Cricket: Mahmood Enjoys Dream Debut to Leave Sri Lankans in Tatters
Fraser, Angus, The Independent (London, England)
ENGLAND 551-6 dec
SRI LANKA 91-6
England's opponents have been searching for weaknesses in Kevin Pietersen's game ever since he arrived on the international stage and yesterday, on the second day of the first Test, Sri Lanka may have found one. The news is unlikely to fill the world's bowlers with glee, but Pietersen appears to be vulnerable on 158.
Pietersen, who struck his third Test hundred in his 12th Test appearance, was not the only England player to shine on another day totally dominated by the home side. Sajid Mahmood claimed three wickets on his debut in a blisteringly fast spell of bowling to leave Sri Lanka reeling. When bad light stopped play, the tourists were 91 for 6, still 460 runs behind England's first-innings total of 551 for 6 declared.
Matthew Hoggard, England's "Mr Consistency", claimed two scalps himself, dismissals that took him to within one wicket of joining the 200-wicket club. And judging by the way in which the Sri Lankan batsmen failed to cope with the hostility of England's attack, there will be more wickets up for grabs today. Indeed, there is a real possibility of England completing an impressive victory before the FA Cup final has finished.
Pietersen's maiden Test century came against Australia at the Oval. His exhilarating display sealed England's Ashes victory and ended when he was bowled by Glenn McGrath for 158. And yesterday, on the same total, he perished when a Chaminda Vaas inswinger struck him on the left pad.
Pietersen will rightly be remembered more for his innings in South London, but scoring a century at the home of cricket is a special moment for any cricketer. England were in complete control of what is becoming a one-sided Test well before Pietersen was out and, after warmly applauding him from the hallowed turf, the capacity crowd gave England's captain an equally raucous reception.
Andrew Flintoff did not disappoint his fans, striking two huge sixes in a bright and breezy 33 not out before declaring England's innings closed with 30 overs of the day remaining.
Hoggard trapped both Sri Lankan openers lbw in his first four overs but it was the five-over spell of Mahmood that caught the eye. In the build-up to this Test Mahmood has been compared to Stephen Harmi-son and, in nine exceptionally fast balls, he showed why. He whizzed the ball down at 90mph, pace far too hot for the tourists' batsmen. Kumar Sangakkara edged a loose drive to Marcus Trescothick at first slip, while Thilan Samaraweera and Chamara Kapugedera where struck on the pad before they knew what hit them - three wickets for 0 runs in nine balls, not a bad way to start a Test career.
Sri Lanka's state of panic was highlighted by the ridiculous run out of Tillekaratne Dilshan, who hit the ball to mid-off and mindlessly ran. Mahela Jayawardene, the captain, could have reached his ground had he set off …
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Publication information: Article title: Cricket: Mahmood Enjoys Dream Debut to Leave Sri Lankans in Tatters. Contributors: Fraser, Angus - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 13, 2006. Page number: 68. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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