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England skittled by former Hampshire star
10:49am Tuesday 27th March 2012 in Sport
ENGLAND'S vulnerability to spin was again in evidence as former Hampshire spinner Rangana Herath helped Sri Lanka to a first-innings lead of 125 on day two of the first Test in Galle.
Having floundered against Pakistan's spinners in their 3-0 series defeat earlier this year, England were blown away for 193 as slow left-armer Herath, who spent a few months at the Rose Bowl in 2010, returned figures of six for 74 and off-spinner Suraj Randiv took two for 26.
Ian Bell top-scored with 52 and the last four batsmen chipped in with a combined 88 to highlight the failure of the top order.
Sri Lanka resumed their innings on 289 for eight, adding 29 for their last two wickets.
Both went to Anderson, who recovered from a first over that contained four boundaries - two off the bat and two off the body - to claim his five-for.
Chanaka Welegedara was undone by a sumptuous slower ball before Anderson added the prize scalp of Mahela Jayawardene for a memorable 180.
England were looking for a big total in response but lost the man most likely to bat for time when Alastair Cook prodded forward to a Welegedara inswinger and was lbw for nought.
Jonathan Trott got off the mark with four through mid-wicket and added a second boundary two balls later by punching Welegedara through the off-side.
Strauss started positively too but was fortunate to see a thick edge off Welegedara sail between slip and gully.
Some attacking fields helped the scoreboard along until England's first sight of spin in the ninth over.
Herath found Strauss' edge almost immediately only for the ball to evade Jayawardene at slip.
Trott then donated his wicket to Herath in baffling fashion, stumped after letting a full toss disappear between bat and pad.
He then collided with wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and collapsed dramatically before departing in a daze.
Strauss was gone for 26 just 13 balls later, given lbw on review attempting a pre-meditated sweep against Herath.
Asad Rauf rejected the initial appeal but the technology went in the bowler's favour. Bell, the only batsman without a half-century on tour, began well against Herath, with a towering six and a timed four to take England to 57 for three at lunch.
Bell continued to attack after the break, cutting and driving Herath for boundaries in the first over of the afternoon.
Kevin Pietersen also attempted to be positive, but with dire results.
He aimed a flashy drive at his first ball of the session but, with a little movement off the pitch, succeeded only in inside edging into the stumps.
England's woes continued as Prior, promoted to number six for this match, lasted just seven deliveries before becoming Herath's third victim.
Playing deep in the crease, he was undone by the turn and pinned in front of middle stump.
He reviewed the decision in hope more than expectation and was duly on his way for seven.
A score of 72 for five was not the ideal scenario for a debut Test innings and Samit Patel mustered just two singles before he mimicked Prior's dismissal, lbw on the back foot against Herath.
While Bell scored steadily, number eight Broad boosted England's tally with a flurry of boundaries off Suranga Lakmal, who leaked three fours and pulled six in four deliveries.
But Herath, who hardly set the world alight during his time at Hampshire, was the dangerman and he halted Broad's counter-punching cameo at 28 from 15 balls. Broad, like Strauss, was lbw on the sweep.
Graeme Swann followed Broad's lead, finding the ropes six times on his way 24 before Tillakaratne Dilshan's reaction catch at short mid-wicket handed Randiv a first success.
England's chances of a competitive total looked to have ended when Bell was the ninth man out - and the sixth to Herath.
He got a fine ball, pitching on middle and leg and clipping the top of off, but had been good value for his 52.
Yet Anderson (23no) and Monty Panesar (13) added another 36 for the last wicket before the latter was leg before to Randiv.