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Tillakaratne Dilshan was his usual aggressive self but missed out on a double ton by seven runs.
Tillakaratne Dilshan was his usual aggressive self but missed out on a double ton by seven runs.

Dilshan sets new Sri Lanka record at Lord's

Dashing opener still believes his side can muster a first-innings lead draw despite rain and a missed double century.

LORD's // Tillakaratne Dilshan was delighted his players managed to consign their Cardiff nightmare to the past as Sri Lanka closed in on England's first-innings score at Lord's, ending a rain-shortened third day 114 runs behind on 372 for three.

Heading into the second Test 1-0 down in the series after collapsing to 82, Sri Lanka showed no hangover as Dilshan led the way with 193.

He told Sky Sports 1: "We had to forget what happened at Cardiff, we had to come strong here and we had to do our job.

"As a captain I'm really happy that we batted really well after Cardiff where we got out in 25 overs. I'm really happy with the way the boys have batted."

Dilshan admitted he had been itching to join other Sri Lankan greats on the Lord's honours board. "I said this Test match it might be my name would go on the board and it's happened," he said. "I'm really happy."

With the rain wiping out half the day's play, Sri Lanka's charge towards a first-innings lead was halted.

"If it didn't rain we might be past England's score, then we could get some runs in tomorrow," he said. "But we can still get a 100/150-run lead.

"It's a good challenge for us in these conditions against the taller boys. We're really enjoying batting in the middle."

Dilshan appeared to injure his thumb shortly before going off yesterday but he revealed it was nothing too serious.

"The thumb is OK," he said. "There's no fracture. Last year I got a fracture on the same spot. Now it's bruises."

England managed to engineer a victory from a seemingly impossible position in the first Test match but the chances of forcing a result in the second looks beyond Andrew Strauss's men.

Bad weather took out more than 50 overs yesterday, leaving time only for Sri Lanka to add 141 runs.

The prospect of anything other than a draw, even in the event of fair weather for the next two days, therefore receded significantly in a three-match series which England lead 1-0.

Yesterday's plan even failed to herald a maiden double century for Dilshan, who was dismissed seven runs short by a very good piece of bowling from Steven Finn.

England, however, did not exploit the bowler-friendly conditions as they would have hoped in an unbroken morning session - and then, in the 11 overs subsequently possible, the moving ball regularly beat the bat but stubbornly refused to find the edge.

Dilshan was accompanied first by Kumar Sangakkara and then Mahela Jayawardene.

Sangakkara left all the strokeplay to his partner. He mustered only four fours and eventually fell to the second new ball, edging Chris Tremlett behind as he pushed forward, having scored just 26 from 93 deliveries.

Dilshan went past his previous career-best of 168 with a crunching pull for four off Stuart Broad and ended the day having made the highest score by a Sri Lankan at Lord's.

SCORECARD

England 1st Innings: 486 all out
Sri Lanka 1st Innings (Overnight 207-1):
Tharanga Paranavitana c Strauss b Finn 65
Tillakaratne Dilshan b Finn 193
Kumar Sangakkara c Prior b Tremlett 26
Mahela Jayawardene not out 40
Thilan Samaraweera not out 1
Extras: (19b, 20lb, 7w, 1nb) 47

TOTAL: (for three wickets, 102.2 overs) 372

Fall of wickets: 1-207, 2-288, 3-370.
Still to bat: Prasanna Jayawardena, Farveez Maharoof, Chanaka Welegedara, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilhara Fernando.
Bowling: Stuart Broad 26-3-98-0, Chris Tremlett 24-5-74-1 (1nb), Steven Finn 24.2-6-84-2 (2w), Graeme Swann 24-4-65-0, Kevin Pietersen 4-0-12-0.

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