the usually brilliant Collingwood at point off Vaas, denies Mahmood a wicket and all but ends England's chances of forcing a win.

1727: Flintoff takes himself off and brings on Mahmood. A wicket now would leave England 168 to win off 24 overs.

1726: Muralitharan keeps out six deliveries from Hoggard and England's chances are rapidly receding.

1720: Flintoff scrapes his feet on the ground, playing the bull to Muralitharan's matador. The two are great friends from the Sri Lankan's Lancashire days and they grin broadly at each other. Muralitharan keeps out the first and pulls the second for a single down to backward square-leg.

1719: Six overs have been taken off so 28.5 are left today. If a wicket falls in this over, to be completed by Flintoff, England will have 26 - two are removed for the change of innings.

1711: The umpires go back out and the light does seem to be improving. Play is expected to resume in around 10 minutes.

1655: That was not great thinking by the England captain, it leads the umpires to meet again and Vaas doesn't hang around waiting for an offer.

1654: Ominously, the umpires have a word with Flintoff about the light. The England skipper gambles by bowling himself and hits Muralitharan on the hand with a short-pitched delivery.

1650: WICKET SRI LANKA 526-9 Kulasekara 64
England get the breakthrough they were praying for when Kulasekara, after playing so well, mis-times a pull off Hoggard and Pietersen holds on at deep square-leg. It's game on again!

1645: Collingwood produces a lifting delivery which Kulasekara appears to glove - with his bat off the hand - and Aleem Dar adjudicates correctly again. England, meanwhile, have been in the field for 18 hours.

"I still think we can get six an over - I've seen their seamers and the pitch is still very good - but we don't want more than that"
TMS analyst Geoff Boycott

1641: Kulasekara forces Mahmood through the covers for three to bring up the century partnership and break Sri Lanka's record for the ninth wicket against any team.

"I don't buy in to this Sri Lanka have pulled off an amazing comeback stuff. This is all England's fault. How do we expect to be the best side in the world if we can't win from a 359-run first-innings lead. The Aussies would have won this match on Saturday. And trust me, they'll find this performance hilarious"
Paolo55 on the TMS messageboard

1628: Flintoff looks absolutely shattered - and so he should after sending down his 66th over of the match. His captaincy may have been suspect but he has produced a typically lion-hearted effort with the ball.

1622: Kulasekara is confused by a slower ball from Mahmood and looks pretty adjacent when it hits on the front pad but Rudi Koertzen says 'no'.

1617: A jittery attempt at a quick single almost leads to a run-out when Pietersen misses with his direct hit. Kulusekara, who now has the highest score by a Sri Lankan number 10, is then lucky when his lofted cover drive runs away harmlessly for two.

1611: It has become attritional stuff but Vaas breaks the tension with a single. The crowd is creating a frenzied atmosphere which might fizzle out if a breakthrough doesn't come quickly.

1602: Flintoff produces a snorter of a delivery which rips past Vaas' outside edge. Only two teams have won a match after being asked to follow on - England (Sydney 1894 and Headingley 1981) and India (Calcutta 2001) - with Australia the losers each time.

1601: Flintoff charges in for the first over, Hoggard urges the crowd to get behind the team and they respond with some demands of their own - for a wicket.

1600: The players are back out for the final, and potentially most thrilling session of this match. Will England bowl Sri Lanka out and manage to chase a tricky target? Will the light hold for the whole of the session? Lots of questions, mostly about England's performance whatever the result.

TEA: SRI LANKA 510-8 (Vaas 34, Kulasekara 55)

1540: The light has got worse and umpires Koertzen and Dar offer it to the Sri Lankans who accept it gladly and go off for an early tea. Flintoff has a laugh with Rudi - maybe he is more relieved than the tourists?

"Don't be surprised by our performance, we are not Bangladesh. Despite our current ICC ratings we have always been a good side"
niceRoos on the TMS messageboard

1538: Flintoff gives a wry smile when Kulasekara angles the ball down to third man for four and take the lead past 150. Victory is slipping further and further away from England's grasp by the minute.

1532: Kulasekara completes his first Test fifty in magnificent style, thrashing Panesar for his second six over mid-wicket to take Sri Lanka past 505 - much to the delight of the visiting camp. He embraces Vaas, with whom he has put on 82, a Sri Lankan record for the ninth wicket against England.

1531: Vaas pulls Plunkett through mid-wicket for two to collect his first runs in 32 minutes but Sri Lanka will be delighted with his occupation of his crease.

1525: Kulasekara, with his confidence soaring by the minute, gets down on one knee and heaves Panesar effortlessly over the rope at deep mid-wicket for six. The lead is now 138 and although there are 50 overs left, England cannot afford to let this go on for much longer.

