England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lord's, 1st day June 3, 2011

Middle-order strength gives England control

61

England 342 for 6 (Prior 73*, Broad 17*) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The opening day at Lord's, under glorious sunshine, was not the one-sided affair it might have been but England took the honours by reaching 342 for 6 having been put in and recovered impressively from losing three early wickets. Alastair Cook couldn't quite make it three consecutive Test hundreds, falling for 96, and Eoin Morgan departed for a confident 79, but Matt Prior was unbeaten at the close on a fluent 73.

It could have been so much better for Sri Lanka after they'd had the home side 22 for 3 in the eighth over. They struggled to maintain the pressure even though Suranga Lakmal put in a wholehearted display to claim 3 for 79 and Chanaka Welegedara, the left-armer, made the attack more potent. Cook and Ian Bell started the fight back with a fourth-wicket stand of 108, then Morgan joined to add 71 for the fifth before Cook top-edged a pull four runs short of his sixth hundred in nine Tests.

However, the real shift in momentum occurred while Morgan added 101 in 20 overs with Prior during the long final session as Sri Lanka started flagging. Morgan had been positive from the start, dancing down the pitch and launching Rangana Herath over the top, and later did the same to Tillakaratne Dilshan, but also showed good judgement and a solid defence.

The hallmark of his play was a crispness of footwork and clarity of shot. Such was his presence at the crease it came as a surprise when he fell lbw to the second new-ball after Sri Lanka successfully used the DRS. However, it had been an important innings for Morgan and his first significant Test score since the hundred he made against Pakistan at Trent Bridge. That, too, came when England were in some trouble and the challenge brings the best out of him.

Prior, meanwhile, transformed an uncertain 201 for 5 into a far more stable position. It was a typically positive innings peppered with well-timed off-side shots. His fifty came from just 63 balls, although he was fed some friendly offerings ahead of the new ball, and also when it was taken as he hammered a weary Lakmal for three boundaries in five deliveries. And England's depth was on show again as Stuart Broad, playing his first Test innings since being Peter Siddle's hat-trick victim in Brisbane, finished on 17 in another useful stand.

Ultimately, Sri Lanka will struggle to convincingly argue that bowling first was a success and the general feeling was that Dilshan's decision owed a large amount to the fear of what England's bowlers could do to his shell-shocked batsmen after they were humbled for 82 in Cardiff rather a true belief it was the best thing to do. Yet, after eight overs he looked fully justified when Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott and the out-of-form Kevin Pietersen were all back in the pavilion.

Strauss and Trott both fell lbw to Welegedara as both played around straight deliveries. At 18 for 2 it presented the sort of challenge that would normally get Pietersen's juices flowing, but instead it became his second failure of the series as he avoided having to face any left-arm spin when he drove loosely to gully for 2 off Lakmal. It was careless batting against the new ball on a green-tinged pitch that was always going to be at its trickiest in the first session.

England, though, are not easily broken these days and set about rebuilding the innings. It needed a fair degree of luck, especially on Bell's behalf as he kept the slip cordon interested with a series of edges, but enough came out of the middle to show conditions were far from hostile. Cook and Bell both reached their fifties in quick succession, but just as Sri Lanka were starting to look flat Welegedara returned to claim his second when Bell fished outside off and an edge finally carried to first slip.

Welegedara, who was a surprise omission in Cardiff, showed the value of having a left-arm seamer because the change of angle gave the England batsmen something else to contend with. However, while he and Lakmal were wholehearted and incisive, the support was lacking and allowed England to build fresh momentum.

Cook started to find his groove after battling through the morning session and tucked into a poor spell from Dilhara Fernando with a series of pulls and cuts. He seemed destined for his 18th Test century, but was cramped for room when he tried to pull Fernando. The way England's batsmen donated their wickets won't please Andy Flower, but it's also a further sign of the team's confidence when they can be below their best and still find a way to come out on top.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 4, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    England have rode their luck but after all those edges, why not more slips? Also as pointed out by the commentators the field settings to prior were terrible. Makes the bowlers bowl outside off which is exactly where he wants it. Bad captaincy, hopefully Dilshan will learn but its not a good start. I'd have had more slips but I was unfairly ignored for the post of captain just because I'm not Sri Lankan and can't bat, bowl or field.

  • yorkslanka on June 4, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    VERY disappointed with dilshans captaincy so far this morning..proving he is not the rightman for the job...a number of edges going through first slip and he doesnt think to move the slips?Also he keeps going back to Lakmal over and over, who whilst he bowled well, is getting predictable(given that he is only a 21 yr old still elarning his trade)..for goodness sake dilshan, work to our strengths, and use spin...Our fielding has been sub standard this morning and coupled with god batting from Prior(with a bit of luck but we all take it dont we?) it has been englands morning....we need Matthews as captain,with the support of sanga and mahela, as soon as he recovers..

  • on June 4, 2011, 11:25 GMT

    @ Cranaweera - Yep 22-3 mate - and yet I'm watching the same innings and England on 448 for 8 and battering the Sri Lankan attack all over the place.

