Eng v SL 2nd Test Day 2 Review: England in dominate control of the game

Eng v SL 2nd Test Day 2 Review: England in dominate control of the game

Moeen Ali England
England’s Moeen Ali (R) celebrates after scoring 100 runs on the second day of the second test cricket match between England and Sri Lanka. (Photo by SCOTT HEPPELL/AFP/Getty Images)

The visitors were found wanting on the second day of the 2nd Test as well after having been outplayed on the first day. England, who hold an unbeaten record at the venue, dominated the proceedings in all the three sessions. Leading 1-0 in the series, English skipper Alastair Cook must have been a mighty pleased captain after posting a huge total on the board that virtually sets the hosts a platform to ensure second consecutive innings victory.

Earlier on the day 1, it was Alex Hales, who continued his good form with a spectacular 83. He was well supported by Joe Root, who scored 3 less than Hales and was dismissed on 80. For Sri Lanka, Nuwan Pradeep was the pick of the bowlers as he picked 3 wickets on the first day. Milind Siriwardana fetched a couple of wickets but was on the expensive side of the economy rate. With some late hitting by Johnny Bairstow, England were poised at 310/6 at stumps on day one.

Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes were the men at the crease to start the proceedings on day two with 28 and 8 runs respectively. Woakes, who was playing his first match of the series, looked in a good touch but it was Ali, who stole the day. Moeen Ali, the man who had once opened the innings for England, batted with flair and guts to pile on runs in heaps. Suranga Lakmal got the first breakthrough for Sri Lanka in the 19th over of the day when he got rid of Woakes on 39.

Stuart Broad followed him soon enough after a couple of overs when he was scalped by Pradeep on 7. Steven Finn then joined Ali at the crease and the two batsmen put on 72 runs for the 9th wicket, which frustrated the Lankan bowlers in the first two sessions on the day. Meanwhile, Ali brought up a majestic century, the second of his career, against the same opponent and then looked to accelerate through the gaps. He was the major contributor in the partnership, as Finn’s share was just 10. However, the way Finn stuck at the crease was commendable.

His resistance was brought to an end when he was caught and bowled by Rangana Herath, soon after the commencement of the second session. Herath with that wicket completed 300 Test wickets. Ali was joined by the last batsman James Anderson and was batting on a different track altogether. He mustered runs at will and brought up his 150 in no time after his century. English skipper decided to declare the innings on 498/9, around 45 minutes before the tea break. Clearly, the agenda was to invite the Lankan batsmen to bat a few overs and try to pick up wickets in the second session of play.

Ali remained unbeaten on 155 off 207 balls with 17 fours and 2 sixes. The idea clicked for the hosts as Sri Lanka came into bat for 7 overs before the tea break. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva, the openers, had their task cut out – to see through those 7 overs. However, Karunaratne succumbed to James Anderson as he lost his stumps in the 3rd over of the match. Sri Lanka went into the tea session at 32/1, trailing by 466 runs.

Kaushal Silva was dismissed early after the tea break on 13 by Stuart Broad and the visitors were in deep trouble. The wickets kept tumbling and the procession of the Lankan batsmen continued. Kusal Mendis, being the only batsman among the top 6 to get past the 30-run mark. Woakes wreaked havoc too, claiming 3 quick wickets in his first four overs. Sri Lanka were  stuttering at 67/6 with the likes of Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews back in the pavilion.

Lahiru Thirimanne and Rangana Herath then made the English bowlers work hard for the 7th wicket. They put on 21 runs in 98 balls for the 7th wicket and almost saw Lanka through the second day’s play. However, it was Broad who got rid of Herath (12 off 46) and then soon Shaminda Eranga (2 off 3) and Sri Lanka was reeling at 91/8 by the end of days play. Thirimanne remained unbeaten on 12 off 66 as the umpires called it stumps.

Brief Scores: Day 2 stumps

England: 498/9 decl in 132 overs (Moeen Ali 155*, Alex Hales 83; N Pradeep 4/107, Siriwardana 2/35)

Sri Lanka: 91/8 in 40 overs (K Mendis 35, Thirimanne 12*; Woakes 3/9, Broad 3/35)