Monty Panesar and Stephen Harmison again proved a lethal combination for Pakistan as England won the second Test by an innings and 120 runs with more than two days to spare. The duo, who took 19 out the 20 wickets to fall (the other was a run-out), dismissed Pakistan for 222 in their second innings after England had piled up 461-9 declared.
Alastair Cook and Ian Bell both scored their second Test hundreds in as many matches as England built a commanding lead against Pakistan at Old Trafford on Friday. At stumps Pakistan were 12-0 for in their second innings, a deficit of 330, after England had declared their first innings on 461-9 with Bell 106 not out following left-hander Cook's Test-best 127.
Stephen Harmison's pace proved too much for Pakistan as England gained a first-innings lead following a dramatic collapse by the tourists on the opening day of the second Test at Old Trafford on Thursday. Harmison took 6-19 in just 13 overs as Pakistan were bundled out for 119, only three batsmen making double figures.
Getting a team on the field for the second Test at Old Trafford starting on Thursday is threatening to become a major achievement for England and Pakistan as both sides try to cope with mounting injury lists. Last week, England suffered a major setback when Andrew Flintoff was ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
Pakistan paid a high price for a series of dropped catches as unbeaten hundreds from Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood put England in a strong position on the first day of the first Test at Lord's on Thursday. At stumps England were 309-3 after Cook, dropped three times, and Collingwood, missed once, both scored their second Test centuries.
Pakistan ended the third day of their four-day match against England A as they started it -- in the field -- after a first innings collapse on Saturday. In the tourists' final first-class match before the first Test against England at Lord's begins on Thursday, they were bowled out for 242 in reply to England A's 595 for nine declared.
When Fred Trueman, who died aged 75 from cancer on Saturday, had Neil Hawke of Australia caught by Colin Cowdrey at The Oval in 1964 to become the first man to take 300 Test wickets, his place in cricket's record books was assured -- but his place in the affections of the sporting public had already been secured.
Muttiah Muralitharan took eight wickets, including all of England's top seven, as Sri Lanka won the third and final Test by 134 runs at Trent Bridge on Monday to level the series at 1-1 with more than a day to spare. The 34-year-old offspinner, in what could be his final Test in England, finished with figures of 8-70, including a spell of 8-26 in 105 balls.
Sri Lanka left themselves 47 runs ahead of England at stumps on the second day of the third and final Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Saturday. Upul Tharanga was 17 not out and Kumar Sangakkara 22 not as Sri Lanka looked to give Muttiah Muralitharan enough runs to bowl at to help them square the series at 1-1.
Kumar Sangakkara insisted Sri Lanka's batsmen ''had to do much better'' after the tourists were skittled out for just 141 on the opening day of the second Test against England at Edgbaston. At stumps, England were closing in on a first-innings lead at 138-3 after pace-man Liam Plunkett had taken 3-43, including a double-wicket maiden in his first over.
England captain Andrew Flintoff insisted there was ''no doom and gloom'' in the camp after nine dropped catches helped Sri Lanka achieve one of cricket's great escapes in the first Test. The tourists, following-on, finished on 537-9 after being bowled out for just 192 in reply to England's first-innings 551-6 declared at Lord's.
England finally saw the back of Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene to move to the brink of victory in the first Test at Lord's on Sunday. At stumps on the fourth day the tourists, following-on, were 381-6 in reply to England's first-innings 551-6 - a lead of just 22 runs after bad light ended play for the day.