    As for those top 3 - yeah p[athetic. One averages 66 (in over 20 tests) the other 2 over 45. Yeah pathetic. Now let's have a look at the SL stats again shall we... (oh dear oh dear)

  • on June 4, 2011, 9:48 GMT

    Thats a good start by England , any team batting first would be happy with that .Sri Lanka bowlers played very well in the morning , goes to show if you can swing that ball around a bit you can remove batsmen with ease . But if England can put 4oo or more on the score board , then we will see exactly how good this Sri Lanka batting line up is .Expect a barrage of short pitched bowling and i reckon a certain mr swann is looking forward to a bowl ! .

  • offcutter on June 4, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    land47, I absolutely agree about the appalling shot to which KP got out; indeed, I mentioned it in a post. It was precisely this sort of irresponsibility that I thought demonstrated his mental failings and weaknesses that would make it salutary to drop him. But for all his shortcomings, I do think he has a quite inventive cricketing brain. Probably he will never make a good captain, but, despite evidence to the contrary, I think he might one day grow up. My point was that Strauss, while he will never be as good a batsman, has resilience, and sound judgment, and clearly inspires his team. Let's hope for a good day's play today.

  • on June 4, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    Well done England... You are doing all the right things the mighty Australians did in their pomp... There is no need for dropping anyone in their current setup. But KP should work on his technique before his figures get low. Problem with KP is he is being predictable against left-arm spin. Every great batsmen have had issues like this... But well played England.

  • 5wombats on June 4, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    @REH223; "Batting is solid but bowling not penetrative". Presuming that you are talking about Sri Lanka - all out for 82 in 24 overs in Cardiff suggests that SL's batting is anything but "Solid". Agree with the other bit.... Sri Lanka have a lot of spirit and they will fight hard - but if you put a team in to bat you are backing your bowlers. This backfired - SL could only take 5 Eng wickets at Cardiff. It was perfectly obvious that they weren't going to do much better at Lord's. Puting England into bat was just about as silly as Hussain putting Aus in @Brisbane in 2002. As at Lord's yesterday; I saw it, but I didn't believe it! Good luck Sri Lanka - let's see a tough fight! PS - if you are at Lord's today - I'm the one with the Wombats!!!

  • on June 4, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    For the next test, SL must consider the inform players considering the match against Essex, irrespective of the history. For the Essex match, SL must disregard the players who performed well in these two tests and must be included in the next test.

  • 5wombats on June 4, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    @rahulcricindia & @cranaweera; LOL. If you guys think this is a weak England batting line up then you are gravely mistaken. A good team can dig it's way out of 3/22 - and England did just that. And England haven't even started bowling yet... Just wondering if cricinfo will post my comments this time....

  • on June 4, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Although England recovered from 22/3, that is out of the question for SL. 3 wickets down mean we are down to last recognized pair. Although he scored a hundred in first test Prasanna cannot be regarded as a recognized batsman. There were many negatives for Sri Lankans in the field yesterday. Ground fielding was pathetic, wicket keeper who carries the label as "best wicket keeper in the world" was horrible in his collections, Herath did not know what line and length to ball, Maharoof who was included becuase he could bat a bit hardly looked like taking a wicket or at least beating the bat occasionally. Now since he is relieved of captain's duties Sanga should take up wicket keeping role with the intention of moving down the order a bit later on so that a youngster can be drafted in as a specialist batsman.

  • on June 4, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    England have rode their luck but after all those edges, why not more slips? Also as pointed out by the commentators the field settings to prior were terrible. Makes the bowlers bowl outside off which is exactly where he wants it. Bad captaincy, hopefully Dilshan will learn but its not a good start. I'd have had more slips but I was unfairly ignored for the post of captain just because I'm not Sri Lankan and can't bat, bowl or field.

  • yorkslanka on June 4, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    VERY disappointed with dilshans captaincy so far this morning..proving he is not the rightman for the job...a number of edges going through first slip and he doesnt think to move the slips?Also he keeps going back to Lakmal over and over, who whilst he bowled well, is getting predictable(given that he is only a 21 yr old still elarning his trade)..for goodness sake dilshan, work to our strengths, and use spin...Our fielding has been sub standard this morning and coupled with god batting from Prior(with a bit of luck but we all take it dont we?) it has been englands morning....we need Matthews as captain,with the support of sanga and mahela, as soon as he recovers..

  • on June 4, 2011, 11:25 GMT

    @ Cranaweera - Yep 22-3 mate - and yet I'm watching the same innings and England on 448 for 8 and battering the Sri Lankan attack all over the place.

    As for those top 3 - yeah p[athetic. One averages 66 (in over 20 tests) the other 2 over 45. Yeah pathetic. Now let's have a look at the SL stats again shall we... (oh dear oh dear)

  • on June 4, 2011, 9:48 GMT

    Thats a good start by England , any team batting first would be happy with that .Sri Lanka bowlers played very well in the morning , goes to show if you can swing that ball around a bit you can remove batsmen with ease . But if England can put 4oo or more on the score board , then we will see exactly how good this Sri Lanka batting line up is .Expect a barrage of short pitched bowling and i reckon a certain mr swann is looking forward to a bowl ! .

