England v Sri Lanka: Mathews hits 160 before hosts collapse to 57-5

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews celebrates his century
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews celebrates his century
Second Test, Headingley (day four)
Sri Lanka 257 & 457 v England 365 & 57-5
Scorecard

England are facing a first home series defeat by Sri Lanka after a dismal fourth day of the second Test.

Chasing 350 to win, the hosts' top order was destroyed by Dhammika Prasad's 4-15 as they slipped to 57-5, including captain Alastair Cook for 16.

Sri Lanka earlier amassed 457 at Headingley, led by a masterful 160 from captain Angelo Mathews, who was supported by Rangana Herath's 48.

They added 149 for the eighth wicket, Mahela Jayawardene having made 79.

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott has said that Cook's form was a "recipe for resignation". He has managed 601 runs in his last 24 innings at an average of 25.

"England were quite chirpy this morning, but they quietened up after the first hour," said Jayawardene.

"They got quite a bit from us this afternoon when they came to bat and they will get some more in the morning.

"We've seen that, under pressure, they are not quite up to it."

Mathews and Herath spent all but one ball of the afternoon session together and were parted only when Herath was run out in a mix-up off the final delivery before tea.

By that time, Sri Lanka - winners of a one-off Test in England in 1998 - were already well on top thanks to the efforts of Mathews, who skilfully combined marshalling the strike with finding the boundary on a regular basis.

He drove down the ground, cut and, on one occasion, clipped Liam Plunkett for six over mid-wicket.

Mathews gave one chance on 87, a relatively straightforward caught and bowled off Plunkett, who had earlier taken two wickets in two balls to give him nine in the match.

Plunkett's twin strikes - Dinesh Chandimal hooking to deep square leg and Prasad guiding to third man - brought Herath to the crease for his stoic support of Mathews.

His main job was to stand at the non-striker's end and run when instructed, often left to face one or two balls at the end of the over.

However, he grew in stature during his near-three-hour stay at the crease and by mid-afternoon was pulling and driving England's erratic seamers.

Highest Test batting averages as captain
Without captaincyWith captaincy
Donald Bradman, Aus98.69101.51
Angelo Mathews, SL39.7178.83

As the day wore on, so ineffective were the pacemen that ironic cheers came from the crowd when the spin of Moeen Ali was finally given a second over of the day.

The poor afternoon followed a morning when England defended to such an extent that Mathews and Jayawardene added 40 in seven overs before the second new ball, with which James Anderson and Stuart Broad were guilty of bowling too short.

When Anderson finally pitched the ball up, Jayawardene was caught behind by Matt Prior.

After Herath was run out by Joe Root's direct hit it from mid-on - sent back by Mathews looking for the single that would have taken him to 150, Anderson returned to mop up the tail, starting with Mathews chipping a full toss to mid-wicket.

Although openers Cook and Sam Robson survived for an hour in putting on 39, Prasad profited bowling the sort of full length that had earlier eluded the England seamers.

Cook continued his year-long run of poor form by dragging a pull on to his stumps, then Gary Ballance was plumb lbw to the next ball, which shaped back in.

Robson chased a wide one to edge the same bowler to second slip and Ian Bell was bowled by a beauty that nipped back to take off stump.

A miserable day was completed by nightwatchman Plunkett chipping Herath to cover from what proved to be the final ball, a fitting end to a day that will surely result in an England defeat.

"It's absolutely gutting," said Bell. "We're 57-5, so you can't only say the bowlers got it wrong. The plan was to get the ball full and we didn't do that."

Listen to Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott analyse the day's play in the Test Match Special podcast.

Sri Lanka celebrate Liam Plunkett's departure
Sri Lanka celebrate nightwatchman Liam Plunkett's departure off the final of the day
Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal
Only once have Sri Lanka overturned a first-innings deficit of more than 100 to win a Test
England's Liam Plunkett and Joe Root
Plunkett (left) claimed 4-112 to give him match figures of 9-176 in his second Test back

Top Stories