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Moody challenges Sri Lanka batsmen to level series

Written by: Staff

NOTTINGHAM, England, June 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody challenged his front-line batsmen today to come good in the third and final test against England and level the series.

''We are in the driving seat but we still have a lot of hard work to do,'' he said after his side dismissed England for 229 in their first innings at Trent Bridge. At the close the Sri Lankans were 45 for one in their second innings, an overall lead of 47 runs with three days to play.

''We need to bat well in the first session on Sunday. If we are still batting at the end of the day I will feel very comfortable,'' Moody added.

Sri Lanka's batsmen have struggled to make good starts in the series. They tallied 192 in the first innings of the drawn first test, 141 in the first innings of the second, which was won by England, and 231 at Trent Bridge.

''We're overdue a good total from our top batsmen. Now is the time to strike,'' Moody said. ''Tomorrow is a great opportunity to make amends and give the bowlers something on the board to bowl to on the fourth and fifth day.'' Moody also paid tribute to fast bowler Lasith Malinga after he bowled his heart out on the second day to support Muttiah Muralitharan.

''I thought Malinga bowled superbly well. He's a very different bowler, unique,'' he said.

''He's not going to get his wickets through line and length, he's wild and wonderful. He will give you scoring opportunities but he also gives you a few wake-up calls.'' Moody said part of Malinga's threat was his slingy action.

''Traditionally, you look in a certain area for the bowler's release of the ball. With him, it's in a different place.

''He hurls it down at good pace with the odd ball reversing, with yorkers and bouncers, he'll give you everything. He's a full-hearted bowler.'' Malinga took two for 62 to Muralitharan's three for 62 while Sanath Jayasuriya chipped in with figures of 11-4-19-2.

Paul Collingwood, England's top scorer with 48, said of Malinga: ''He's tricky. You have to line him up like a left-armer bowling over the wicket rather than a right-armer. That's the kind of angles he's coming on. He's totally different to anything I have ever faced.

''But we are still confident we are still in the game.'' Reuters PDS VP0038

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