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Strauss savours `bonus` win despite Anderson absence

Cardiff: England`s decision to field just four specialist bowlers against Sri Lanka provoked plenty of comment but they needed only three to pull off a win in what captain Andrew Strauss said was "one of the most extraordinary cricket matches any of us have played in".

Sri Lanka were skittled out for just 82 inside 25 overs on the fifth and final day of the first Test at Sophia Gardens here yesterday as England won by an innings and 14 runs.

England`s third successive innings Test victory, following their Ashes triumphs in Melbourne and Sydney, was remarkable on two accounts.

Firstly rain, which plagued this match throughout, seemed to have put paid to any chance of a positive result, especially when the whole of yesterday`s first session was washed out with England still to conclude their first innings.

By that stage England were already without senior paceman James Anderson, who on Saturday was told he could not bowl again in this match because of a side strain.

But neither Anderson`s absence nor an understandably sparse crowd failed to dent England`s self-belief, with Ashes revelation Chris Tremlett, once considered too `soft` for Test cricket, troubling Sri Lanka`s top-order with his pace and bounce.

The 6ft 7in fast bowler took four for 40 with off-spinner Graeme Swann following up with four for 16 and Stuart Broad, in his return to Test cricket after a side injury in Adelaide, collected the last two wickets to fall.

PTI

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