Middlesex v Sri Lanka, Uxbridge, 1st day May 14, 2011

Strauss shows form on return to action

38

Middlesex 321 for 5 (Strauss 151, Housego 104) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard

Andrew Strauss's last innings was the World Cup quarter-final against Sri Lanka and seven weeks on from that poor display in Colombo he returned to the middle with a breezy 151 against the same opposition as the visitors began their tour. It was a tough introduction for a team lacking five players still at the IPL and the early evidence proved that the bowling attack will struggle as Middlesex closed on 321 for 5.

Strauss, now with the sole focus of making England the No. 1 Test team after the three-way captaincy split, has a maximum of four first-class innings before the first Test in Cardiff on May 26. Although he's been around long enough to mean a few low scores wouldn't be the end of the world any batsman feels better with a hundred under their belt.

He certainly didn't play like a man who didn't pick up a bat for a month after the World Cup. His trademark cut was in fine working order, he pulled strongly whenever anything was short and milked the spinners comfortably. There was an early shout for lbw by Suranga Lakmal but few other scares against a gentle pace attack and he reached his hundred with a powerful square drive off his 161st delivery, his first century in Middlesex colours since April 2009.

Sri Lanka's pace bowling will be their major weakness on this tour and they are also missing Dilhara Fernando for this game as he's at the IPL along with Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Suraj Randiv and Thisara Perera. In dry conditions the pacemen will hope reverse swing plays a part during the Test series otherwise there isn't much bite available. Strauss eventually fell to a top-edged pull that found deep square-leg and Sri Lanka staged a final-session revival.

They really need the spinners to play a key role. Ajantha Mendis' mystry has seemingly become unravelled and he offered up a number of loose deliveries which Strauss and Dan Housego latched on to during their stand of 214. Rangana Herath is a very tidy left-arm spinner and improved as the day went on to finish with 2 for 67.

However, there wasn't great support in the field which is requried on flat surfaces. Housego twice benefitted from four overthrows after hopeful throws missed the stumps while some of the general groundwork was shoddy. These are early days for the tour, but there isn't much time to shake off the rust.

Sam Robson, one of a number of second team players given a chance, was the only wickety to fall in the first two sessions when he edged a low catch to the wicketkeeper. After seemingly starting to walk he then paused until the umpires, Andy Hicks and Jeff Evans, confirmed the ball had carried.

The successful bowler was Farveez Maharoof who wasn't part of the original touring squad and was drafted in to cover for the IPL absentees. The pick of the quicks was the left-armer Chanaka Welegedara who bowled at a decent pace. He doesn't have the craft of Chaminda Vaas but could do a decent job during the Tests.

Housego, who made a positive start and cashed in on some short balls from Mendis, impressed with his timing and placement. His second first-class century came from 148 balls but he fell a short while later when he top-edged a sweep. Adam Rossington was bowled behind his legs as he tried to sweep Herath and Jamie Dalrymple, in his comeback for Middlesex, was foxed by a slider from Mendis with the new ball.

While the action was taking place on the pitch, outside the ground there was a protest by the Tamil Youth Organisation who want Sri Lanka cricket boycotted until the country agrees to an investigation of war crimes in 2009. They chanted throughout the session from a cordoned off area and are expected to be a presence at various stages throughout the tour.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 16, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    seems like this writer is a Tamil tiger..lol..also a very biased article Sri Lanka is a far more superior team than England whether they are playing in subcontinent or not. Actually England is only better than Ban,NZ & WI..(might edge pak in TESTs at home)they dont have a single batsman who has played 50+ games & 50+ batting average.

  • SLsupport on May 16, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    In this article it's SL bowlers are weak.....but with 2nd days article,it's a flat pitch,inexperienced bowling bla bla bla.......I think they are trying to cover English players........

  • buncers on May 15, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    I've very worried about the Sri-Lanka bowling. I don't think they have the wicket takers. Malinga and Muli are not there, Matthews is injured, Mendis is off the boil and they have left Nuwan out of the side. I think they are going to have trouble bowling England out twice.

    The limited overs games should be a lot easier, because all they need to do is out score England.

