Overnight, England held a 63-run lead with both Matt Prior and Chris Jordan at the crease and high hopes of building a sizeable lead over the tourists. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be the case as Jordan, Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett all fell in quick succession to leave Prior stranded at the other end before James Anderson was the last man to go. In the end the lead crept over the hundred mark and instead of putting themselves into a more dominant position on day three were left to rue a missed opportunity to take a stronger grip on the direction of the Test match.
It has been a superb series for Kumar Sangakkara, who has amassed 342 runs in this two-Testy clash and finished with yet another 50 in his final innings of the series. His 55 in the second innings at Headingley made it seven scores of 50 and above in Test matches in a row. Sangakkara became just the fourth player to do so, joining Andy Flower, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Everton Weekes. During his knock Sangakkara also completed another achievement as he climbed above former South Africa batsman Jacques Kallis in the list of total international runs.
The question of just how England will come to replace Graeme Swann in the long term is far from being answered. However Moeen Ali’s spell in the final session of the day showed that in the short-term, he may show himself to be the remedy England need for now. On a wearing wicket with rough to work with he dismissed both Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne in quick succession to throw the cat amongst the pigeons as Sri Lanka had meandered through the afternoon session. Putting plenty of action on the ball Ali gave the Sri Lankans real problems and has given his side hope of restricting the visitors in their quest to put the game beyond England’s reach.
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