"Flintoff has been stereotypical today. I don't think he has covered himself in glory with his captaincy"
TMS analyst Mike Selvey

1517: Panesar returns after bowling with great control in a brief spell before the new ball was taken. Is it mere coincidence that it has happened under the temporary leadership of Strauss while Flintoff has gone off the field?

1511: Kulasekara caresses a half-volley from Mahmood through extra-cover for four sumptuous runs. That was a shot of the highest class.

"Very few tail-enders come into bat with a chest pad and if they get hit once they tend to go down like a sack of potatoes and don't want to hang around for much more!
Geoff Boycott advises England to bowl some brutish short deliveries

1500: Kulasekara plays a lofted cover drive off Flintoff for two to take the partnership up to 62 - they added 61 in the first innings

1450: More frustration for England as Vaas edges Hoggard wide of the slips and pulls for two to move to 30. Flintoff is wearing the expression of a man starting to get agitated.

"I get the impression with England that after getting 550 they have become complacent and drifted, as if they just have to go out there and win"
TMS analyst Geoff Boycott

"If they really are the second best team in the world this game should have been polished off by now"
Commentator Jon Agnew shares Boycott's dissatisfaction

1442: More sloppy bowling allows Vaas to flick Flintoff down to the fine-leg boundary and bring up the fifty partnership. The lead is now 113.

1440: Kulasekara wafts a loose Flintoff delivery convincingly through the on-side for four more runs. A top-order batsman would have been proud of that! Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody is looking very relaxed sitting on his team's balcony.

1437: Vaas drives elegantly but a sprightly piece of fielding from Panesar - yes it was Monty - keeps them down to two and the cheers are more congratulatory than mocking now.

1435: Flintoff launches an appeal for lbw, which Aleem Dar rules would have missed leg stump. He has words with the umpire but replays show there was enough doubt to give Kulasekara the benefit.

1433: Kulasekara is beaten by two good Flintoff deliveries he gets to move up the slope but in between he edges wide of Collingwood at third slip for four more. England will now have to score more than 100 to win.

1430: Flintoff hands Hoggard the new cherry and warm applause rings out around the ground. There is swing and bounce immediately and Kulasekara wafts at the last ball - a wicket looks more likely than in the previous hour.

1420: Panesar continues even though the new ball is available. But there is no turn apart from when he lands it in the rough.

1417: There are oohs and aahs as Kulasekara gets through his shot too quickly and the ball lobs back towards new bowler Collingwood but it drops short.

1414: Panesar bowls a second successive maiden but the ninth-wicket partnership is worth 34. The new ball is due soon and likely to be taken.

1411: Kulasekara tickles a wayward Mahmood delivery down to the fine-leg fence to overtake Vaas (17) and move on to 18. The lead is now 96 and the two batsmen punch gloves mid-pitch.

1406: Flintoff finally turns to Panesar's left-arm spin for the first time today and the crowd of around 2,000 wakes up as he completes a maiden.

"I just can't help thinking that by 4pm I'll be listening to you saying, 'England are 61 for six'"
Peter emails TMS with pessimism spreading like wildfire

1402: An MCC member uncorks a bottle of champagne - it's far too early for that.

1401: Vaas steals a single off Plunkett's last ball - again through a Pietersen misfield - to retain the strike and bring up Sri Lanka's 450.

"If you had to pick a bowler that could take us apart with only a hundred or so to bowl at - there's only two I could think of - Warne and Murali. Warne nearly did it in the Ashes and we were playing much better cricket then!"
i_amManForAllSeasons expresses the air of anxiety now being felt by some England fans on the TMS messageboard

1355: Kulasekara plays away from his body and guides Mahmood straight into the hands of Cook at gully - only for the ball to slip out of an England fielder's grasp for the eighth time in this match. The crowd voice their disapproval and the disconsolate Cook's face tells a thousand words!

1351: A quick single takes Sri Lanka up to 449 - their highest ever second-innings score in Tests and the way these two have batted they could be in line for a few more still.

1348: Kulasekara gloves a short ball down the leg-side and just wide of a diving Jones for four more. That lead is creeping up steadily towards 100.

1347: Kulasekara twice picks up twos off Flintoff, the second as a result of sloppy fielding from Pietersen - England have not been impressive in that aspect of the game.

1344: Plunkett errs in line and Vaas drives with little fuss past point for his third boundary. He moves to 14 and the lead is now 80.

1341: Flintoff bangs several deliveries in short but, surprisingly, there are no close fielders and Kulasekara survives.

1335: Kulasekara drives a good-length Plunkett ball down the ground in assured fashion. He does not look your typical number 10 so the hosts might have to wait longer than they would like.

1332: Vaas comfortably sees off the first over from Flintoff.

1327: Flintoff leads his players out for what he hopes will not be long. Vaas has scored more than 2,000 Test runs, however, and looked organised before lunch.