  • on May 15, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Admin plz remove the last para or remove the post we don't care.SL cricket team represents a country and should not be put to shame for reasons other than cricket.This kind of abuse might happen throughout the series but it is highly unethical.Do not promote anything relating to politics here..Thx

  • buddhikapm on May 15, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    Author

    Please remove the last para from the article which not relevant for this discussion.England shd not get undue advantages from these things

  • CRICSL on May 15, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    @James Watts, I can understand your point. If you look at the most of Sri Lankan bowlers play in this series, they have far below experience than bowlers who plays for Middlesex. So let's wait and see the real game.

    And If you forgot, i would like to remind you last time when SL toured ENG your team was trashed 5-0 in ODI and test series were leveled. So before get so excited just wait and see. I don't over rate SL but not to forget they are a very talented team and defeat any team in the world.

  • on May 15, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    i thought cricket transcends all boundaries and gets ppl united well it seems tamil youth org have no shame and no LIMITS.Targeting sports is not fair game.This is cricket not politics,a game played by gentlemen which promotes universal peace.T.Y.O promote your own agenda somewhere else this is a stage for talent not hatred.Andrew McGlashan shouldn't have even mentioned it(not relevant) such a biased article.Now SL 300-2.

  • on May 15, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    Will ferveez maharoof retain in th sri lankan squad? or will join the lancshire

  • on May 15, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    sri lankan openers did a great job onece again. dilshan is brilliant. bowling also very balanced in a pitch like this.MAHAROOF and lakmal bowled well

  • on May 15, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    why is it when I click "dilshan Impresses with hundred" I have to read about Strauss's century? cric info dont change the headlines if ur not going to update the story? its common sense when managing a website..

  • on May 16, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    seems like this writer is a Tamil tiger..lol..also a very biased article Sri Lanka is a far more superior team than England whether they are playing in subcontinent or not. Actually England is only better than Ban,NZ & WI..(might edge pak in TESTs at home)they dont have a single batsman who has played 50+ games & 50+ batting average.

  • SLsupport on May 16, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    In this article it's SL bowlers are weak.....but with 2nd days article,it's a flat pitch,inexperienced bowling bla bla bla.......I think they are trying to cover English players........

  • buncers on May 15, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    I've very worried about the Sri-Lanka bowling. I don't think they have the wicket takers. Malinga and Muli are not there, Matthews is injured, Mendis is off the boil and they have left Nuwan out of the side. I think they are going to have trouble bowling England out twice.

    The limited overs games should be a lot easier, because all they need to do is out score England.

  • on May 15, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Admin plz remove the last para or remove the post we don't care.SL cricket team represents a country and should not be put to shame for reasons other than cricket.This kind of abuse might happen throughout the series but it is highly unethical.Do not promote anything relating to politics here..Thx

  • buddhikapm on May 15, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    Author

    Please remove the last para from the article which not relevant for this discussion.England shd not get undue advantages from these things

  • CRICSL on May 15, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    @James Watts, I can understand your point. If you look at the most of Sri Lankan bowlers play in this series, they have far below experience than bowlers who plays for Middlesex. So let's wait and see the real game.

    And If you forgot, i would like to remind you last time when SL toured ENG your team was trashed 5-0 in ODI and test series were leveled. So before get so excited just wait and see. I don't over rate SL but not to forget they are a very talented team and defeat any team in the world.

  • on May 15, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    i thought cricket transcends all boundaries and gets ppl united well it seems tamil youth org have no shame and no LIMITS.Targeting sports is not fair game.This is cricket not politics,a game played by gentlemen which promotes universal peace.T.Y.O promote your own agenda somewhere else this is a stage for talent not hatred.Andrew McGlashan shouldn't have even mentioned it(not relevant) such a biased article.Now SL 300-2.

  • on May 15, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    Will ferveez maharoof retain in th sri lankan squad? or will join the lancshire

  • on May 15, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    sri lankan openers did a great job onece again. dilshan is brilliant. bowling also very balanced in a pitch like this.MAHAROOF and lakmal bowled well

  • on May 15, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    why is it when I click "dilshan Impresses with hundred" I have to read about Strauss's century? cric info dont change the headlines if ur not going to update the story? its common sense when managing a website..

