First of all a confession. I wasn’t able to watch much of today’s play because I had a symposium at work. Therefore the following report is a mixture of second hand opinions and guesswork. However, I don’t think it takes a genius to work out what happened. Perhaps I should’ve just cut and paste my review of day 1 at Galle?
When England were 134-5 I assumed we were playing exactly the same test match. The top order failed yet again – I don’t know why we even bother having one to be honest – and it took the middle-lower order, and a cameo from Jos Buttler, to get us out of the all too familiar hole.
The only real difference was that Jennings was the opener dismissed quickly this time – that’s normally what happens when you present him to a seamer – whereas Burns managed to hang around and score a half-century. Obviously I have no idea how young Rory batted but according to George Dobell he looked quite assured. So it was one in the eye for those who wanted to drop him after a solitary game.
Jos Buttler also played well again by all reports. Apparently he borrowed Jennings’s broom and played the sweep shot (or the reverse sweep) liberally. Or perhaps I should say constantly. Duncan Fletcher would’ve been brimming with pride. He loved a good sweep – especially in Asia.
The real star however, and it really shouldn’t be a surprise anymore, was young Sam Curran. I’m beginning to think that ‘young’ is his first name as it seems obligatory to mention his knee-high-to-a-grasshopperness every time he’s mentioned. His 64 was absolutely crucial. And once again he looked like the best left-hander in the XI.
If the selectors are looking for someone to bat 3 they could do worse than look in Young Sam’s direction. This might sound rather premature to Surrey supporters, and it probably is rather premature, but the more I see the more I like. He looks organised and has a gut feel for knowing when to play the big shot. The latter gives him a big advantage over the other so called ‘batsmen’.
Most observers seem to think that England’s 285 all out should prove to be a decent score, especially as Sri Lanka are already one wicket down. However, here’s a second-hand word of caution. Kandy is a bit unusual in that the scores tend to increase as the match goes on. So the average fourth innings score is normally much higher than the average first innings score.
Or so I’m told.