Trescothick Knock In Vain

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England missed another opportunity to claim victory over Sri Lanka after slipping to a dramatic two-run defeat in the Twenty20 international at the Rose Bowl.

Less than a fortnight after missing the chance of a Test series victory after losing the final Test at Trent Bridge, England once again squandered their opportunity and allowed the tourists a psychological advantage going into this week's five-match NatWest Series.

Having reduced Sri Lanka to 163 in their 20 overs with Paul Collingwood claiming impressive figures of four for 22, England looked on course to snatch victory after Marcus Trescothick hit a superb 72 off only 57 balls only to be run out in the penultimate over.

But needing nine runs, Geraint Jones and 21-year-old Tim Bresnan were denied the boundary they required and allowed Sri Lanka to claim victory.

Sri Lanka even achieved the victory without Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas who were not in the line-up.

England's day had begun badly with Lancashire seamer Glen Chapple being sent back to Old Trafford with the abdominal strain he sustained on his debut against Ireland on Tuesday, an injury which gave Bresnan his first appearance.

The injury curse - which has already ensured the absence of captain Michael Vaughan (knee), Andrew Flintoff (ankle), Ashley Giles (hip), Simon Jones (knee) and James Anderson (back) - struck in even more dramatic circumstances in the second over of the match.

Dublin-born Ed Joyce, whose four years of qualification were justified by an emotional debut against Ireland in Belfast, was running around from third man to try and catch Sanath Jayasuriya's upper cut when the curse struck again.

Losing his footing on the lush outfield, Joyce's right ankle seemed to fold beneath him and he fell to the ground in great pain and was taken off the pitch by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

The subsequent diagnosis suggested a soft tissue injury rather than a dislocation, but it maintains England's desperate run with injuries since winning the Ashes last summer.

Stunned by the loss of their new team-mate, which left them a batsman light during the match, England found enough determination to halt Sri Lanka's early run-spree with Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga racing to 68 in seven overs.

Aiming to halt the run-spree captain Andrew Strauss introduced Collingwood to great effect in the next over and he struck with his fifth ball, Tharanga playing on to his stumps after hitting 34 off 25 balls.

That dismissal sparked Sri Lanka's collapse with captain Mahela Jayawardene being run out by substitute Ian Bell in the next over backing up too far down the wicket.

After those two quick wickets England successfully strangled Sri Lanka's run-flow by teaming Collingwood up with Middlesex spinner Jamie Dalrymple as Sri Lanka lost four wickets in as many overs.

Jayasuriya, who had hit four fours and two sixes in his race to 41 off 30 balls, was unluckily given leg before in the next over to an attempted yorker which appeared to be missing leg stump and Tillakaratne Dilshan was caught behind off Dalrymple.

But it was Collingwood who really halted Sri Lanka's momentum by claiming two key scalps in successive overs, bowling Russel Arnold as he advanced down the pitch and then inducing Kumar Sangakkara into a chip to extra cover.

Chasing a challenging but by no means an impossible target, England were given a flying start with Strauss hammering 33 off 21 balls including six boundaries, four of which were hit off successive deliveries off seamer Ruchira Fernando.

But once Strauss fell, bowled playing across the line to Dilhara Fernando, England lost their momentum with four wickets falling in eight overs.

Even Kevin Pietersen, England's outstanding player during the Test series, could not break Sri Lanka's spell with man-of-the-match Jayasuriya successfully shackling the boundary count and claimed two for 23 from three overs.

The only exception was Trescothick, who paced his innings brilliantly and seemed set to guide England to a superb triumph only to be run out advancing down the pitch to Jayasuriya in the penultimate over.

Needing at least one boundary if they had any chance of chasing down the nine runs required from the final over from Fernando, England were instead restricted to four singles and a two off the final ball.

Just a year before England had taken enough encouragement from their 100-run victory over Australia in the same fixture to go on and win the Ashes, but this time it was Sri Lanka who claimed the momentum as the two teams prepare for the start of the one-day series at Lord's on Saturday. Salve helices pariah inure paleoserology evangelistic?
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