  • offcutter on June 4, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    land47, I absolutely agree about the appalling shot to which KP got out; indeed, I mentioned it in a post. It was precisely this sort of irresponsibility that I thought demonstrated his mental failings and weaknesses that would make it salutary to drop him. But for all his shortcomings, I do think he has a quite inventive cricketing brain. Probably he will never make a good captain, but, despite evidence to the contrary, I think he might one day grow up. My point was that Strauss, while he will never be as good a batsman, has resilience, and sound judgment, and clearly inspires his team. Let's hope for a good day's play today.

  • on June 4, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    Well done England... You are doing all the right things the mighty Australians did in their pomp... There is no need for dropping anyone in their current setup. But KP should work on his technique before his figures get low. Problem with KP is he is being predictable against left-arm spin. Every great batsmen have had issues like this... But well played England.

  • 5wombats on June 4, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    @REH223; "Batting is solid but bowling not penetrative". Presuming that you are talking about Sri Lanka - all out for 82 in 24 overs in Cardiff suggests that SL's batting is anything but "Solid". Agree with the other bit.... Sri Lanka have a lot of spirit and they will fight hard - but if you put a team in to bat you are backing your bowlers. This backfired - SL could only take 5 Eng wickets at Cardiff. It was perfectly obvious that they weren't going to do much better at Lord's. Puting England into bat was just about as silly as Hussain putting Aus in @Brisbane in 2002. As at Lord's yesterday; I saw it, but I didn't believe it! Good luck Sri Lanka - let's see a tough fight! PS - if you are at Lord's today - I'm the one with the Wombats!!!

  • on June 4, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    For the next test, SL must consider the inform players considering the match against Essex, irrespective of the history. For the Essex match, SL must disregard the players who performed well in these two tests and must be included in the next test.

  • 5wombats on June 4, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    @rahulcricindia & @cranaweera; LOL. If you guys think this is a weak England batting line up then you are gravely mistaken. A good team can dig it's way out of 3/22 - and England did just that. And England haven't even started bowling yet... Just wondering if cricinfo will post my comments this time....

  • on June 4, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Although England recovered from 22/3, that is out of the question for SL. 3 wickets down mean we are down to last recognized pair. Although he scored a hundred in first test Prasanna cannot be regarded as a recognized batsman. There were many negatives for Sri Lankans in the field yesterday. Ground fielding was pathetic, wicket keeper who carries the label as "best wicket keeper in the world" was horrible in his collections, Herath did not know what line and length to ball, Maharoof who was included becuase he could bat a bit hardly looked like taking a wicket or at least beating the bat occasionally. Now since he is relieved of captain's duties Sanga should take up wicket keeping role with the intention of moving down the order a bit later on so that a youngster can be drafted in as a specialist batsman.

  • tjsimonsen on June 4, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    @cranaweera: Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I remember Aus were 5 for 99 at Mumbai in 2001 and yet went on to post ca. 350, and won the match by 10 wickets - and that was against a pretty average attack too. As several here have already pointed out: a hallmark of a great team is exacty that they pick themselves up in a situation like that instead of folding like SL did in Cardiff. THE fact is that SL were unable to capitalise on their early advance, due in part to their own ineptness and in part to the excellence of Eng's lower middle order. @REH223: Remember what happened at Lords last year? Amir and Asif reduced Eng to 5 for 47. Yet they recovered to post 446 all out, not least thanks to Broad's 169.

  • Eugynne on June 4, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    Dilshan suffer from his typical paranoia. which prevents him to have frequent pocket meetings with his seniors and the most experienced, to find penetrative bowling/fielding changes. "Unite we grow divide we fall" I cannot find any better words than these Dilshan! Show us at least you can think and manouvre the troops!

  • on June 4, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    Whereis chandimal ? what is Maharoof doing in the team ?

  • DazTaylor on June 4, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    Absolutely astonishing that so many jump on the KP to be dropped bandwagon. This is the one ENgland batsman with the 'X Factor'. Also strange how those calling for him to be dropped dont mention Strauss. The same Strauss who averages less than he does, both for thier whole careers and, more importantly, for the last 2 years. KP has averaged over 40 for EVERY CALENDAR YEAR he has been a test batsman. Quite unbelieveable. But then I guess people dont mention this as it doesn't fit with their agenda. As for the couple of people saying Cook & Trott bat too slowly, I look forward to you repeating these claims when Rahul Dravid plays later this summer. He does, after all, bat even slower.

  • on June 4, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Hope Dilahara is used as the tool to wipe out the middle order and tail today....

