Prior, Sidebottom keep Lanka at bay

Published: Monday, December 10, 2007, 13:58 [IST]
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Colombo: England's eighth-wicket pair of Matthew Prior and Ryan Sidebottom put on 55 undefeated runs to keep Sri Lanka at bay in the second cricket Test here on Monday.

England, looking for a series-levelling win after losing the first Test in Kandy last week, took their first innings to 327-7 by lunch on the second day at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC).

Wicket-keeper Prior was unbeaten at the break on 60, his fourth Test half-century studded with eight boundaries, and left-handed Sidebottom was on 13.

The pair frustrated Sri Lanka for 78 minutes after England, resuming at the overnight score of 258-5, were reduced to 272-7 within the first hour of play.

Australian umpire Daryl Harper, who on Sunday controversially ruled Kevin Pietersen out caught when TV replays showed the fielder may have scooped the ball off the ground, faced a similar situation again on Monday.

Sidebottom fended at a short ball from Dilhara Fernando and Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene took the ball low at second slip.

Harper consulted his colleague Aleem Dar and then asked TV umpire Gamini Silva to rule if the catch had been taken cleanly.

Slow motion replays, however, found the ball had bounced off Sidebottom's shoulder -- and not the bat -- and Silva ruled the batsman not out.

England captain Michael Vaughan had urged umpires on Sunday to "use common sense" and take the help of replays if there was any doubt about a dismissal.

England added 11 runs to their overnight score when left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas provided the first break in the seventh over of the day.

Paul Collingwood, 49 overnight, completed his seventh Test half-century before he was trapped leg-before by the spot-on Vaas for 52.

Test debutant Stuart Broad lasted only 12 minutes, making two when he fell leg-before to Lasith Malinga, giving the slinging-arm fast bowler his third wicket in the innings.

Prior brought up the 50 of the partnership with Sidebottom with an audacious reverse sweep off Muttiah Muralitharan that raced to the third man fence.

Brief Scores (at lunch, D-2):

England Ist innings 327/7 (Vaughan 87, Cook 81, Matt Prior 60*, Collingwood 52; Malinga 3 for 74, Vaas 2 for 61, Murali 2 for 104) Vs Sri Lanka.


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