  • on May 15, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    Yes, CRICSL, it is fair to say that SL have made an excellent start, mainly due to Dilshan who is likely to cause England some problems. Before getting too excited though, you should probably take a look at the career figures of the bowlers that are playing for Middlesex in this game...

  • on May 15, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    This is just too easy,lol

  • MeSL on May 15, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    It's true Middlesex bowling attack is struggling than Sri Lanka, but let's not forget that this is not the official test squad of England. Our bowling should be more flowing and attacking when we play against the official squad. Maybe, today we can do it because this is a practice match, but when the serious games come we might get troubled. Let's hope for the best. Don't underestimate English squad playing at home. Hopefully, official Sri Lankan squad will do something about bowling as well.

  • on May 15, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    Well done Dilly.It is a great start with typical aggression.You've got a point to prove and go for it. It is an amazing innings with jet lag pushed aside.All the best for the series.

  • wicked.wizard on May 15, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    I'm sorry to say, but as a neutral supporter, this is one of the most biased articles i have read on cricinfo. Andrew Mcglashan pull up your socks!!

  • CRICSL on May 15, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    To all my English supporters-Just look at the score card. The English bowlers are been hammered by SL openers. English bowlers are conceding over 5 runs per over. Imagine this SL team yet to welcome their star batsman's Mahela and Sanga. God Bless English bowlers.

  • on May 15, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    Its early on in the tour and luckily the bulk of our bowlers are playing these practise sessions,So they can improve in the days to come and get acclimatized to these conditions,,If our bowling Clicks we will definitely have a great chance of walking away with a series win!

  • vparisa on May 15, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    England will be clueless against Mendis!!

  • JamalAJackson on May 15, 2011, 10:55 GMT

    "Strauss, now with the sole focus of making England the No. 1 Test team..." made me laugh, because England will never make No. 1 in anything and if they do, they won't keep that status for very long.

  • Herath-UK on May 15, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    Sri Lankans will definetely improve with the arrivals of the star players. Please do not bring politics of unguided youths into the nice game of cricket. Ranil Herath Kent

  • stormy16 on May 15, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    No suprise here and SL will struggle to control English batsman unless the spinners play some part which is unlikely this early in the summer. SL shouldnt have high expectations after the massive void left by Murali/Vaas/Malinga - the only SL's to take over a 100 wickets - its the first series without one of them. I dont understant this call for Vaas. Ok lets recall him and how long will he play - another 1 year max? then what? Look for youngsters - well lets find them now, this is the rebuilding stage after all, you cant rebuild by recalling 35+ year olds!! I note the demonstrations - this is cricket and not the stage for demonstrations...Try the Haig..

  • voma on May 15, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Im not to sure the duke ball will be swinging all over the place during this series . We have had very little rain in the UK and plenty of warm sunny days . This series will be a lot different to last years against pakistan , Sri lanka have decent batsmen.Someone has wrote England dont any world class batsmen or bowlers in there team . Erm you may regret writing that , Struass , cook and trott will all score heavilly against the sri lankans .Anderson , broad , tremlett and finn will all be looking forward to delivering some chin music to Sri Lankas world class batting line up

  • Maestro_of_Cricket on May 15, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    @Ramesh Dharshana Perera: My boy, as Sri Lankans, we shouldn't be that irritating in our comments. Let's keep our distance from our Indian friends, shall we? Just make sure you say things in a way that you won't have to eat your words after the tour ends. Have faith in our team, but don't talk down the opposition like that. It's so Indianish.

  • yorkslanka on May 15, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    I agree that our bowling looks weak but there is no need to panic and recall vaas. Sri Lankan cricket has never moved backwards so why start now? Don't get Mr wrong vaas was a superb player but we need to rebuild our bowling attack and if that means we get panned in a couple of series,then provided we develop,so be it. As I said before, if we draw the test series, we will have done well and the odi series should be very close but I think we will edge it. In terms of bowling, fernando will lead our attack, but we will rely heavily on our batsmen making up the deficits regularly.