  • on June 4, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    i was looking at Sri lanka line up for this test an personally think they are one fast bowler too many.No offence to the bowlers they got but i think 3 quicks an 2 spinners is ideal at Lords

  • pratit on June 4, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    I find sri lanka's selection policy baffling.if they had to go with a 6-5 combo then surely kulasekara deserved a chance ahead of maharoof.maharoof,at 25 wickets from 21 matches and a batting average of 19,is simply not a test quality all-rounder.and where is randiv?i remember him troubling us(india) in the last sri lanka tour and that is certainly not an easy thing to do given how well we play spin.lanka should back him looking at the future because he is an attacking spinner rather than herath who looks defensive

  • denwarlo70 on June 4, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    I don't see pocket meetings on the field between Dilshan, Sanga and Mahela? They should put their 3 brains together and make it good. I really don't understand why the Lankan quickies keep bowling outside the off stump when they could bowl straight and make the batsmen play and when they play, a mistake is inevitable and the chances of getting them out are high. This is why I say pocket meetings between the 3 most experienced should take place on the field and advice the quickies in what and how it should be done. It is pleasing to note that 5 English scalps have fallen but 364 it self means something is wrong somewhere. Let's wait and see as there are four more days to go.

  • REH223 on June 4, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    SRI LANKA..........................BRING IN MUHAMMAD AMIR AND MUHAMMAD ASIF and I bet England would not score more than 250. Batting is solid but bowling not penetrative.

  • randika_ayya on June 4, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Dilshan needs to be more involved at all times. As captain he needs to think on his feet and adapt to situations quickly if his plan A fails, like his more illustrious predecessors. Each bowler should be reminded that they are not suppsoed to play into the batsman's hands like they did against Trott in Wales and now Prior. SL has it in them to atleast draw the series if the captain can get the best out of the bowlers in each session. Fernando MUST be used effectively, he is a confidence sort of bowler. What Dilshan did with Mendis at Cardiff should not be repeated with Dilhara in the current game!

  • VipulPatki on June 4, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    Surprising how people are so quick to criticize batsmen like Sehwag and KP when they get out to a loose shot but are the first to praise their "uncluttered minds" when the shot comes off nicely. KP is not Ashraful to be labeled a liability so soon. BTW, same applies to Dilshan too. Welegedra should be persisted with. I remember how he troubled Dravid.

  • on June 4, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    England are top after being 22 for 3. SL must bat well, without throwing away the wicket. For that, they must avoid / evade bouncers. They must have a lead of about 300, during the later part of the 4th day so that they can avoid batting on the 5th day. Because, if SL were 22 for 3, it would have been another repeat in Cardiff even though, SL got Sanga, Mahela and Thilan who are among the best 11 in the world. Dilshan must try to emulate them in this series and be on par with them. Considering the venom of SL bowling, a DRAW will be a good result for SL, of this test, particularly after having a 6 : 5 combination.

  • RohanMarkJay on June 4, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    I thought England were goners at 3 wickets down for 20 odd. But they dug in again and rescued the situation. Sri Lanka can take a leaf out of England's book I think and try and apply themselves when the chips are down etc. Sri Lanka won the first session then England fought back and won the next two session. So well played Sri Lanka and well played England. An intrigueing opening day of the Lord's test match. That is why I like Test cricket, it so like Chess. In fact one cricket writer coined the term. Test Cricket is Chess on grass. Well I wholeheartedly agree.Well both sports at international level take just as long. For example International grandmaster Chess finals can take as long as 30 hours. Well a Cricket Test Match that goes the distance lasts 30 hours too. Thats why test cricket is the ultimate, it is the most cerebral of field sports, a far cry from the slogging lottery of 20/20.

  • on June 4, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    If you can't get a side out after putting them in after winning the Toss it is hard to win. However let us see how much England will get in the 1st innings. Let us talk after that.

  • on June 4, 2011, 1:15 GMT

    A good days cricket, good bowling from Sri Lanka at first but I think that England have edged ahead after the Morgan and Prior counter punch. That could change if Sri Lanka bowl England out cheaply tomorrow. Interestingly the average first inning score at lords since 2005 is 438 but the average second inning is 270. Sri Lanka will want to change those averages!

  • landl47 on June 4, 2011, 0:54 GMT

    @cranaweera- the difference between England and Sri Lanka is that when Sri Lanka were 20-3 in Cardiff they were all out 82. England went on to get 342-6. That's why England are the better team and why they will win this series. @offcutter: I don't think KP has any leadership qualities at all and as for tactically astute.. did you see the shot he got out to today when England had lost 2 quick wickets? Fortunately, I think the chances of KP becoming captain are pretty much nil. I'd settle for him getting his head in the game and making a few runs.

  • on June 4, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    England bats down to number 9, its not an easy task to take 20 wickets against them when their batsman are in such good form. Great to see morgan make a telling contribution, he is certainly better then bopara. Prior needs a big tonne here to take england to 450-480. Good to see sri lanka take some early wickets, but englands batting is just too strong at the moment. Just imagine if pieterson was in form... I Don't like people saying pieterson should go because he has been such a good player, tho with james taylor piling on runs in county cricket at an avg of 50 in both formats it will be hard to keep him out of the side for long.

