London, June 24: England is facing a first home series defeat to Sri Lanka after a dismal fourth day’s play during the second Test at the Headingley. Chasing 350 to win, the hosts’ top order was destroyed by fast bowler Dhammika Prasad’s 4-15 as they slipped to 57-5 in their second innings.
Sri Lanka had 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. 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.
During his innings, 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. When it came to England’s turn to bat, Prasad struck quick blows by bowling a full length. Skipper Cook continued his year-long run of poor form by dragging a pull on to his stumps. One drop Gary Ballance was plumb lbw to the next ball, which shaped back in. Fellow opener Sam 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 of the day.