  • on May 15, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    Agree with Rohan,England is just an average team & comparison to Sri Lanka..Most these comments are made by Englishmen This is JUST a practice game..A FLAT wicket (wait till SL bats)They wont give so many chances in real matches & also Nuwan Pradeep,Dilhara & Suraj Randiv will be in the playing XI from next match..!

    This is how Englishmen always talk before a series,we don`t have to take them that seriously. England is the team that don`t have a SINGLE world class bowler(Swann is overrated)..they are even below than average away from home Same can be said about their batting..England dont have a single batsman who are in the class of Mahela,Sanga,Dilshan or a young talend like Chandimal,Thirmanne or Mathews.. KP is very inconsistent...he failed to get bat on ball last time he toured SL..even Thilan Samaraweera who avrges 54+ is a better batsman than KP..!

  • Sageleaf on May 15, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Cricket is a sport can bring people and nations together. Come on stop this nonsense. I come from Canada and was in north of Sri Lanka two months ago. Just go there and see to yourselves how happy people live. Tamil youth and anyone else who is supporting terrorism should be ashamed of themselves. Muttiah Muralidaran is Tamil and played the game to the highest level. He is the greatest bowler of all time. Every living sole in Sri Lanka love him and miss him so much. So the Tamil groups who are protesting just get a life. There wouldn't be war again in Sri Lanka. It's over and it's done. Let the politicians handle war crimes and leave the sport away. Just move on and I'm sure you can do better things in life. Let the sport play to the highest level and we all should respect that.

  • landl47 on May 15, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    Great to see Strauss in good form early in the season. I'm not sure what TheHoneymonster is talking about, Strauss got a hundred and three fifties in 7 innings in the Ashes series. If that's not scoring fluently, then I don't know what's expected of him. SL are going to struggle to bowl England out twice on this showing.

  • on May 15, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    England will win the test series.

  • abhi_cricinfo on May 15, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    Sanga and Mahela are ordinary outside home so can't expect fireworks from those two guys and without Malinga and Murali its really hard for SL to take 20 wickets.

  • MeSL on May 15, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    In the other hand, either SL is good at home or not, it always apply for all the cricket teams, I guess. England is unbeatable at England, like Sri Lanka is unbeatable at Sri Lanka. If someone says SL can't beat England, yes it's true as England is playing in England. So, at one side under estimating Sri Lanka is unfair, but it's no excuse for a jittery Sri Lankan bowling & bad performance. What I see is they did up to some average during first day, without Murali's replacement Randiv, Dilhara and Thisara. Yet, Vaas should've been chosen, but in the other hand this will be a great experience for our young bowlers to understand the nature of international test cricket. As long as good cricket is played, I don't care whoever wins. During this transition period, SL should take the full advantage of learning somethings.

  • RohanMarkJay on May 15, 2011, 1:36 GMT

    Also as a Sri Lankan cricket fan, I wish them all the best. I think the ODI's will be 4-1 to SL. Sri Lanka can beat England 1 or 2 nil. England teams wether cricket or soccer are overrated. SL can definitely beat these guys. If they play to their potential.

  • Coastaltown on May 15, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    @Lord.emsworth, I dunno,Ihope you're right as I want to see a good series; but isn't Mahela much better at home than away? England in May, a Duke ball swinging all over the show. I think this is an excellent test for the SL batsmen's techniques. Believe me, I hold them in the highest regard, the stats speak for themselves, but I'm not sure bat will hold sway to that extent. Look at the Eng-Pak series last summer. Excited about this series, looking forward to it.

  • Stark62 on May 14, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    WOW!

    I never thought I would be saying this but.........

    SL's bowling attack looks toothless.

  • Lord.emsworth on May 14, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    When the two teams meet in the Tests there is going to be a run feast bárring a bad batting wicket. SL have a useless bowling attack and any decent batsmen can score heavily off them. On the other hand SL have formidable test batsmen in Jayawardene, Sangakarra, Samarawera, Dilshan as well as a tail that can wag long and well. What a useless selection the SL selectors made in the bowling dept. Some talk has been made of Fernando's absense in this match but he is not going to change anything. Recall Vaas. He is still SL's best seamer!

