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Two dropped catches reprieve Sri Lanka

Written by: Staff

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) Two dropped slip catches in as many overs kept Sri Lanka's slim hopes of saving the first test against England alive on the fourth morning at Lord's today.

Nightwatchman Farveez Maharoof received the first let-off when the final delivery of Andrew Flintoff's first over with the new ball flew high to third slip where Paul Collingwood leaped athletically but not gather a sharp chance.

In the next over Matthew Hoggard caught the edge of Mahela Jaywardene's bat but Andrew Strauss, also at third slip, grassed an altogether simpler chance. It was Strauss's second dropped catch of the innings.

The two reprieves allowed Sri Lanka, who were 183 for three overnight still needing 176 to make England bat again, to reach the lunch interval without losing a wicket on another overcast morning on which the ball occasionally darted about in the air.

At the break the visitors were for 258 for three with captain Jaywardene on 70, his second half-century of the game, and Maharoof on 38.

Both batsman were regularly beaten outside the off-stump, with Liam Plunkett bowling one particularly penetrative over to Maharoof.

In between times they played some handsome strokes with Jayawardene reaching his 29th test half-century with six fours off 98 balls at the drinks break. Jaywardene then steered Plunkett through slips for another boundary to bring up the pair's second half-century stand of the match.

Heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow.


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