Woeful run continues for England

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Rangana Herath Rangana Herath

England's miserable start to 2012 continued as they lost the first Test to Sri Lanka by 75 runs in Galle.

They have now lost all four Tests since the turn of the year, with Sri Lanka's spinners picking up where their Pakistani counterparts left off in the United Arab Emirates.

Rangana Herath, who took 12 wickets in the match, and Suraj Randiv accounted for all 10 of England's batsmen in the second innings, which fell well short of an imposing target of 340 despite the best efforts of Jonathan Trott.

He scored a gutsy 112, his seventh Test ton, but only Matt Prior, with 41, offered significant support as they were bowled out for 264.

Kevin Pietersen looked troubled from the off and had added just a single to his overnight score of 29 when he fell in the third over. His shot was a grim reprise of Andrew Strauss' dismissal on Wednesday, down the track and hitting a turning ball straight to mid-wicket, where Mahela Jayawardene held on.

Trott, meanwhile, produced a neat reverse sweep to bring up his fifty but after the number three was dropped, England's luck did not hold, with Herath winning an lbw verdict against Ian Bell (13) with the score at 152.

Trott brought up his century by sweeping Herath for four, ending a sequence of 18 singles and celebrating lavishly in front of the Barmy Army stronghold on the Galle Fort.

Four balls later it was the home fans celebrating as Prior fell for 41, sweeping Herath hard towards short-leg, where Lahiru Thirimanne clung on after absorbing the impact with his body.

Samit Patel then fell for nine, clearing his front foot and picking out Tillakaratne Dilshan at short extra-cover. He juggled the chance initially, only to snare the ball one-handed at the second attempt and hand Herath his second five-wicket haul of the match.

Trott was gone in the next over, turning Randiv to Dilshan at leg-slip, Graeme Swann lasted only nine balls before the now inevitable Herath lbw arrived and Randiv saw off James Anderson and Monty Panesar with successive deliveries in the first over after tea to seal the victory.

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