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Plays of the day from the 1st day of the 3rd Test between England and Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl
June 16, 2011
Call of the day
It's possible that Mike Atherton didn't mean to sound snide during Sky's live coverage of the toss, when he declared to the viewing public: "A loud call of heads from Kumar Sangakkara". But given what had happened on the last occasion when Sangakkara lined up as Sri Lanka's captain, there was perhaps a good reason to clarify. At Mumbai in April in the World Cup final against India, his mumbled decision at the toss was drowned out by the expectant crowd, and in the confusion, the match referee Jeff Crowe ordered a retake. There was no such get-out this time around, and as Sangakkara ruefully admitted afterwards, he too would have bowled first in juicy overcast conditions.
Decision of the day
He took his time to find his best rhythm, but right from the start of his spell, James Anderson's lateral movement provided a threat that Sri Lanka had not encountered at any stage of the Lord's Test. Sure enough, in the fifth over of the day, he looked to have prised the opening. A cracking delivery exploded off the seam past the edge of Tharanga Paranavitana's bat, and looked to have grazed something on the way through. Umpire Aleem Dar, however, was unmoved, and the evidence available to England's review provided no reason to disagree. Midway through the subsequent over, however, the Snickometer ground into life, and suggested that there might indeed have been the faintest of nicks. Either way, a howler had not been committed by Dar, and therefore justice had been seen to be done.
Shot of the day
Kumar Sangakkara is as eloquent at speaking as he is elegant at batting, and later this summer he will prove that point when he gives the MCC's annual Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's. At the Rose Bowl, however, he has struck a bum note on both counts. During the captain's press conference on Wednesday, not even he could find a way to hide his evident displeasure at being handed back the captaincy, and the shot that produced his wicket today was typical of a man whose mind wasn't entirely on the game. A touch of width from Anderson and a wild yahoo outside off, and Sangakkara's unworthy record in England became that little bit worse still.
Blows of the day
At Lord's, Matt Prior endured a grim time behind the stumps, as England's wayward seamers flung 25 byes past his gloves, most of them far out of his reach down the leg side. Today, however, the threat was not so much to his figures as his face, as first Chris Tremlett and then Stuart Broad found extra lift and movement to leave their keeper scrambling to readjust. The ball from Broad was particularly potent, as it jagged first one way then curled back wickedly the other, and Prior did well not to wear the ball on his cheekbone as it deflected away for two byes.
Delays of the day
Late last month, a match at the Rose Bowl was interrupted when police marksmen were scrambled to tackle a stuffed toy tiger that had been abandoned on a neighbouring golf course. An interruption of such newsworthiness would have been a godsend for the ground today, but sadly, on the biggest occasion in its ten-year history, the delays endured were of a much more prosaic nature. A prolonged morning deluge was followed by extended showers around the lunch and tea intervals, both of which were long enough to include five-course meals and a post-prandial snooze. But in the end, the crowd got their money's worth. Just about.
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