  • KHALID.F on June 4, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    I don't feel Pieterson should be dropped now. He should not have played the first test and actually neither should have Broad. Yes England won the first test however their two poorest performances were by the two i have mentioned. Broad has not played any cricket since last summer, he came home early from the ashes, broke down in the world cup and made a poor start with his county this season. With all due respect he is not invisible he is not yet a great bowler and therefore should not just walk straight back in without some sort of form. As for Pieterson he claims his last test innings (before cardiff) was a double hundred in the Ashes and that it would seem odd to leave him out. Well he has played cricket since the ashes in ODI and particular the World Cup and was not fit for IPL and played no County cricket this season and he walks straight back in. There was a debate should it be Morgon or Bopara , well i would have picked both, Bopara has scored a tone of runs and deserved it.

  • LePom on June 3, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    "3 for 22 against a 'medicore' fast bowling attack - shows how average the English batsmen are. One can give all kinds of excuses such as laziness, etc. But the fact is that the top order flopped, big time." By my calcs, the first 10 wickets have cost Sri Lanka just under 700 runs. The average wicket is around the 65 run mark. That would, to most be considered a very good average for a batting line up.

    The question is whether a great team is one with a top order that never fails, or one that has the capacity to succeed regardless of whether the top order fails or not. I would consider one of the things that made recent Australian teams so great was the fact that you could get the first six wickets cheap, and still end up facing a daunting total. Sure, England had a poor start, but they are showing a depth, skill a maturity that should be a warning to other teams. It is foolish to assume they are the same team as years ago, the character has changed.

  • Lord.emsworth on June 3, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    A 3/0 drubbiing is on the cards. As we all predicted before the series SL's bowling just keeps on being hammered all over the place. England is scoring at nearly 4 an over. Toothless bowling was expected but that the much hyped and on paper 'strong' SL batting should crumble as they did in Cardiff was unexpected. Dilshan had no choice but to field today. He had all the right to fear a new batting debacle. I don't think he fears himself. He knows he can whack any attack to pieces but he knows the unreliable nature of his top batsmen. (Unreliable outside the sub-continent that is). Shakespeare's quote 'Strange bedfellows' is an apt description of Dilshan's dilemna.

  • cabinet96 on June 3, 2011, 21:43 GMT

    @cranaweera Yet were still on top. Shows how much depth we've got. The top order can't all hit 100's every game. But they certainly try and almost do.

  • allblue on June 3, 2011, 21:04 GMT

    An excellent day's Test cricket, full of ebb and flow, and about even by the close I reckon. Fair play to SL for coming back strong after Monday's traumas, but England are a tough outfit these days and will keep fighting. 450 is about par on this good batting track and fast outfield so the morning session will set the stage for the rest of the match. Regarding bowling wide - I agree that it is a legitimate tactic, but it does rather indicate a lack of real confidence in the bowlers to take wickets, rather like Ashley Giles bowling over the wicket to Lara! The one gripe - how on earth can SL only bowl 88 overs in three full sessions plus half-an-hour when they have two spinners in their attack? That is not a legitimate tactic.

  • Tom_Bowler on June 3, 2011, 20:26 GMT

    Hard day for SL, a couple of times they held the whip hand but they were unable to capitalise. That is what makes this England team so special, they are a team from top to bottom. The bowlers hunt as a pack, the fielding is awesome and when they bat if number three and four don't score numbers six, seven and eight will dig them out. England don't have a bowler equal to Dale Steyn or a batsman to match the mighty Sachin but there isn't a team in the world to touch them. Seven from seven this summer, mark my words.

  • mahabesh on June 3, 2011, 20:16 GMT

    Really Enjoyed watching todays game . Hope it continues to be intriguing. Feel sorry that KP is going through a rough patch, its good to see a good batsman batting. Reminds me of Richards, Lara, Gatting and others

  • on June 3, 2011, 20:10 GMT

    @rahulindia India came to number 1 rank backed by the plays of Rahul, laxman, sachin & ganguly who played similar cricket. They are called the LEGENDS of INDIA.

  • offcutter on June 3, 2011, 19:54 GMT

    The reason I feel KP should be dropped (unless he performs in the second innings) is precisely because he is such a wonderful batsman. Yet at the moment he also seems to want application, and perhaps confidence. (The shot he got out to was dreadful and irresponsible.) Of course, he oozes talent, but he needs to apply that talent. Dropping him, I feel, would have a salutary effect: he would come back more eager to dominate, and to bat intelligently. There is the possibility that he would have a tantrum and flounce off, but if he wishes to behave like that (and I doubt he would), then he does not deserve to play. Those who point to his stronger performance than Strauss miss a self-evident point that Strauss, while not the most imaginative captain, is a proven leader of men. England need him as skipper. KP was a dreadful captain because his ego got in the way, even though I suspect he still has the potential to be tactically astute and exciting as a leader.

  • KingOwl on June 3, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    3 for 22 against a 'medicore' fast bowling attack - shows how average the English batsmen are. One can give all kinds of excuses such as laziness, etc. But the fact is that the top order flopped, big time.

  • SDHM on June 3, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    Rahul - ironic that you're accusing Trott and Cook of being slow, considering your namesake...

