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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
England's costly drops
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport at Lord's

Jayawarden went on to score a century
Strauss fails to hold on to a regulation catch to dismiss Jayawardene
England could have finished Sri Lanka off within three days in the first Test at Lord's but instead they were still labouring on the final day in search of a result.

That quest failed, as captain Andrew Flintoff admitted, because the team dropped nine catches.

Wicket-keeper Geraint Jones and his slip fielders were to blame for seven of the errors, with Alastair Cook at gully and Paul Collingwood at point accounting for the final two.


Drop one: Mahela Jayawardene by Geraint Jones (keeper) off Andrew Flintoff
Batsman on 34, made 61. Cost = 27

Those critics calling for Jones' head were given further ammunition as he missed an opportunity to dismiss the lynchpin of Sri Lanka's batting line-up.

This chance was far from easy, though, as it flew to the right of the diving wicket-keeper.

Debutant Sajid Mahmood took three wickets after this chance went down and there was a run-out.

But Sri Lanka skipper Jayawardene survived to stumps and gave his side a springboard to add 107 for the last four wickets.


Drop two: Chaminda Vaas by Alastair Cook (third slip) off Andrew Flintoff
Batsman on 9, made 31. Cost = 4 (until next chance)

England bowled Sri Lanka out for 192 in their first innings but it could have been much less had they finished off the tail.

Vaas could have been out twice in a single delivery as Cook parried the edge into the air and Andrew Strauss, running behind him from second slip and diving, failed to hold on.

Cook, joining the slip cordon for the first time in England, appeared to be in two minds how to position his hands for a chance that came at chest height.

Drop three: Chaminda Vaas by Andrew Strauss (second slip) off Liam Plunkett
Batsman on 13, made 31. Cost = 18

Given a second chance soon after the first, Strauss missed out with a regulation chance towards his waist, which he fumbled forwards.

Vaas made only 18 more but his ninth-wicket stand of 61 with Nuwan Kulasekera occupied 13 overs - almost an hour.

Drop four: Kumar Sangakkara by Geraint Jones (keeper) off Monty Panesar
Batsman on 37, made 65. Cost = 28

After being denied any chance to bowl in the first innings, Panesar was wonderfully accurate against Sangakkara, one of the world's best players of spin.

Andrew Flintoff drops Kapugedera
Flintoff drops Kapugedera in the slips on Monday morning
Jones was to blame again but this was a difficult reflex chance off an attempted sweep that the keeper just managed to get a glove to at shoulder height.

A catch there would have ended a century partnership for the second wicket but thankfully for England the same combination accounted for Upul Thangara shortly afterwards.


Drop five: Farveez Maharoof by Paul Collingwood (third slip) off Andrew Flintoff
Batsman on 30, made 59. Cost = 29

With the old ball swinging early in the day, England deserved to gain edges but could not. Once the second new ball was unwrapped, though, they should have got some reward.

Collingwood normally fields at point rather than in the slip cordon and most fielders would not even have been able to get a hand to the ball as he did, leaping high to his right.

Maharoof struggled against England's seamers but found time for a series of fine boundaries, including a hooked six, before lobbing Mahmood to mid-off.

Drop six: Mahela Jayawardene by Andrew Strauss (third slip) off Matthew Hoggard
Batsman on 58, made 119. Cost = 61

After a fine morning's work, Hoggard howled in frustration as Strauss shelled a chance that reached him at knee height after dipping late.

Jayawardene went on to his second century in successive Tests at Lord's but also took the lead in key partnerships of 113 with Maharoof and 68 with Tillakaratne Dilshan.

On the fifth morning Strauss was given extra catching practice by coach Duncan Fletcher, directly in front of the media centre and replaced at second slip by Andrew Flintoff.


Drop seven: Chamara Kapugedera by Andrew Flintoff (second slip) off Matthew Hoggard
Batsman on 5, made 10. Cost = 5

England began the final day desperate to take the remaining four wickets and no-one can have been more desperate than veterans Flintoff and Hoggard.

The light was not good but Flintoff was distraught to miss a chance to punish Kapugedera's loose drive when he put down the resulting thick edge.

It was arguably the easiest chance of all, just to the England skipper's left at stomach height, but he could not hold on as he fell, juggling, to the floor.

Teenager Kapugedera added only five, but he bought Sri Lanka a further 19 runs and 27 minutes in partnership with Tillekaratne Dilshan, with the clock ticking.

Drop eight: Nuwan Kulasekara by Alastair Cook (gully) off Sajid Mahmood
Batsman on 14, made 64. Cost = 50

At 1355 BST, Mahmood could have struck with the second ball of his second spell, with a short, hostile delivery.

All Cook had to do was hold on at gully to an edge he must have expected from a tail-ender.

Cook's only defence could be he was wearing leg pads in case he was asked to move closer to the wickets, which possibly impaired his mobility.

It was 1650 BST by the time Kulasekera finally departed, having shared in a record Sri Lanka partnership of 105 for the ninth wicket with Vaas and claiming the highest Test score for a number 10 batsman from Sri Lanka.

Drop nine: Chaminda Vaas by Paul Collingwood (point) off Sajid Mahmood Batsman on 41, made 50no. Cost = 9 Most of the damage was done by the time Collingwood got his fingertips to a high edge as he leapt at point.

Had he taken the catch, England would have needed 169 to win off 24 overs but the subsequent bad light made calculations academic.

Collingwood's athleticism meant he got near a chance most others wouldn't but his glum expression told the tale.

Total cost = 231 runs

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