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Sri Lanka v England, 3rd Test, Galle, 2nd day
David Lloyd: England down and out
December 19, 2007
A fine century by Mahela Jayawardene has almost ended any possibility for England to square the series
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David Lloyd: "Everything about Jayawerdene oozes class, he selects the ball to score from, he defends well and he is an object lesson to young cricketers and established cricketers - when you are in, stay in" © AFP

Andrew Miller: By the close, Sri Lanka are firmly in control, thanks to another fine century by Mahela Jayawardene. David Lloyd, England's prospects of saving the series are now probably over?

David Lloyd: Yes, they are gone. They needed the new ball to really count, and it promised for a little while but Jayawardene, once again, batted through the day - he did in Colombo and now he has done it here. He finished on 149 not out, a captain's innings, and Sri Lanka got from the day exactly what they wanted to do - just to keep England out there. England are not finding the answers, and that is something that has become apparent now, that it is very difficult to take Sri Lankan wickets. So, they can reflect on lot of hard work, but the for bowlers the catching had let them down and it looks as if England are a pretty poor fielding side at the minute.

AM: It was really that first session that set the tone for the day, several catches going down, Matt Prior again having problem behind the stumps, he seems to have a bit of problem diving to his right, is that something that you have noticed?

DL: Yes, I think up to today he has had a pretty good series. He has certainly been good with the bat for England, at No. 7 and previous to it with the gloves he has been excellent.

It's one of those days where nothing has really gone right. When you are in extreme conditions, especially in the subcontinent, you need that flash of brilliance in the field. You need somebody to lift the team, and it's either a special run out or a great catch or some diving effort by the fielder. All the half chances have not been taken and some pretty easy chances have gone down as well. You can tell from the bowlers' body language that it is difficult for them out there in the middle in the humidity. They are not getting the support that they expect and deserve from England in the field. And the final analysis is that England's fielding must improve, it's got to improve.

AM: In defence of Prior, he did pull off one outstanding take to his left, but of course it wasn't given out, how crucial was that to England's prospects?

DL: Well it would have helped; there is no doubt about that. It's ironic that we were talking about the missed chances by Prior, and the one he took, which wasn't given, was a brilliant effort, diving away, very acrobatic and I know we in the commentary box were debating that decision.

I have umpired for three years and those are ones that you dread. Something down the leg side, it is not a woody sound. Has it come of arm guard? Is it body? Is it of the glove? You've got a 85% to 90% feeling that it is out, but you can't it because you are not exactly certain.

And, I'll bet that the Test match umpires would rather refer it to the third umpire. I've spoken to one or two umpires who feel that way, and as it was it was given not out, and I know [Aleem] Dar well, and why he gave not out - his gut feeling would be, 'I reckon it is out but I can't give it because I am not absolutely certain.'

AM: There have been one or two instances like that all through the series, there was Kevin Pieterson's catch in Colombo. Do you think that this series might help tip the scales in favour of the third umpire?

DL: I am sure there would be more dialogue about the umpires being a team of three and not just the two out in the middle. I think it will probably gather momentum from the umpires, the match referees and the officials themselves - I think they want the right decision, the players want the right decision. So if the technology is available, it's the debate that will gather momentum. It's inevitable that it will come through, and I am absolutely certain about that.

AM: Well, over and above everything else there was Jayawardene's innings. This is his second massive hundred of the series, something that England haven't yet done. He and Kumar Sangakkara have really been the difference between the two teams.

DL: Yes, we have talked about England's lack of penetration as a bowling unit. wW have talked about England's poor fielding and then you move on to England not scoring big runs. Now this guy shows you how to score big runs, he is on for his ninth score of over 150 and that is some going, and it shows that he concentrates all the time. He has got a great set-up at the crease, he moves into the position really well, he is only a slight batsman, 5 feet 7 inches maybe. But everything about Jayawerdene oozes class, he selects the ball to score from, he defends well and he is an object lesson to young cricketers and established cricketers - when you are in, stay in. It's second time in this series that he has batted through a day in very extreme conditions, and so fair play to him that he is becoming a world-class performer.

AM: Three days left in the series and England are up against it. Do you see them fighting for a draw or do you think they must just loose the resolve now that they have lost the chance to save the series?