  • Nampally on June 3, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    It was another disappointing display by SL - leeting the game slip out of their hands twise - once with score at 22 for 3 and next with score at 200 for 5. The best SL can expect out of this test is a draw with defeat a strong possibility. There is too much emphasis on Herath. I personally feel that Mendis is a much better spinner than Herath. He has more tricks up his sleeve. However exclusion of Randhv from the squad was a poor decision. His absence is being fel with Murali missing due to retirement. Even now SL can get Vaas & Randhiv in the squad and win the last test. For the next 4 days SL will have to play their best cricket to save this game.SL's fielding and bowling were poor in the fact that they did not push home the advantage twice. Can their batsmen rally and rise to the occasion remains to be seen.Sanga, Mahela & Dilshan have a chance to show the world why they are amongst the best batsmen in the world. Can they show it by putting up big scores or just flop?

  • sammykent on June 3, 2011, 19:41 GMT

    Dropping KP is a ridiculous notion, great players deserve to be afforded the odd slump. Steve Waugh had a terrible batting average at the start of his career, Mark Taylor had a huge slump but came back as one of the greatest to wield the willow. Obviously KP will bounce back and contribute. I live in Australia and believe that a small part of their recent loss of potency is due to the swiftness of the axe. The public and the media don't help things either. This bulletin closes on the point that even an out of sorts England can be in a position of strength at the end of the day after being 3/22. That is the McGrath/Warne era team from Australia. Never out and with a batting line up that confidently goes to 9 whilst having a great bowling attack. I was concerned about the lack of a genuine allrounder in the England Test squad but am a big fan of Morgan so happy he got a run. Turns out that England have the fire power with the bat and ball to effectively gloss over the loss of Collingwood

  • Optic on June 3, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    @rahulcricindia Well your doing your best to be Mr funny man aren't you because you can't be serious, if you are, people will be laughing, but at you. . What the hell does, edgiest batsman mean and Bell and Cook score at the same rate as any of the other top batsmen in the world, Kallis scores at a slower rate than both, Tendulkar a couple of points faster, Gambhir the same. To be honest when you say things like 'these guys are hopeless' I can't and no one else, probably can take you seriously and your just trolling.

  • Diyan82 on June 3, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    No matter how good you are as a team or Individual and no matter how many times you have beaten a team on previous encounters you start on a clean slate in the beginning of every match. It may be 20ovr, 50ovr or a test match, at the end of the day it's all down to preparation and the mentality of the players. The Sri Lankan team must admit to the fact that they were not prepared to the conditions as well as the temperament of test cricket. From 20-20 to 50 over cricket can be easily done but from 20-20 to test match cricket is a whole new ball game. It's sad that the veterans in the Sri Lankan team failed to understand this. It's under preparation and underestimation of the opponents that undid the Sri Lankan line up. Let's hope they have learned from their mistakes and give themselves a better chance in the 2nd test.

  • SDHM on June 3, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    A good day of cricket, but I think neither side will be truly happy with it. England would've liked at least one of Cook, Bell or Morgan to still be in, and if they're being greedy, probably two. Sri Lanka will be pleased to get the top six out, but after bowling first, you surely have to be looking to restrict a side to a good amount less than 340. A great recovery from England, once again proving their character, and I was impressed with the whole-heartedness of Lakmal and Welegedara. The Sky commentators have said that the groundsmen are predicting the pitch to quicken up over the next couple of days as well, which will please England more than Sri Lanka I think. Still, nice to have some sunshine and a full day of play after last week!

  • dkmemon on June 3, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Pieterson cannot be dropped,,,,see what collingwood did in Ashes but he played the whole series and was the only one without any contribution....U ppl arecomparing strauss with pieterson ,,,let me tell U that even Matt Prior has a better average in tests than Prior in last 2 years,,,so Pietersin is our back Bone and I am sure that he will thrash India in upcoming series....all the best to KP

  • rahulcricindia on June 3, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    well bell is the edgiest batsman in the world and cook and trot are as slow as turtle and strauss and peiterson should be looking for holiday as the way they are playing...and still people think the have one of the best batting line up.....please this is not the place to crack a joke ......these guys are hopeless....

  • yorkslanka on June 3, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    overall, i think it is a pretty even day with sri lanka taking the morning session and england taking the afternoon...whilst in this series i am glad to see englands batsmen back in the hutch, i did feel for cook and thought he desereved a ton with teh way he batted(until his final shot)... I cant believe that people are calling for KP's head?I know that he is in a poor patch of fomr at the moment but have you all had amnesia and forgotten over his clear ability and achievements over the last two years...bit of a cheesy line but form is temporary whislt class is permanent..he will come good (hopefully after this series :-) ...) I was happier with our bowling attack today who bowled better than the first test...I see nothing wrong with bowling wide of the stumps and testing morgans patience, what do you suggest feeding him when he is scoring freely?NO, test his judgement and patience to build pressure by slowing his scoring and maybe benefitting from a wicket due to an error.go Lanka

  • landl47 on June 3, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    England showed once again that they are a team, not just a few talented individuals. 22-3 looked bad, but to have reached 342-6 by the close is just about par for the conditions. SL bowled better than at Cardiff, but by the end of the day they'd lost the advantage. It's pretty even at the moment; if SL mop up England quickly tomorrow then they have a chance to win. If England put on another 100 then it's hard to see SL bowling them out a second time cheaply enough to win. KP really needs to get his head into the game; 22-2 is no time to be reaching for a ball two feet wide of the wicket. Cook's continued form is amazing; it's ,a surprise when he gets out. Good job by Bell, Morgan and Prior, too. An interesting game.

