In a soaking day of play at Galle in the second Test, Sri Lanka did well to finish 229 for 4 after a sturdy ton from Angelo Mathews became the highlight of the day. Recovering from their ‘135’ debacle in the previous Test, the home side ensured to apply themselves better against the charged-up visitors. The start, however, was no different for Sri Lanka, who copped a couple of early blows courtesy of the masterful bowling of the veteran James Anderson.
It hardly mattered if Jimmy was a thousand miles away from home, bowling on what is expected and known to be a dull, bounce-lacking track. His lines were impeccable, lengths disciplined. And no wonder, Sri Lanka was teetering at 7 for 2 by the time Anderson finished his first burst. Pitching it in the fourth stump corridor and generating just enough movement with the new ball, he managed Kusal Perera to edge one to the safe catcher in the slips: Joe Root.
Chandimal, Mathews rebuild after a nervy start
At three, replacing Kusal Mendis – whose last 5 scores read 0, 0, 0, 0, and 15 – Oshada Fernando did a ‘Mendis’ as he chopped on an inside edge off Anderson straight to his stumps before he could open his account. However, it was Angelo Mathews and the centurion from the first Test – Lahiru Thirimanne – who joined hands to steady the innings after the early jolts. Sri Lanka went into Lunch at 76 for 2, after what seemed a slight recovery.
The second session entirely belonged to the home side as England could manage a solitary wicket, that of Thirmanne (43 off 95), who became Anderson’s third scalp after faintly edging a ripper outside the off stump to Buttler behind. Much like the first session, skipper Root’s ploy of introducing spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach fetched no result on a track that rather uncharacteristically did not offer any turn.
Angelo Mathews, in the able company of Dinesh Chandimal, batted with monkish patience, blunting the pacers, and negotiating the spinners. Chandimal, who contributed 52 of the 117-run partnership for the fourth wicket, showed resilience too, however, the outing for him was not as easy: he copped several blows off Mark Wood, one of which was rather dreary as it landed on the front grill of his helmet. He survived a geed up Wood spell before his hard work paid off against the spinners.
Centurion Mathews guards Sri Lanka
Unperturbed at the other end, Mathews notched up his half-century, though not with the most eye-catching pull as Sri Lanka went into Tea at 155 for 3. Resuming after the break, England managed a breakthrough as Mark Wood won the battle against Chandimal, who unsuccessfully reviewed an LBW call before taking the walk back.
Despite his loss, Mathews continued to counter Wood’s reverse swing and brought up his first century in Galle, whereas 11th overall. Towards the fag end of the day, the centurion Mathews, who hit only 11 fours in his unbeaten 228-ball outing, got a gritty Niroshan Dickwella (19* off 60) at the other end. The duo negotiated the second new ball, and even as both Anderson and Curran found movement in the air, they were unable to create an opening as Sri Lanka finished 229/4 at the close of the day’s play.
Here are the best tweets
— 𝑫𝒊𝒎𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝑲𝒂𝒓𝒖𝒏𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒏𝒂 (@IamDimuth) January 22, 2021
— Dhammika Prasad (@imDhammika) January 22, 2021
Proper Test cricket today … Senior pros leading the way … Fantastic ton by Angelo Mathews & what to say about @jimmy9 other than he is the #SLvENG … Back on air at 415am tomorrow @bbctms !!! pic.twitter.com/wH60kunYOh
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 22, 2021
— Russel Arnold (@RusselArnold69) January 22, 2021
Well played @Angelo69Mathews .. very responsible innings for SL.. 👍
— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) January 22, 2021
Angelo Mathews is world-class and one of the finest cricketers of all-time. 🇱🇰 #Cricket
— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) January 22, 2021
Most Test runs at a ground without a hundred:-
1177 – Allan Border🇦🇺 at SCG
921 – Stephen Fleming🇳🇿 at Wellington
852 – Michael Atherton🏴 at Lord's
843 – Steve Waugh🇦🇺 at WACA
Before this match, Angelo Mathews🇱🇰 was at top of list – 1342 runs at Galle without a hundred.#SLvENG
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) January 22, 2021
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