Sidebottom, Harmi strike early; SL 71/2 at lunch

Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 14:09 [IST]
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Galle: England grabbed two early wickets after the third and final Test against Sri Lanka made a delayed start at the Galle International Stadium.

The tourists, needing a win to draw the series, sent the hosts in to bat on the relaid wicket and removed openers Michael Vandort and Upul Tharanga in the shortened pre-lunch session.

Sri Lanka went to lunch on 71-2, with skipper Mahela Jayawardene on 12 and vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara -- who survived a confident appeal for a catch at the wicket off Matthew Hoggard - on 21.

The match, the first at the stadium after it was destroyed by the Asian tsunami in December 2004, started two hours late at 12 noon (0630 GMT) due to a wet outfield caused by overnight rain.

Some 7,000 fans, half of them travelling England supporters, cheered loudly when match officials decided to hold play for 90 minutes before lunch. They will also extend play by an hour in the evening to make up for lost time.

Hoggard, returning for England after missing the second Test due to a back injury, was lucky to claim Vandort leg-before for 18 in the 11th over.

Television replays of umpire Asad Rauf's decision showed the ball may have gone over the stumps.

Tharanga made 16 when umpire Daryl Harper ruled him leg-before off Steve Harmison, putting Sri Lanka on 44-2.

England left out off-spinner Graeme Swann from the 12 announced on Monday and went in with just one specialist slow bowler in Monty Panesar.

Sri Lanka, who won the first Test in Kandy by 88 runs, awarded a Test cap to 26-year-old fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara and recalled all-rounder Tillekeratne Dilshan.

Brief Scores (at lunch, D-1):

Sri Lanka Ist innings 71/2 (Sangakkara 21*, Vandort 18; Harmi 1 for 15, Sidebottom 1 for 22) Vs England


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