  • on June 3, 2011, 17:13 GMT

    now it's time for ranga herath to fires up to show how demolishes he can be towards batsmen then all talks will be shut down whilst the all talks will started figuring out & justifying the way their team performance. it's no doubt sl is the smallest country which has reached milestones in cricket as a country so looking at those other countries which plays cricket are either most powerful or high in population so it's as easy as to find bunch of players when one kick to bush. There is no wonder why eng people brag about their pride like as if they have won the wc. talk more about it because it seems you got the fetish. SMILE :P

  • Optic on June 3, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    @douglondon Completely agree, even after averaging 60 in the Ashes, the haters and the vultures are very quick to jump on KP. Not a word has been said about Strauss, even though he's averaging less than him, must be because he's the captain, or because KP draws more attention. KP needs to find his form, but dropping him before the Indian series, would be stupid, when it's probably going to be the highest pressure test England have played, excluding the Ashes.

  • Trickstar on June 3, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    KP will keep his place till the end of the series at the least, simply from the runs he's scored in the Ashes, still averaging 42 in the last 2 years, so it's not as if he's not scoring. England need him to find form because Strauss is averaging even less than KP the last 2 years and the way the top 3 play, it would be rather boring to watch without him.

  • darkknight1072 on June 3, 2011, 15:19 GMT

    Why is SL so defensive, only 2 slips and a gully and bowling wide off the off stump? Is it a method or madness. There seems to be no contest out there.

  • on June 3, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    Someone needs to get rid of cock as he seems out to be an awful wound in sl body. If sl needs to win this, then there are two things would require for sure one things is eng batsmen need to keep on rendering in a way that showed lack of eager for batting, in other words lazy in selecting shots. If I re-call some said eng batting line-up would be last long for many years against sl bowling line-up so now i'm in a situation wondering what has happened? whether it's good bowling or poor batting or may be it's up for you to decide.

    Secondly sl batsmen shouldn't find difficulties in batting against fast tall bowlers who are said to be better bowlers in uk conditions, or sl batsmen wouldn't and they won't find it hard to drive the ball through the fielders into the fence. Let's wait & see how it goes. Sri Lanka all the way... no one to boast as to how good eng batsmen are batting, laughing all the way from Colombo....

  • douglondon on June 3, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Drop Pietersen?!

    Would that be the Kevin Pietersen who averages nearly 50 in tests? Or the one who's never averaged below 40 in a calendar year or season? Or would it be the Kevin Pietersen who, only a couple of Tests ago, scored an Ashes double century in Australia? The only truly destructive batsman in England's lineup.

    You'd like to see him dropped on the basis of 2 bad tests? Because chop and change selection has historically been great for England. With that thinking Cook would never have made the Ashes. Pietersen will come good. Soon.

  • offcutter on June 3, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Cranaweera, I did not mean to take anything away from Sri Lanka's bowling, but KP got out reaching for an indifferent, wide ball. His wicket was not the product of good bowling, but of truly irresponsible and stupid batting, especially given the circumstances. Actually, having watched some systematically wide seam bowling from SL this afternoon, when one would have hoped that they would try to force home an advantage, I am not overly inspired by the SL attack. BUT I am not a jingoistic Englishman - in fact, after the last test I posted a rebuke to boorishly tribalist support for England - and James has just commented on how excellent it is to see Sri Lanka coming back in this match. So please [i[ take note of what has actually been happening in the game; [ii] take note of what people have actually written, and [iii] don't be so touchy. I for one like to see balanced and competitive tests, am happy to criticise the teams I support, and more than happy to recognise merit in others.

  • Sameer_cricfan on June 3, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    For the sake of England please do not drop Pietersen.... Don't forget he was the one who initiated Aussie demolition with a stunning double hundred.... Note my words KP will be Eng's highest run getter in IND series

  • Lord.emsworth on June 3, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    Just cant blame Dilshan for opting to field. He knows the unreliabilty of his two key batsmen Sangakarra and Jayawardene outside the Sub-continent and the memory of the debacle at Cardiff doesnt make it better. He is also saddled now with four guys who cant bat. (Dilhara, Lakmal, Welagedera, and Herath) At least Thissara Perera could be counted for a brisk 30 or 40 runs and Randiv doesnt give his wicket cheaply either. But they are not included. Mahroof may be going great guns at Lancs but he never delivers in the Test team.

  • sgh142 on June 3, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    Taxi for Pietersen.......... at last I'm getting some support!!!!. Back to Surrey 2's for the useless one!!

  • KingOwl on June 3, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    So, it was all a matter of England batsman being 'lazy' - It was nothing to do with the bowling!

