Matt Prior cashes in on lucky review
Matt Prior's England career hung precariously in the balance, before an overdue piece of luck gave him the chance to prove himself again. Prior feared he was gone for a second-ball duck at Lord's, and would have to deal with the potential consequences.
Instead, he was reprieved by a marginal umpire's call – his back leg not quite in line with off-stump – escaped the lbw review by Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath and went on to make 86 in a sixth-wicket stand of 171 with double-centurion Joe Root.
England, thanks mostly to Root's unbeaten 200, but also the contributions of Prior and several others, piled up their highest Test score against Sri Lanka.
They subsequently discovered it will be no easy task to beat the tourists in this first Investec Test, after opener Kaushal Silva (62 not out) helped the visitors to 140 for one at stumps on day two in reply to 575 for nine declared.
England nonetheless remain the front-runners – while for 32-year-old Prior, recalled after being dropped last winter and despite the clamour from many for Jos Buttler to play instead, there is vindication.
For almost two minutes on Thursday evening, though, he admits time stood still as his short and long-term prospects were decided by others.
"You're just watching the screen, and it's like 'that looks dead'," he said, of the moments after Herath beat his forward lunge.
"I'm thinking 'right, that's nought off two balls – see you later, Matt!'
"Then, when the umpire's call came up, I almost looked at Rooty and said: 'Right, it's changed. I'm back. Here we go.'
"I decided to attack again, and hit that one over the top. That was me off and running, and I felt comfortable from then."
For Sri Lanka, a long road still lies ahead to avoid defeat.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne said: "It's a flat wicket, and we hope Kaushal and Sanga can go on tomorrow."
Limavady close in on final date with RBAI
Limavady Grammar will meet Foyle College on Monday with a place in the Ulster Bank Schools Cup final against RBAI up for grabs.
The holders defeated Regent House yesterday by 77 runs in the last of the quarter finals and a couple of hours later Inst bounced back from 63 for seven to total 151 and then restricted Down High to 97 for nine.
Holders North Down defeated CIYMS by 17 runs on Thursday night in the NCU Twenty20 Cup and can afford a narrow defeat in their last game against Ballymena and still reach the semi finals.
Scores: Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup – Belmont: North Down 193-6 (N Larkin 77, D Graham 41 not out, R Haire 27; J Mulder 2-29, J Matchett 2-31) CIYMS 176-5 (C Dougherty 83, R van der Dussen 58; P Eakin 2-24, J Cameron-Dow 2-35). North Down beat CIYMS by 17 runs.
North West T20 - Sandel Lodge: Coleraine 106-7 (N McDonnell 32, S Dunn 3-28, A Britton 2-13, J Thompson 2-20) Brigade 105-8 (J Thompson 29, D Amarnath 23; G Burns 3-19, K Vardhan 3-21, G Cooke 2-13). Coleraine won by 1 run.
Foyle College: Newbuildings 137-9 Glendermott 129-8. Newbuildings won by 8 runs.
Ballymagorry: Fox Lodge 79 (B Allen 23, L Hayes 21 not out, T Khan 20; G McClintock 3-10, W McClintock 3-13, Jun McBrine 2-10) Donemana 81-0 (S Wallace 44 not out, K Sajjid 30 not out). Donemana won by 10 wickets.
Schools Cup quarter final: Limavady GS 135-7 (R Allen 54) Regent House 58 (S Kennedy 4 for 5). Limavady won by 77 runs.
Semi final: RBAI 151 (R Lyttle 32, B McGavock 27, J Martin 3-26) Down HS 97-9 (L McNamara 4-14). RBAI won by 54 runs.