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England falter, advantage SL

Leeds: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and paceman Dhammika Prasad pushed England to the brink of defeat as the home side, set 350 to win, slumped to 57 for five on Day IV of the second and final Test, at the Headingley, here, on Monday.

Mathews stroked a magnificent 160 to help Sri Lanka power their way to a second-innings total of 457 after resuming on 214 for four. Paceman Liam Plunkett claimed two victims in two balls for the second time in the game as he added figures of four for 112 to his first-innings haul of five for 64.

Prasad then produced a fiery spell of fast bowling to rip the heart out of the England batting by removing captain Alastair Cook (16) and Gary Ballance (naught) in consecutive balls before accounting for Sam Robson (24), Ian Bell (eight) and night-watchman Plunkett.

England, trailing by only 106 runs, seemed to have the upper hand at the start of the day, but Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene wrested the initiative by scoring freely in the opening hour.