Sri Lanka’s batting crumbles in first Test

KANDY, Sri Lanka, Dec 1, 2007 (AFP) – Matthew Hoggard grabbed four wickets in a hostile opening spell to give England a brilliant start in the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka here on Saturday. Sri Lanka’s delight at winning the toss and batting first on the slow pitch was short-lived as they crumbled to 86-5 by lunch on the opening day at the Asgiriya stadium.

The hosts were reduced to 42-5 before Kumar Sangakkara (39 not out) and wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene (23 not out) ensured there were no further setbacks till lunch.

Some 3,000 English supporters, who almost outnumbered local fans, saw 30-year-old Hoggard slice through the top half, with three of his victims falling to catches by wicket-keeper Matthew Prior.

Left-handed Sanath Jayasuriya, who is reportedly considering retiring from Test cricket before the series is over, appeared like a man in a hurry when play began.

The 38-year-old executed two superb cover drives off Ryan Sidebottom and Hoggard in the first two overs, but was almost caught at short-leg by Alastair Cook.

Jayasuriya perished in the third over when he drove Sidebottom uppishly to the cover region when Kevin Pietersen lunged to his right to t