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Sri Lanka v England, 3rd Test, Galle, 3rd day
David Lloyd: Sri Lanka were sensational
December 20, 2007
Sri Lanka played brilliantly to leave England staring at a humiliating defeat
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Andrew Miller: David, England have had success in the last few years, they did have few failures, but they haven't had a day quite as bad as this for a long long time.

David Lloyd: Well it was Keystone Kops, if anybody can remember that, and it was an absolute shocker today from start to finish. They've been in the field for a couple of days today and Mahela Jayawardene carried on where he left off. He went on to score a memorable double-century, but not before England were dropping catches. They've been abysmal in the field, and it's the area that they really have to improve - not only at slip catching, but also at wicketkeeping and in the outfield and the throwing was abysmal to the keeper. I see that England have just employed a fielding coach - a full-time fielding coach. Well, he has got work to do, a lot of work to do.

I have acknowledged that they have been outplayed in this game pitifully by Sri Lanka. The way that Sri Lanka have outfielded us, outsmarted us; they have definitely outbowled us and out-batted us. And 499 declared tells the story. But after that, good gracious me.

AM: It all started last night, Mahela Jayawardene accused England of giving up when he spoke to the press after play, and well they pretty much proved his point today, didn't they?

DL: Yes, it was a smart move yesterday and he was almost goading England, and England would obviously know what he said in press conferences. But there is nothing wrong with this pitch. They [Sri Lanka] batted brilliantly, and then if there are some things going on the field, then Jayawardene has said - `right over to us, and we are going to show what Test cricket is all about.'

They [Sri Lanka] played very proudly today and it's obvious that they are going to finish up second to Australia in the ICC cricket ratings and that's what they are looking for. England are on the slide, big time.

AM: Let's just have a look at their batting because it started with a pretty poor shot from Michael Vaughan and then the run-out of Ian Bell - it just went wrong right from the word go.

DL: Forty minutes to bat before that lunch break, on a pitch that has just been rolled, and it looked okay and the dampness had gone out of it. With a swinging ball, Chaminda Vaas bowled brilliantly. Michael Vaughan electing not to play against a left-arm 78 mile-an-hour, you've got to be really careful and know exactly which way the ball is swinging. He didn't and the ball was swinging back in.

Then, the first catastrophe with the run-out of Ian Bell. Yes and no with Alistair Cook, Cook very much at fault. Bell diving in, but a brilliant piece of fielding - Tillakaratne Dilshan pounces on the ball and throws in one movement, knocks the stumps out of the ground with the diving Bell inches out of the ground, that was terrific. But, there was more to come, and I thought they bowled brilliantly in that session, aggressively and straight. Number one lesson, England looking how do we get 20 wickets, number one lesson bowl straight and Sri Lanka showed exactly by bowling straight with aggression. They got [Lasith] Malinga in the side, though he has taken only one wicket but what a wicket and what a delivery. Kevin Pietersen, fast, rapid, short, straight at him at the throat, lifting him off his feet, got a tiny glove through to the keeper. They have been sensational, well done Sri Lanka.

AM: Is there anything that England can take from today?

DL: Absolutely zilch from today. What they can take is to challenge the players, and I know that Peter Moores will challenge these guys tomorrow: we have got another opportunity to do something on this tour, and that something is that they have to play a Jayawardene, who has just scored a double-hundred on this pitch. The pitch is not changing, somebody, one of you has got to score a double-hundred, not a pretty 60 or 70 or an 80, there is ample time. With a rearguard action, maybe a [Michael] Atherton-like innings if you like, to get some pride, to salvage something from this game because they are absolutely punched drunk from today. But I take nothing away from Sri Lanka, England have been found out and they have been really poor today and they know it. But Sri Lanka for me, today, get 10 out of 10.

AM: It is bit of a pattern for England in the sub-continent in the third Test of the series, they lost very heavily out here four years ago and again an innings-defeat in Lahore a couple of winters ago. Is it too much to ask to play three Tests in the space of three weeks?

DL: No I don't think it is, it is same for both set of players and there has been a three-day gap and four-day gap in between to recharge your batteries. You know what you are coming to. Adrenaline will take you through, especially if you are winning. We have seen a strong Sri Lanka team, and let's not forget that Sri Lanka have just been turned over quite badly in Australia by a great side. But they are formidable in their own backyard, and England would know this, and the talk would all be, after this, that England cannot take 20 wickets.

Bowl at the stumps, number one, just bowl at stumps. Number two, England are struggling to score hundreds, telling hundreds, concentrate and get fitter, get stronger. The fielding, we will be outfielded by club sides from what we have shown in these games, so we have to work our downsides harder and work on expertise - catching and the specialist fielding areas, specialist catching positions. I don't think we have got the personnel as we had previously, with Andrew Flintoff and Marcus Trescothick out.

So there is lot of work for England to do and reflect on after this Test series.

AM: Well, many thanks to David Lloyd. It's still five days to Christmas but England's goose is well and truly cooked.

Comments: 3 
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Posted by vikram on (December 20, 2007, 19:50 GMT)

Sri Lanka have dented pride and damaged self respect of English cricket today. However everything will be excused as a one off bad day if there is a rear guard action. Vaughan, Collingwood, Peiterson & Co. have it in to show some grit. This is rain time also, it's going to rain after one P.M. on Friday and morning of Saturday, England have to last about 110 overs and they would have salvaged a draw, but can you expect it from a team that folded up in 30 overs and that too without a major contribution from Murali? Well it's an uphill task but not impossible, lets see some English pride, and a dash of British Ego, we don't need annhilation, we would appreciate a battle.

Posted by mohamed on (December 20, 2007, 19:31 GMT)

I agreed with u Ellis. Hes a very balanceed chap. I enjoy listening to his commentry. Hes my best commentator ever. I like his humorous and accent. Wanna wish him gud luck and best in the future. Thx Mr Loyd. We are happy to have u in sri lanka. Keep it up. we sri lankans love u.

Posted by Michael on (December 20, 2007, 16:54 GMT)

I want to pay tribute to the Match Analysis provided by David Lloyd. He is balanced, giving credit where it is due, and, criticism when it is deserved. He has a tremendous insight into the game of Cricket. All this enhanced greatly by more than a dose of good old common sense. Articulate, objective and humourous, he possesses a rare combination of attributes for a commentator. Thank you, David, and well done!

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