DL: Well here is a danger of losing resolve and [they] mustn't do that. You've got your pride to come away with something and that will be a draw. You can be slightly selfish as players, particularly when they get their turn to bat. I don't think that there is any chance of a declaration as this innings will be concluded by Sri Lanka at some stage, but you can be a little bit selfish and get your big hundred. I think this pitch is just going to flatten out in a very good batting surface because there are no cracks appearing and the dampness is coming out of it or has come out of it. So there shouldn't be any problem at all for England. Let's see somebody get a doubel-hundred and go back from Sri Lanka with something.

I think everybody will be looking at that, England will bat, and it may just be that it will be a one innings game. Weather will intervene again tomorrow, so England have got the challenges and they have also got the pride.

Comments: 5 
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Posted by Sunil on (December 19, 2007, 21:11 GMT)

All Sri Lankans,men,women,young,old love cricket and support the game. Our team feels all the better for it and knows every single player must do his bit to keep the Sri Lankan flag flying high. Not all our players attended Colombo schools and some struggle to speak English,coming from very ordinary backgrounds. Yet,they all feel at home encouraging one another out in the field using very colloquial Sinhala words even to and from Murali,our national hero with international fame. They even address each other as "Malli" and Aiya" meaning younger or older brother. Such chemistry has bonded the team very well. We all know Lasith was picked up playing village cricket using tennis balls. This is in sharp contrast to the affluent,more articulate and flamboyant English counterparts where such common bonding does not flourish. I feel that this is an aspect of psychology England could do well to learn from our team even if they lose the series.

Posted by Jerry on (December 19, 2007, 20:27 GMT)

England winning this match is now virtually out of the question , unless they can get around 400 runs in one day , which seems unlikely as lots of time is lost due to rain and badlight and the slow pitches will not generate runs being scored at around 6 per over. The likelihod is the English batsmen must salvage a draw and this will depend on the amount of turn the wicket takes ,and will be left to the bogeyman Murali Sri lankan wickets are pretty slow and I feel that Panesar has been a bit of disappointment to the English fans , and the question whether they should have played Swann instead will always linger on the postmortem of the match and what if scenarios My guess is tomorrow is going to be very important and if the English loose about 6 wickets , they will likely loose this match and move down the ICC rankings

Posted by Tim on (December 19, 2007, 19:21 GMT)

There isn't much to say about England's performance that Mr Silva hasn't said already! However their's wasn't the only shameful performance today - I really have to ask how much longer the cricket world will have to put up with umpiring of the standard shown in this gameby both umpires but particularly by Darryl Harper? I am not someone who criticises officials easily - I appreciate just what a difficult job they have and given that they are the ony ones NOT to have technology on their side (yet!) I am more than prepared to forgive them the odd mistake. Most do a VERY good job, but I see better decision-making at Club level than I've seen in these last two tests! Come on ICC, surely you have better umpires than this who could be appointed to the Elite Panel? Although I am English I an not an 'England fan' - I am a CRICKET fan who likes to see the game played and officated on properly for BOTH sides, and this standard of umpiring is bordering on a farce!

Posted by Michael on (December 19, 2007, 18:53 GMT)

At last, a leading commentator and analyst takes a position on the use of Technology in Cricket. David Lloyd is right. The need for the wider use of technology in Cricket is becoming more and more obvious. He is also right in positioning the three umpires as a team working together to minimise errors and improve decision making. The Dilshan runout was a clear example of a correct decision made possible by the use of technology. Similarly, if Harper had been able to access technology either directly, or through the third umpire, Dilshan would have been correctly given out.Many of the incorrect decisions in this series would have been rectified if the umpires were able to access technology within an agreed framework. All technology in use in our daily lives is capable of improvement and enhancement. That has not stopped us using it because we understand and work within it's limitations. The same applies to Technology in Cricket. Where there is doubt, the batsman gets the benefit .

Posted by Frank on (December 19, 2007, 16:39 GMT)

I agree with you. We drove some three hours from Colombo to Galle to watch a test match. What we saw was a bismal England side bowling negative all during the day. What rubbish is this? I pitty all of us who have paid thousands to see good cricket. It is about time we get rid of David Graveny and Peter the coach.He is trying to give silly excuses. We do not need excuses we want our professional players to play proper cricket.

Dr.Frank Silva

PS I have tickets to attend all days but will not waste my time and energy to see England mess about

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