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Last Updated: Friday, 12 December, 2003, 11:08 GMT
England in trouble
2nd Test, Kandy, day three (stumps):
Sri Lanka 382 & 39-1 v England 294

Muralitharan dismisses
England were left fighting to save the second Test as Sri Lanka took a 127-run lead on day three in Kandy.

Sri Lanka accepted bad light an hour early rather than press the advantage at 39-1 in their second innings.

Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas had earlier taken four wickets each to reduce England from an overnight 163-4 to 294 all out.

Graham Thorpe hit a battling 52 and Gareth Batty 38 against a barrage of Sri Lankan spin bowling.

Despite losing out-of-form opener Marvan Atapattu lbw to Ashley Giles for eight, the home side were in a position to bat the tourists out of the match.

But Sanath Jayasuriya, on 25, and Kumar Sangakkara, unbeaten on one, instead opted not to face England's spinners late in the day.

It was a welcome respite for England, who were in dire straits after three wickets fell in the first hour.

Paul Collingwood added nine runs to his overnight 19 before he was fooled into edging a leg-cutter from left-arm pace man Vaas.

Andrew Flintoff started confidently, lofting Vaas for six over long-on, but was unwise to try to take on his former county colleague Muralitharan.

Attempting an expansive drive he was bowled off bat and pad, 16 runs improving his average in the subcontinent to 5.38.

Chris Read's eagerness to get off the mark against Jayasuriya saw him attempt a sweep to a quicker delivery.

However, the wicket-keeper was unlucky to be given lbw by umpire Daryl Harper when the ball struck outside off-stump.

Graham Thorpe grafted for four hours over his half-century
I was pleased I was able to occupy the crease for a long time and battle it out
Graham Thorpe
Batty and Thorpe re-focused the innings, and were unafraid against the spinners in seeing out 29 overs together.

Thorpe took four hours over his 33rd Test half-century, looking confident against Muralitharan despite hitting just five boundaries.

But the strain of facing eight successive maiden overs finally took a toll, and Thorpe was trapped lbw by a Murali leg-break.

Batty marshalled 38 runs from the last two wickets.

He batted at a snail's pace with Giles before the partnership was broken by Vaas, who then had Batty caught in the deep.

With hindsight, captain Hashan Tillakaratne may well have taken the second new ball earlier than the 110th over, but his side still held a firm grip over proceedings.


Sri Lanka: Hashan Tillakaratne (capt), Marvan Atapattu, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thilan Samaraweera, Upul Chandana, Chaminda Vaas, Dinusha Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan.

England: Michael Vaughan (capt), Marcus Trescothick, Mark Butcher, Graham Thorpe, Andrew Flintoff, Nasser Hussain, Paul Collingwood, Chris Read, Ashley Giles, Gareth Batty, James Kirtley.



Links to more Sri v Eng stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
England's Graham Thorpe
"All in all we battled hard"


Sri Lanka coach John Dyson
"We were very pleased with our performance"



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