Sri Lanka 275. England 154-1. Stumps
Well, well, well. It turns out that journalists, television experts and, whisper it quietly, cricket bloggers know absolutely nothing. England bowled out for less than 200? You must be joking.
If this pitch is going to break up and eventually make life impossible for batting, it isn’t happening yet. In fact, at the current rate of deterioration, Alastair Cook will probably still be batting this time next week.
Herath and Randiv might have extracted some appreciable turn at Galle, but they looked pretty innocuous today. There just isn’t enough pace or bounce in the pitch. And, as Samit Patel found out, when you don’t have a doosra taking wickets is bloody hard.
This pitch might make for sluggish attritional cricket, but it has been a godsend to England’s batsmen. If they don’t make runs on this, they might as well cancel all future tours to the subcontinent.
Graham Ford, Sri Lanka’ coach, said he was stunned by the lack of turn. However, England’s batsmen should also be praised for frustrating the aforementioned twirlers:
Amazingly, they decided to play much straighter – and better still, they left the sweep shot in the dressing room. Hallelujah. If only they’d done that four test matches ago.
Even Andrew Strauss managed to score some runs as a result. It was a shame that he got out (to a loose shot) as soon as people starting saying he was nailed on for a comeback ton.
But let’s not get too carried away yet. England are still over a hundred runs behind – and knowing our propensity to collapse, us long suffering fans won’t relax until any lead tomorrow reaches three figures.
Also, it’s quite possible that the pitch will start to help the spinners more at some point. Who knows. Or maybe Herath and Randiv will bowl better and get more out of the surface? Let’s not forget that Graeme Swann bowled beautifully and managed to pick up four wickets. The surface can’t be that flat.
Anyway, perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Our batsmen should just play each delivery as it comes and not look too far ahead – which is why, incidentally, we’re quite glad we won’t be at the ground tomorrow:
The prospect of watching Trott and Cook occupy the crease for two sessions, scoring at approximately two runs per over, isn’t the most exciting prospect. Of course, we’d love it to happen – indeed, we’ve forgotten what it feels like to grind the opposition into the dirt – just so long as we don’t have to watch it.