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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006, 18:34 GMT 19:34 UK
Jonathan Agnew column
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew reports on England
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent at Lord's

Captain Mahela Jayawardene's century has given Sri Lanka a slender lead of 22 with four wickets remaining and a changeable weather forecast for the final day.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

Mahela Jayawardene is comfortably the best Sri Lankan batsman on this tour, and his patient six-hour innings has given his team an outside chance of saving the Test.

Mahela Jayawardene
Jayawardene played an inspired captain's innings at Lord's

Even if England do finally force a victory, the fact that Sri Lanka have been able to take the game into the final day is a fine effort.

This has not been a match in which he was free to play all his shots - he has been forced to bat defensively in both innings - but he cut the pace bowlers strongly, and nudged comfortably off his pads.

Having scored a century on Sri Lanka's previous tour, Jayawardene has now become only the eighth visiting batsman to score two hundreds at Lord's.

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar is the only overseas player to score three.

TALKING POINT

Jayawardene's dismissal - caught behind down the leg side off Andrew Flintoff - appeared to be unlucky.

Clearly the ball brushed his sweater at about rib height, and early replays did not suggest that any contact had been made with his glove, although a snickometer graphic did show a small flicker at the vital moment.

Aleem Dar was the umpire, and the dismissal snuffed out Sri Lanka's best chance of setting England a testing fourth innings target.

KEY MOMENT

England's catching has been well below par throughout this game, and Jayawardene should have been taken by Andrew Strauss at second slip when he had scored 58.

Andrew Flintoff and Andrew Strauss
The normally safe hands of Andrew Strauss put down another chance

Matthew Hoggard was the unlucky bowler, and the chance was as straightforward as they come to that position.

It seems that England's fielders are not yet 'match sharp' in that you can have as much practice as you like, but there is no replacement for the real thing with the ball coming at you at 90 miles per hour against a difficult background.

FINAL DAY PROSPECTS

The forecast suggests that England might easily struggle to seal their win, and although the weather would play a part in that, credit would also have to go to the Sri Lankans for their fighting effort in the second innings.

There is still an outside chance of the visitors scoring another 150 runs, or so, and Murali putting England under pressure.

If that happens, this will rank as one of the most remarkable of Test matches.




SRI LANKA SQUAD GUIDE
 

SEE ALSO
Sri Lanka in England 2006
27 Jun 05 |  Future tour dates
Live cricket on the BBC
19 Apr 06 |  Cricket


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