Dilshan sets record before weather halts Sri Lanka

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport at Lord's
Second Test, Lord's (day three):
Sri Lanka 372-3 v England 486 all out
Match scorecard
Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan tormented England's bowlers throughout his innings
Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan tormented England's bowlers throughout his innings

Tillakaratne Dilshan scored a record-breaking 193 as Sri Lanka closed in on England's first innings total of 486 on a weather-affected third day of the second Test.

The captain made the highest score by a Sri Lankan at Lord's and helped the touring side reach 372-3 before rain and bad light brought a premature end to play.

In truth, Dilshan's task was made easy by some wayward bowling from England's seamers, who fired an alarming number of deliveries down the leg side and never really built enough pressure to unsettle their opponents despite plenty of evidence that the ball was swinging under heavy cloud cover.

Just two wickets fell in 39.2 overs on Sunday, with Chris Tremlett inducing an edge from Kumar Sangakkara for 25 and Steve Finn bowling Dilshan shortly after the batsman had been rattled by a blow on the same thumb that he injured during Saturday's play.

And with Mahela Jayawardene looking in fine fettle for his unbeaten 40, Sri Lanka will be confident of moving past England's total on the fourth day and piling pressure on the hosts when they come out to bat again.

Having been put to the sword by Dilshan in the Saturday evening sun, England's seamers would have welcomed the sight of a blanket of cloud over the home of cricket.

And encouragingly, there were some early signs of movement for Tremlett as he steamed in from the Nursery End, while Finn also generated some some sideways movement, tempting Dilshan into a big swish at a ball that swung dramatically after passing the edge of the bat.

Graeme Swann was given a spell with the old ball but the off-spinner looked somewhat out of sorts as he dragged an attempted arm ball horribly down the leg side for four byes.

In his next over, Dilshan belted him through the covers for a boundary before cutting a single that took him to 150 from 192 balls.

The new ball could not have come soon enough for England and the breakthrough they so desperately needed came in Tremlett's first over with the fresh cherry as Sangakkara pushed at an away-swinger down the slope and nicked a catch through to Prior.

But any impetus England might have gained from the wicket was quickly surrendered by some more woeful bowling.

Broad conceded 25 runs from one three-over spell which included a textbook straight drive from Dilshan for four, followed by a fierce pull to the boundary off the next delivery.

And Finn looked totally derailed by the challenges posed by the infamous Lord's slope, despite the fact he plays his county cricket for Middlesex at the ground.

Jayawardene was gifted a flying start by some easy pickings on leg stump and, after reaching lunch on 344-2, he and Dilshan carried on their merry way, waiting for the inevitable bad ball and dispatching it with expert timing through a gap in the field.

Dilshan's demise finally arrived 40 minutes after the interval when, having played and missed at a ball from Finn that moved away, he mis-judged the line of the next ball and was bowled off his pad.

Moments earlier the Sri Lanka skipper had received a fearsome blow which bent back his injured thumb, and perhaps his momentary indecision had more to do with pain than poor technique.

Either way, it was a monumental effort from Dilshan, especially for the way he carried the fight to England in a manner which suggested Sri Lanka's miserable 82 all out at Cardiff was an aberration.

At 1500 BST the first band of rain forced the players off and when they did come back out after an early tea, they played just five balls before a combination of rain and bad light prompted the umpires to take them off again, much to the displeasure of the crowd.

But with the weather forecast good for Monday and Tuesday, there is still time for a result in a Test match that was bubbling up nicely until the heavens opened.

England bowling coach David Saker: "In the last 12 months we've set some extremely high standards and the last two days were nothing like those standards.

"I've never seen this team bowl so many balls down the legside.

"But the last hour was really impressive. We were buoyant at the end of the day and most bowlers like bowling after rain.

"Some credit has to go to the Sri Lankans. Dilshan's a difficult man to get out and he's hurt some really good attacks."

Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan: "We had to forget what happened at Cardiff, we had to come strong here and we had to do our job.

"As a captain I'm really happy that we batted really well after Cardiff where we got out in 25 overs. I'm really happy with the way the boys have batted.

"It's a good challenge for us in these conditions against the taller boys. We're really enjoying batting in the middle. We can still get a 100-150-run lead."

Listen to Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott's review of each day's play on the TMS Podcast page