  • on June 3, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    I very much agree with you Offcutter, the only problem about KP returning for the India series is that the T20 has now started so there are no county championship matches for him to play in and try to regain form. I would bring in Taylor, it's a shame Stokes is injured as he would add a bowling option. I don't think they will, but another option might be Samit Patel, he's played very well this year and again offers the additional bowling option.

  • on June 3, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    This is what I love about test cricket, Sri Lanka were definite underdogs in this game but you just never know. Still an awful lot of cricket to play but a good start for Sri Lanka.

  • offcutter on June 3, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    Surely time to drop KP. I would hope that he recovers his form, but he is merely wasting a place in the team at the moment. Personally, I would take a chance and blood James Taylor of Leicestershire (who seems to have a wonderful technique, excellent temperament, and no arrogance), but there are many other worthy candidates. KP needs to spend time in the middle before the India series; at present he is a liability. Now, KP, prove the doubters wrong in the second innings, or go and play some county cricket.

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  • offcutter on June 3, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    Surely time to drop KP. I would hope that he recovers his form, but he is merely wasting a place in the team at the moment. Personally, I would take a chance and blood James Taylor of Leicestershire (who seems to have a wonderful technique, excellent temperament, and no arrogance), but there are many other worthy candidates. KP needs to spend time in the middle before the India series; at present he is a liability. Now, KP, prove the doubters wrong in the second innings, or go and play some county cricket.

  • on June 3, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    This is what I love about test cricket, Sri Lanka were definite underdogs in this game but you just never know. Still an awful lot of cricket to play but a good start for Sri Lanka.

  • on June 3, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    I very much agree with you Offcutter, the only problem about KP returning for the India series is that the T20 has now started so there are no county championship matches for him to play in and try to regain form. I would bring in Taylor, it's a shame Stokes is injured as he would add a bowling option. I don't think they will, but another option might be Samit Patel, he's played very well this year and again offers the additional bowling option.

  • KingOwl on June 3, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    So, it was all a matter of England batsman being 'lazy' - It was nothing to do with the bowling!

  • sgh142 on June 3, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    Taxi for Pietersen.......... at last I'm getting some support!!!!. Back to Surrey 2's for the useless one!!

  • Lord.emsworth on June 3, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    Just cant blame Dilshan for opting to field. He knows the unreliabilty of his two key batsmen Sangakarra and Jayawardene outside the Sub-continent and the memory of the debacle at Cardiff doesnt make it better. He is also saddled now with four guys who cant bat. (Dilhara, Lakmal, Welagedera, and Herath) At least Thissara Perera could be counted for a brisk 30 or 40 runs and Randiv doesnt give his wicket cheaply either. But they are not included. Mahroof may be going great guns at Lancs but he never delivers in the Test team.

  • Sameer_cricfan on June 3, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    For the sake of England please do not drop Pietersen.... Don't forget he was the one who initiated Aussie demolition with a stunning double hundred.... Note my words KP will be Eng's highest run getter in IND series

  • offcutter on June 3, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Cranaweera, I did not mean to take anything away from Sri Lanka's bowling, but KP got out reaching for an indifferent, wide ball. His wicket was not the product of good bowling, but of truly irresponsible and stupid batting, especially given the circumstances. Actually, having watched some systematically wide seam bowling from SL this afternoon, when one would have hoped that they would try to force home an advantage, I am not overly inspired by the SL attack. BUT I am not a jingoistic Englishman - in fact, after the last test I posted a rebuke to boorishly tribalist support for England - and James has just commented on how excellent it is to see Sri Lanka coming back in this match. So please [i[ take note of what has actually been happening in the game; [ii] take note of what people have actually written, and [iii] don't be so touchy. I for one like to see balanced and competitive tests, am happy to criticise the teams I support, and more than happy to recognise merit in others.

  • douglondon on June 3, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Drop Pietersen?!

    Would that be the Kevin Pietersen who averages nearly 50 in tests? Or the one who's never averaged below 40 in a calendar year or season? Or would it be the Kevin Pietersen who, only a couple of Tests ago, scored an Ashes double century in Australia? The only truly destructive batsman in England's lineup.

    You'd like to see him dropped on the basis of 2 bad tests? Because chop and change selection has historically been great for England. With that thinking Cook would never have made the Ashes. Pietersen will come good. Soon.

  • on June 3, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    Someone needs to get rid of cock as he seems out to be an awful wound in sl body. If sl needs to win this, then there are two things would require for sure one things is eng batsmen need to keep on rendering in a way that showed lack of eager for batting, in other words lazy in selecting shots. If I re-call some said eng batting line-up would be last long for many years against sl bowling line-up so now i'm in a situation wondering what has happened? whether it's good bowling or poor batting or may be it's up for you to decide.

    Secondly sl batsmen shouldn't find difficulties in batting against fast tall bowlers who are said to be better bowlers in uk conditions, or sl batsmen wouldn't and they won't find it hard to drive the ball through the fielders into the fence. Let's wait & see how it goes. Sri Lanka all the way... no one to boast as to how good eng batsmen are batting, laughing all the way from Colombo....