England vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Day 4: Ballance saves England from meltdown

Ballance is ecstatic after scoring his maiden Test century

Ballance is ecstatic after scoring his maiden Test century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

England batsman Gary Ballance scored his maiden century to save his side from having a meltdown against Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the first Test at Lord’s.

Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath and pace bowler Shaminda Eranga ripped through England’s batting line-up, leaving them at 121/6 before Ballance stepped up and stemmed the bleeding.

Starting out the day 415/7, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and Herath added 15 runs to their two-run partnership before Herath was clean bowled James Anderson for two runs.

Mathews ended up scoring his third Test century before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Liam Plunkett. Mathews immediately reviewed the decision, but the replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to clip the leg stump. This led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

Mathews’ fantastic knock of 102 came off 172 balls and included 12 boundaries.

Nuwan Pradeep only made four runs before he was struck by a short ball from debutant Chris Jordan and collapsed onto his own stumps.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 453, giving England a 122-run lead heading into the second innings.

With a lead of 122 in hand, England got off to a solid start before captain Alastair Cook was caught behind off the bowling of Eranga for 28.

Debutant Sam Robson only made 19 runs before he was clean bowled by Eranga.

Ian Bell fared no better as he was also cleaned up by Eranga for just nine runs.

Eranga took three wickets in quick succession

Eranga took three wickets in quick succession

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

After scoring his maiden double century in the first innings, Joe Root could only muster 15 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Herath.

Debutant Moeen Ali failed to have an impact with the bat as well as he was clean bowled by Herath for four runs.

Matt Prior scored 16 runs before he was caught by Lahiru Thirimanne at gully off the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara.

Prior should consider himself lucky not to be given out on the third ball he faced as Sri Lanka reviewed an lbw decision against him. However, Prior was saved by the fact that it was umpire’s call when it came to the line of ball and therefore, the third umpire upheld the original decision.

Jordan and Gary Ballance stabilised the innings with a 78-run partnership, during which Ballance brought up his maiden half-century, before Jordan was caught by Kumar Sangakkara at mid-off off the bowling of Herath for 35.

Ballance and Stuart Broad kept the runs flowing with a 57-run partnership before Broad was caught and bowled by Herath for 24.

Herath dismissed Root, Ali, Jordan and Broad

Herath dismissed Root, Ali, Jordan and Broad

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Ballance and Plunkett put together an unbeaten 11-run partnership, during which Ballance registered his maiden Test century, before the umpires decided to bring play to an end for the day.

Ballance finished on 104 off 188 balls, which included 12 boundaries and a six, while Plunkett remained undefeated on two.

Herath was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Eranga snapped up three and Kulasekara chipped in with one.

England ended the day on 267/8 and will continue batting tomorrow at 11:00 local time or 10:00 GMT.

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