1325: The covers are off and we should see some action in around five minutes.

"They'll be doing a couple of rain dances in the Sri Lanka dressing room and Tom Moody will be on his computer checking out the forecast but Vaas is a handy lower-order batsman"
Ex-England captain Alec Stewart on TMS

LUNCH - SRI LANKA 429-8 (Vaas 10, Kulasekara 0)

1239: The rain appears to have become heavier and the umpires call a halt for what will presumably be an early lunch.

1234: Vaas, betraying his lack of confidence in the remaining two batsmen, goes on the attack to pull Mahmood for successive fours. Another 50 or 60 runs will make this more interesting than England would like.

1230: WICKET SRI LANKA 421-8 Dilshan 69
Plunkett gets his reward for a terrific spell, drawing Dilshan into edging to the safest pair of hands in the England team - Trescothick at first slip. The lead is 62.

1227: Plunkett, who bowled a fine spell on Sunday, continues the good work with a superb delivery which swings and seams but Dilshan uses soft hands to play the ball down to the slips.

1222: Dilshan remains unflustered and pulls Mahmood with aplomb to move to 68.

1221: There is drizzle at Lord's and Rudi Koertzen is starting to get twitchy. They could be coming off soon.

"Thanks to Phil for his weather forecast from Harpenden, but today we've got a southerly wind which means the weather he sees is going north and away from Lords. You'll be glad to know the sun is breaking through in Portsmouth!"
Ken in the TMS inbox

1214: Vaas looks in determined mood to hang around and provide support for Dilshan, who pulls Flintoff quite majestically for four more. If these two are still there at lunch, England will start to get a little anxious.

1208: Dilshan gets into a tangle trying to hook Flintoff but the ball drops down harmlessly on the on-side and they take a single to extend the lead to 50.

"It's raining and very dark in Harpenden (31 miles north of Lord's). Hurry up England!"
Phil writing in to TMS

1203: Dilshan chops a Hoggard delivery down to third man for three, with a nifty piece of footwork from Collingwood saving a run.

1156: WICKET SRI LANKA 405-7 Kapugedera 10
Relief for Flintoff as Kapugedera makes a mess of a pull and gets a thick edge which loops behind to Jones. The visitors are effectively 46-7 now.

1148: Dilshan produces an authoritative on-drive to pick up his ninth boundary and take Sri Lanka past 400 - it did not seem likely on Saturday morning.

"England have to be very patient and work the hardest they have in this match because this is the third day in the field for them and there is a lack of swing this morning. They have to keep hoping the Sri Lankans will make a mistake"
TMS analyst and former England skipper Mike Gatting

1143: A loud appeal from Flintoff for leg-before against Dilshan but it looked to be high and going down the slope. A good decision from Aleem Dar.

"England seem determined to let Sri Lanka off the hook. People talk about Geraint Jones but, if we are honest, he is the least of the culprits. It looks like only an lbw or clean bowled will take a wicket now"
Mark in the TMS inbox

1138: Kapugedera skies an attempted pull off Hoggard but the ball lands safely away from Panesar - in every sense.

1133: Dilshan forces Flintoff off the back foot through the covers in confident style for four. The next ball is flicked down to fine-leg and for the second time in the innings Panesar stops the ball while touching the rope to bring up fifty for Dilshan. Sri Lanka's lead is now 37.

"That could be the vital moment of the day - the one that potentially saves Sri Lanka from defeat"
TMS commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins fears the worst

1129: Another bad miss in the slips as, of all people, Flintoff drops a regulation chance off Kapugedera when Hoggard finds the outside edge. England have spilled seven opportunities in this match.

1128: The volume cranks up when Dilshan wristily flicks a Hoggard delivery through deep mid-wicket for three and crowd favourite Panesar gathers the ball.

1125: Flintoff starts with a maiden and, so limited is the crowd presence, you can hear the fielders' encouraging words clearly.

1121: Sri Lanka get going with two leg-byes, greeted by polite applause from the smattering of people who have turned up.

1118: Flintoff and his team come out sporting relaxed smiles - will there be more frustration for them this morning? Hoggard will bowl the first over.

1110: We could have play until 1850 if required but, with the sun coming out in St John's Wood, England will aim to wrap up proceedings well before that.

1039: The umpires confirm that play will start at 1120, and with a brighter forecast for the afternoon, England will remain hopeful of securing victory.

1030: The start of play is delayed although it is looking brighter in north London.

0958: There is light drizzle and the covers are on at Lord's. The England players are warming up at the indoor school. Play is unlikely to start on time.


England v Sri Lanka photos
15 May 06 |  Photo Galleries
Sri Lanka in England 2006
27 Jun 05 |  Future tour dates


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