In-form Chris puts visitors on back foot

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Chris Tremlett gave his old home crowd reason for cheer as he marked the Rose Bowl’s first day of Test cricket with two of England’s wickets.

Tremlett and James Anderson, the latter back from the side strain which ruled him out at Lord’s last week, shared the spoils as Sri Lanka struggled to 81 for four on a rain-shortened first day of this third npower Test.

Hampshire’s prodigal son was heartened to receive a warm welcome from a crowd which saw him develop in county cricket for a decade before he moved to Surrey last year to try to revitalise his international career.

That move worked for the 29-year-old, who took a liking to conditions back on his old hunting ground too after Andrew Strauss won the toss yesterday morning.

“I played here for a long time and it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been back, so it was a nice reception and nice of the Hampshire fans to welcome me back,” said Tremlett.

“I was at Hampshire for nine or 10 years and I like to think I offered a lot to the county - and gave the fans some good viewing at times.

“It was a nice reception and nice to see some familiar faces.

“The fans were loud and seemed like they had a good day despite the rain. Me getting a couple of wickets will make them happier.”

After misfiring powerhouses Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene had both continued their unproductive tours so far, England were shut out for the last hour by Thilan Samaraweera and Prasanna Jayawardene.

But the hosts were still satisfied with their efforts on a desultory day - which Tremlett described as an improvement on much of what they managed in the second Test stalemate at Lord’s.

Tremlett admitted the rain delays were frustrating but added: “I think at the end of the day we’re happy with four wickets. I think we were a bit lacklustre at times with our line and lengths - but I think it was certainly an improvement from Lord’s.”