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Sri Lanka win first Test
December 05, 2007 18:00 IST
Muralitharan toiled without taking a wicket for 31 overs as England's Ian Bell [Images] (74) and Matt Prior [Images] (63) led a brave rearguard during the afternoon before a deadly triple strike in the final hour of play as Sri Lanka took the second new ball.
Muralitharan finished with 3-85 from 36 overs and was well supported by seamers Chaminda Vaas [Images] (3-56) and Dilhara Fernando (2-39).
England had slumped to 90 for five, after losing four wickets in the morning session, before Bell added 49 with Ravi Bopara and then 109 for the sixth wicket with Prior.
Bell and Prior's stand frustrated Sri Lanka for 44 overs, taking the game into the final session and giving England hope of salvaging a draw.
But Sri Lanka took immediate use of the second new ball and Muralitharan struck in the first over of his final spell, bowling Prior with a doosra.
Next over, Muralitharan also clean bowled Bell, ending a fine defensive innings that spanned 209 deliveries and included six boundaries.
With the light fading fast, England still retained hope of surviving but a poor lbw decision against Ryan Sidebottom (one), who edged a doosra onto his pads, swung the game to Sri Lanka.
In the first session, Vaas produced an incisive new-ball burst, removing captain Michael Vaughan [Images] (5) and nightwatchman James Anderson (11).
Fernando deepened England's woes with a devilish delivery to Kevin Pietersen [Images] (18) that crept along the ground and was chopped on to the stumps.
Fernando followed up by dismissing Paul Collingwood [Images] for 16 as he edged to Kumar Sangakkara at slip.
After lunch, spinner Sanath Jayasuriya trapped Bopara lbw for a 42-ball 34.