ENGLAND paceman Steven Finn believes the tourists go into day two of their decisive second Test in Sri Lanka as slight favourites after late wickets shifted the balance of power back in their favour yesterday.
The match appeared to following the pattern of last week’s defeat in Galle when captain Mahela Jayawardene steadied the hosts with another century, but he departed on 105 as England restricted them to 238-6 at stumps.
Spinner Graeme Swann took that prize scalp, but fast-bowler James Anderson spearheaded the attack with three early wickets to boost England’s hopes of drawing the series and retaining No1 spot in the world Test rankings.
“The fact they didn’t really go anywhere, with 238 off 90 overs, maybe swings it in our favour,” said Finn, who claimed the day’s final wicket, that of Prasanna Jayawardene.
“I thought we played some good attritional cricket today. We were very patient and got our rewards towards the end. Mahela Jayawardene assessed conditions excellently but as a bowling unit we did well all day.”
Anderson struck three times in the first five overs to leave Sri Lanka 30-3, but Jayawardene denied him a hat-trick and fashioned a steady 124-run partnership with Thilan Samaraweera (54).
The tourists’ frustration was evident when coach Andy Flower confronted officials after Samaraweera was given not out, despite a review – a spat Finn played down.
“Andy is passionate about England cricket and winning,” he said. “I’m sure [the discussion] was just to double check.”