Mahela Jayawardene heaped more misery on Andrew Strauss and England by scoring another century on the first day of the second Test at Colombo Tuesday. Last week, the Sri Lankan captain slammed 180 to lay the foundation for a 75-run victory and, his latest knock, lifted the home team from being run over by England’s pacemen.
Despite Jayawardene’s innings, the day’s honours belonged to England as Sri Lanka finished on a shaky 238 for six. Fast bowler James Anderson was at his best by taking the first three wickets to fall inside the first five overs as Sri Lanka struggled to 30 for three. Jayawardene then arrested the slide with his 105 and, with support from Thilan Samarawera, added 124 runs for the fourth wicket. Angelo Mathews is unbeaten on 41 and is Sri Lanka’s last hope to help his team build a fighting total in excess of 350.
England must win this Test or faces being toppled as the No. 1 Test team by either Australia or South Africa. It would also almost certainly close the chapter on Strauss’s career as captain since he has also failed with the bat for the last 16 months.
SACHIN STEPS DOWN
In a totally unexpected move, Sachin Tendulkar has stepped down as skipper of the Mumbai Indians and handed the captaincy to his former India teammate Harbhajan Singh. “At this point in time I feel I need a break from the responsibility of captaincy,’’ said Tendulkar, who led the team for the past four seasons ... South Africa’s Graeme Smith is the latest star to pull out of the lucrative IPL through injury, leaving Pune Warriors looking for an opening batsman. He will be out for 10 weeks but is expected to recover in time for South Africa’s much anticipated three-Test summer tour of England.
NARINE OPTS FOR IPL
Kolkata Knight Riders got some welcome news that their West Indies spinner Sunil Narine will be available for the entire IPL season. Kolkata turned a few heads during the IPL auction by paying the virtual unknown more than just pocket change for 54 days of work. Narine was expected to win a Test cap later this month after an outstanding display in the one-day series versus the touring Australians. Narine, though, was able to opt out of international duty as he doesn’t have a contract with the West Indies board. This was a financial blessing as Narine will earn a lot more money playing in the IPL.
Much-maligned media mogul Rupert Murdoch has paid out a small fortune for the rights to broadcast India’s international matches and a couple of domestic competitions from 2012 to 2018. This, of course, does not include the IPL. Star TV, one of the many companies owned by Murdoch, coughed up $750 million for 96 matches. Star TV, which also owns the rights to ICC matches and has a deal with the England and Australia boards, will boost India’s coffers by $7.86 million for each Test.