Ton-up Mathews keeps England at bay

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Copy of PB04_CRICKET-ENGLAND-_0615_1A REUTERS Sri Lanka's Nuwan Pradeep falls on to the stumps and is out hit wicket during the first cricket test match against England at Lord's cricket ground in London. Photo: Philip Brown

 

London - Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews scored a coveted century as the tourists' tail defied England for over an hour on the fourth day of the first Test at Lord's on Sunday.

At lunch, England were 27 without loss in their second innings, a lead of 149 runs.

Australia-born opener Sam Robson, out for one in his debut innings, was 10 not out and England captain Alastair Cook 15 not out.

Sri Lanka resumed on their overnight 415 for seven, 160 runs behind England's first innings 575 for nine declared, but having avoided the follow-on after Kumar Sangakkara had made 147 on Saturday.

Play started Sunday in overcast conditions with Mathews 79 not out and Rangana Herath yet to score.

So far both bowling attacks had struggled on a docile pitch in the first of this two-Test series.

Now the question for England was whether they could take the final three Sri Lankan wickets sufficiently quickly to stop the match petering out into a draw.

Cook, curiously, initially left a huge gap between wicketkeeper Matt Prior and what, in a normal cordon, would have been fourth slip.

Mathews twice edged James Anderson for four through the inviting space off successive balls to go to 89.

Meanwhile, Stuart Broad tried to unsettle Herath with several short-pitched deliveries.

But it was the first ball he received Sunday from Anderson that did for Herath, a full-length delivery knocking over his middle stump with Mathews still eight runs shy of joining Sangakkara on the Lord's honours board.

Mathews, declining the singles on offer, went to 97 when he on-drove Anderson for four through mid-wicket.

And, after tailender Shaminda Eranga had held firm, Mathews became the eighth Sri Lankan to score a Test century at Lord's when he cover-drove Anderson for four.

But one ball after reaching three figures Mathews, despite a review, was lbw to a yorker from fast bowler Liam Plunkett.

All-rounder Mathews was out for 102 made in just under four hours off 172 balls including 12 fours.

It was the 27-year-old's third Test century and his first against England.

Sri Lanka were eventually all out when last man Nuwan Pradeep, after missing an attempted hook shot off Chris Jordan, knocked over the stumps with his bat as the ball hit him on the shoulder.

England spearhead Anderson finished with three wickets for 93

runs in 31 overs while paceman Jordan took three for 102 in 27.4 on Test debut. - Sapa-AFP



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