KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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England recovered from 22-3 to finish on 342-6 after an evenly fought opening day against Sri Lanka at Lord’s, with in-form opener Alastair Cook making 96.
Eoin Morgan added 79 but fell late in the day to Suranga Lakmal to keep Sri Lanka in the game after their captain Tillakaratne Dilshan had won the toss and opted to bowl.
Lakmal was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers, taking 3-79 and finding some late swing with both new balls. He was ably supported by left-armer Welegedara (2-65).
England might claim to have edged the opening day but Dilshan will be hopeful of making early inroads with the new ball only eight overs old.
His side will have to dismiss an solid looking Matt Prior before bowling England out tomorrow though. The England wicket-keeper hit 14 fours in a delightful knock of 73 not out.
England falter early
Strauss’ slow start to the summer continued when umpire Rod Tucker rightly adjudged him LBW to Welegedara - who came into the team alongside Dilhara Fernando in place of Ajantha Mendis and Thisara Perera.
Things went from bad to worse when Cardiff double centurion Jonathan Trott fell in the same fashion to Lakmal, playing around a straight delivery, for just two.
Much of the pre-match talk surrounding Kevin Pietersen had centered on his ongoing troubles against left-arm spin. This time he failed to survive the new ball, becoming Lakmal’s second victim.
Pietersen reached for a wide delivery and only succeeded in steering it to Dilshan at gully, who took an excellent diving catch away to his right-hand side.
Cook, who had watched the carnage unfold from the other end, weathered the early exchanges and began the rebuilding process along with fellow first Test centurion Ian Bell.
Bell began scratchily and played a unusual innings, his usual fluent drives mixed in with a number of edged boundaries.
The Warwickshire batsman reached 52 but was the only man to fall in the afternoon session, edging lazily to slip during a superb second spell of 5-2-9-1 from Welegedara.
From the moment Morgan arrived at the crease the 24-year-old number six showed no signs of being under pressure to cement his place in this competitive England side.
He on-drove beautifully from Welegedara when on one and immediately took the attack to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath hitting him over the top for a four and six.
Cook’s recent form has been so ruthlessly prolific that an air of disbelief descended on the Home of Cricket when he surrendered his wicket just four short of an 18th Test ton.
The Essex left-hander had tucked into a number of pulls during the day, including two in one over from Fernando.
His eyes lit up when Fernando dropped short again but the ball hurried onto him and he only managed a skied top edge which was easily taken by Farveez Maharoof at mid-wicket.
Prior is nothing if not a wonderful counter attacker though, and his brisk innings was full of punchy off side strokeplay.
The 29-year-old reached his half century from just 62 balls as Sri Lanka tired and he and Morgan put on 100 from only 120 balls as England made hay against the old ball.
However, he became the third England batsman to fail turn a 50 into 100 when he was given LBW - following a Sri Lanka referral - shortly before the close.