  • SDHM on May 14, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    Not particularly encouraging signs for Sri Lanka in the bowling department - Middlesex aren't one of the stronger batting line ups in the country and they've struggled as a unit. They did well to fight back and pick up some wickets late on though. Good signs for Strauss too, maybe we'll see him back to his best in test cricket now he's not playing the 50 over game. He seems to have reserved his best for ODIs in the last year or so, it'd be good news for England to see him scoring fluently again in whites.

  • yorkslanka on May 14, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    The Tamil youth org are a disgrace.leave the politics to the politicians, cricket is something that has unified our country and THEY are trying to ruin that.

  • Finn92 on May 14, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    I predict a mountain of runs for all the English line-up on this tour, the Sri Lankan bowlers are very sub-standard

  • on May 14, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    this is a rebuilding phase for sri lanka after their top blowers got retired from test cricket , hopefully they would discover another few exceptional talents

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on May 14, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    this is a rebuilding phase for sri lanka after their top blowers got retired from test cricket , hopefully they would discover another few exceptional talents

  • Finn92 on May 14, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    I predict a mountain of runs for all the English line-up on this tour, the Sri Lankan bowlers are very sub-standard

  • yorkslanka on May 14, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    The Tamil youth org are a disgrace.leave the politics to the politicians, cricket is something that has unified our country and THEY are trying to ruin that.

  • SDHM on May 14, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    Not particularly encouraging signs for Sri Lanka in the bowling department - Middlesex aren't one of the stronger batting line ups in the country and they've struggled as a unit. They did well to fight back and pick up some wickets late on though. Good signs for Strauss too, maybe we'll see him back to his best in test cricket now he's not playing the 50 over game. He seems to have reserved his best for ODIs in the last year or so, it'd be good news for England to see him scoring fluently again in whites.

  • Lord.emsworth on May 14, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    When the two teams meet in the Tests there is going to be a run feast bárring a bad batting wicket. SL have a useless bowling attack and any decent batsmen can score heavily off them. On the other hand SL have formidable test batsmen in Jayawardene, Sangakarra, Samarawera, Dilshan as well as a tail that can wag long and well. What a useless selection the SL selectors made in the bowling dept. Some talk has been made of Fernando's absense in this match but he is not going to change anything. Recall Vaas. He is still SL's best seamer!

  • Stark62 on May 14, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    WOW!

    I never thought I would be saying this but.........

    SL's bowling attack looks toothless.

  • Coastaltown on May 15, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    @Lord.emsworth, I dunno,Ihope you're right as I want to see a good series; but isn't Mahela much better at home than away? England in May, a Duke ball swinging all over the show. I think this is an excellent test for the SL batsmen's techniques. Believe me, I hold them in the highest regard, the stats speak for themselves, but I'm not sure bat will hold sway to that extent. Look at the Eng-Pak series last summer. Excited about this series, looking forward to it.

  • RohanMarkJay on May 15, 2011, 1:36 GMT

    Also as a Sri Lankan cricket fan, I wish them all the best. I think the ODI's will be 4-1 to SL. Sri Lanka can beat England 1 or 2 nil. England teams wether cricket or soccer are overrated. SL can definitely beat these guys. If they play to their potential.

  • MeSL on May 15, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    In the other hand, either SL is good at home or not, it always apply for all the cricket teams, I guess. England is unbeatable at England, like Sri Lanka is unbeatable at Sri Lanka. If someone says SL can't beat England, yes it's true as England is playing in England. So, at one side under estimating Sri Lanka is unfair, but it's no excuse for a jittery Sri Lankan bowling & bad performance. What I see is they did up to some average during first day, without Murali's replacement Randiv, Dilhara and Thisara. Yet, Vaas should've been chosen, but in the other hand this will be a great experience for our young bowlers to understand the nature of international test cricket. As long as good cricket is played, I don't care whoever wins. During this transition period, SL should take the full advantage of learning somethings.

  • abhi_cricinfo on May 15, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    Sanga and Mahela are ordinary outside home so can't expect fireworks from those two guys and without Malinga and Murali its really hard for SL to take 20 wickets.