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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 December 2007, 11:49 GMT
England checked by Malinga burst
Second Test, SSC Colombo: (day one, close)
England 258-5 v Sri Lanka

By Jamie Lillywhite

Lasith Malinga
Malinga's late burst brought Sri Lanka back into the match

Lasith Malinga struck twice in two deliveries with the second new ball as England closed day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka on 258-5.

Michael Vaughan and Alastair Cook put on 133 in 39 overs, an England record for the first wicket against Sri Lanka.

Vaughan hit 12 fours in a fluent 87 but wickets fell in consecutive overs, Kevin Pietersen given out caught when the ball seemed to have been grounded.

Cook made a battling 81 from 234 balls before he was unfortunate to fall lbw.

Seeking to level the series following the disappointing final day slide in Kandy, Vaughan displayed a positive intent from the moment he chose to bat on an excellent looking batting surface in hot, humid conditions.


Counterpart Mahela Jayawardene suggested he was not too unhappy to bowl first, but neither the wily Chaminda Vaas nor the erratic Malinga was able to make an early breakthrough as England's openers ensured their team made the most of winning the toss.

After 10 overs he brought on Dilhara Fernando and, in a double change, Muttiah Muralitharan, who had taken 143 wickets in 21 previous Tests at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground - a record for an individual at any one venue - was introduced in the next over.

He began around the wicket to the right-handed Vaughan, but found surprisingly little turn in an initial four-over spell and a change of ends did nothing to improve matters as Cook hit him for two fours in the first over of his second burst.

Alastair Cook
Cook showed great resolve before falling to a debatable lbw decision

Fernando served up several loose deliveries which were exquisitely dispatched by Vaughan, but highlighted the extra bounce in the surface compared to the previous match in Kandy.

He then found the edge of Cook's bat and the ball flew at a perfect catching height, but bisected first and second slip and Jayawardene, diving to his right at second merely succeeded in distracting Kumar Sangakkara who appeared to be poised to take the chance.

Vaughan had seen plenty of the world's current number one Kumar Sangakkara in the first Test and played in similarly textbook fashion with an impeccably straight bat, while his cross-bat strokes were assured and played with precision.

The captain reached his 16th Test fifty from 75 balls when he hooked Fernando for his fifth boundary - by contrast Cook made 21 from 68 balls before lunch and when England's first century opening stand for 15 Tests was recorded from 194 deliveries his contribution was only 23.

Sri Lanka needed something out of the ordinary to produce a wicket and it duly arrived as Vaughan clipped Murali firmly off his pads and the ball wedged somewhere in the person of Jehan Mubarak at short-leg.

Cook began to find more rhythm in the afternoon session but Vaughan's dismissal, coupled with Murali extracting more turn as the pitch dried, slowed the scoring.

England were content to quietly consolidate but lost quick wickets after tea as the Sri Lankans tightened their lines.

Michael Vaughan
Vaughan showed signs of his best form to give England a fine start

Ian Bell, who made fluent half centuries in both innings in Kandy, looked strangely hesitant and was superbly caught by Mubarak, far more aware of the ball's location this time as he flew to his right at short-leg.

The first major talking point involved Pietersen, who edged Vaas to second slip, where Chamara Silva dived to his left but appeared to touch the turf with the ball before flicking it up for Sangakkara to scoop it diving to his right.

Umpire Daryl Harper sought assurance from colleague Aleem Dar and felt sufficiently confident to send Pietersen back to the pavilion without a call to the third official, reviewing the events with the aid of slow motion replays.

Pietersen watched the incident on the big screen but the decision had been made and he was left to vent his anger on his return to the dressing room.

Paul Collingwood provided a calming influence, and advanced down the wicket to launch Murali for four as the fifty stand with Cook was recorded from 98 balls, but umpire Harper was soon back in the spotlight again.

Malinga found immediate life with the new ball but his full length delivery to Cook pitched outside leg stump and was moving further away only for the dreaded finger to be raised.

There was no doubt about the next ball as Ravi Bopara was emphatically yorked, leaving England with work to do to post a strong total for a revamped attack featuring debutant Stuart Broad and recalled Steve Harmison to bowl at.

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