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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
England produce dominant display
Second Test, Edgbaston:
England 138-3 v Sri Lanka 141 (day one, stumps)

L Plunkett
Plunkett had three wickets, and could even have had a fourth
England had an excellent opening day in the Edgbaston Test against Sri Lanka to be 138-3 at stumps replying to the tourists' inadequate 141 all out.

Mahela Jayawardene's decision to bat first backfired spectacularly as Sri Lanka were reduced to 82-8 before producing a dogged ninth-wicket stand.

Liam Plunkett was the pick of the England attack with figures of 3-43.

Openers Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss then put on 56 before Kevin Pietersen added some quick runs.

He was 30 not out at stumps, after launching Muttiah Muralitharan for six over long-off and treating Lasith Malinga with plenty of disdain.

He put on 56 with Alastair Cook, who fell lbw to Muralitharan 13 minutes before stumps for 23.

Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene had an awful day. He made a three-ball duck and, fielding at slip, then dropped Cook on two off Muralitharan.

But his biggest error happened at the toss.

Upul Tharanga
Upul Tharanga is bowled by Matthew Hoggard in the first over

After so much rain in the past week, the bright conditions at 1030 BST perhaps seduced him into thinking it was better to bat first.

Andrew Flintoff also said he would have batted first but in the event the ball swung and seamed for the first half of the day, and did little after that.

Matthew Hoggard struck with the fifth ball of the day as Upul Tharanga left a big gate between bat and pad, the ball swinging through the gap to rattle into his stumps.

But the star of the morning was Liam Plunkett, who took two wickets in his first over after Flintoff had intelligently introduced him after just half an hour.

First, Michael Vandort, who had replaced Jehan Mubarak in Sri Lanka's starting XI, edged Paul Collingwood to gully.

The prize wicket came just three balls later. Jayawardene, a centurion at Lord's, nibbled at a ball that left him a fraction and Geraint Jones accepted the catch.

Hoggard continued to bowl immaculately and was rewarded again when Collingwood took his second catch to end Thilan Samaraweera's fleeting resistance.

Kumar Sangakkara got to 25 before he was tempted to play at a wide delivery by Plunkett and nicked it behind.

The next man out was Farveez Maharoof. He was dropped twice, once by Collingwood - a brute of a chance - and once by Andrew Strauss, a much more basic slip catch.

But there was no major damage done, Sajid Mahmood having him caught behind by Jones for five as Sri Lanka stumbled into lunch on 65-6.

Tillekeratne Dilshan (27) was the first man to fall after lunch when Flintoff had him smartly held by Trescothick at first slip.

A Strauss
Strauss would have been angry to give his wicket away

The same man smoothly accepted another catch when Nuwan Kulasekara was outhought by Mahmood having lasted just eight balls.

England had Sri Lanka where they wanted them, and looking unlikely to make much more than 100.

And they would probably not even have made a three-figure score if Monty Panesar had not spilt a simple chance at mid-off before Malinga had scored.

Plunkett was the frustrated bowler and England were left striving for the ninth wicket as Chaminda Vaas - Sri Lanka's top scorer with an unbeaten 30 - and Malinga produced what was easily the best Sri Lankan partnership.

Finally, Panesar was introduced to the attack and immediately made amends for his earlier error when trapping Malinga lbw for 26.

Soon afterwards Muralitharan tried something outrageous against Flintoff and was caught at point as the Sri Lankan innings came to an end on the stroke of tea.

Malinga, brought in to pep up the Sri Lankan attack, was unable to fox England's batsmen despite his unusually low delivery point and Vaas bowled with little zest.

As ever, it was Murali who was the main threat.

He had Trescothick (27) caught behind in his first over and was also bowling when Strauss (30) was run out after responding too late to Cook's call for a single.

Jonathan Agnew column
25 May 06 |  England
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