The 3rd Test is over, and England has a clean-sweep in Sri Lanka. And while the Men In White celebrate, The Moaner has stuff to be annoyed about. Why? Because he’s as miserable as a wet winter weekend in Whitby. At McDonalds he specifically asks if there’s a ‘Sad Meal’.

So what’s grinding his gears now? Here goes …

What was with Johnny Bairstow’s rant?

During his interview with TalkSport after his first innings hundred, Bairstow started ranting about how he effectively silenced the doubters, and blamed the media for ‘thinking he didn’t belong in the team’. And while Darren Gough would have nodded his fellow Yorkshireman’s approval, Mark Nicholas sensibly asked the question: “Who?”

Bairstow shook his head and said: “There have been some of ‘em”, but didn’t elaborate. Probably, because he’d made it up in his head. Oh well, if making crap up in your head gives you a century during a Test Match, we heartily approve of Johnny Bairstow living in Cloud CuckooLand.

England looked arrogant walking into Day 4.

With Sri Lanka 53 for 4 and the series apparently in the bag, England waltzed in the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground thinking that they could lop the rest of the wickets. But Mo and Adil bowled like drains and it took a rocket throw from Jack Leach to change the momentum. It wasn’t quite Gary Pratt against Ricky Ponting, but it was enormous in the context of the Test Match. Some say England’s struggle to take wickets was simply another roller in the rollercoaster for this series. But maybe it’s because Root’s team aren’t as good as they think they are?

England struggled to close it out at the end

With Sri Lanka still needing 101 and the last partnership at the wicket, victory before lunch looked like a formality. England fans would soon be able to find a nice bar away from the heat-hole of the stadium. Sri Lanka – thanks to Pushpakumara (say that name after a few beers) – put together a dangerous partnership of 56, taking it past lunch …..and looked in little trouble, if we’re quite honest. Thanks heavens for the interval. Without the chance to regroup we could’ve been embarrassed.

We need to talk openers (again)

England’s first innings between Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings was 22, and the second innings was 3. And if we’re brutally honest, it’s only really worked once together all series. Should we wait around for some ‘bedding in time’, or look to the fact that this partnership really isn’t that good? Oh for the days of Geoff Boycott or Herbert Sutcliffe.

Ben Stokes

99 total runs in the Test isn’t something to be sniffed at (as well as 3-30 in the first innings and 1-25 in the second), but we need someone as wonderfully skilled as Stokes to convert. The fact that he didn’t was more to do with a lack of concentration than anything else – and the old Stokes aggression. Stokes desperately needs to chill out a bit. Mind you, if only someone said that to him before he went out drinking in Bristol.

And with that final dig at the modern cricketer, The Moaner grimaces, chunters something indistinguishable under his breath, and stomps off to watch the latest news about Brexit. Just don’t get him started on Theresa May’s deal. We’ll be here all week. 

Alex Ferguson

@viewfromamerica