Sri Lanka skipper Dilshan defies England

London: Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan led from the front with an unbeaten century as the tourists fought back against England on the second day of the second Test at Lord`s here Saturday.

At stumps, Sri Lanka were 231 for one, 255 runs behind England`s first innings 486.

Dilshan was 127 not out after sharing a record-breaking first-wicket partnership of 207 with left-hander Tharanga Paranavitana (65).

This was Sri Lanka`s first century opening stand in a Test in England and the best for any first wicket in England-Sri Lanka Tests, surpassing the 168 shared by England`s Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan in 2002 on another typically good Lord`s pitch.

Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara was unbeaten on 13 at the close.

It was all a far cry from Monday`s collapse in Cardiff where Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 82 as England won the first Test by an innings and 14 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

England missed a chance to separate the openers on 37 when left-hander Paranavitana, who`d then made 13, edged fast bowler Steven Finn, recalled in place of the injured James
Anderson, to Alastair Cook at third slip.

But Cook, fielding in the spot vacated by the retired Paul Collingwood, dropped the chance despite getting both hands to the ball.

Dilshan played his natural free-scoring game, hooking Chris Tremlett, one of England`s trio of 6ft 5in plus seamers, for six and lofting off-spinner Graeme Swann into the Lord`s Pavilion where the ball hit a spectator.

Dilshan then cut Finn for his 11th four to complete a 12th Test hundred in 129 balls.

Finn eventually had the wicket he was denied previously when Paranavitana`s near four-hour knock ended when he edged a booming drive to England captain Andrew Strauss at first slip.

Earlier, England were bowled out for 486 on the stroke of lunch, with wicketkeeper Matt Prior making 126 -- his fourth Test hundred.

Prior, together with Stuart Broad, who made an elegant 54, scored briskly during a a seventh-wicket stand of 108 in 91 balls.

England, who had slumped to 22 for three after losing the toss Friday, resumed on 342 for six.

Prior was 73 not out overnight and Broad, offering good support, 17 not out.

However, Prior went from 86 to 94 with two fortunate fours, edging seamer Suranga Lakmal just short of wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and next ball nicking him through the

Prior, on 94, then saw an edged drive off left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara dropped by normally reliable second slip Mahela Jayawardene.

His luck held again when Prior went to 99 by edging a cut off Lakmal between keeper and first slip before a single saw him to a century off 107 balls with 17 fours.

It was Prior`s second Test century at Lord`s, following his 126 not out against the West Indies on his Test debut in 2007.

Broad, primarily a fast-medium bowler but also a left-handed batsman, like his father Chris, the ex-England opener, was eventually lbw to Welegedara.

The persevering bowler finished with four for 122 in 28 overs having been recalled after missing the first Test.

Prior then fell to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, bowled on the slog-sweep after his latest valuable innings.


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