England v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Rose Bowl, 1st day June 16, 2011

Despondent Sri Lanka slide between the showers

The fact that England were able to keep the game ticking along with four key wickets said as much about Sri Lanka's distracted mindset as it did about the improved intent of their pace attack
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As grand unveilings go, the Rose Bowl's first day as a Test venue was an unavoidably low-key occasion. Hampshire's dismal morning weather did eventually give way to a pleasingly sunlit evening, the transition point of which was marked by a rainbow that seemed to emerge directly from the Gourmet Burger van on the concourse, but in between whiles just 38 overs out of 90 were possible. However, the fact that England were able to keep the game ticking along with four key wickets said as much about Sri Lanka's distracted mindset as it did about the improved intent of their pace attack.

Sri Lanka are not a happy outfit right now. That much could be surmised from the distracted performance of their reluctant captain, Kumar Sangakkara, whose flaccid waft outside off reduced his average in Tests in England to 25.06, and left him with one innings in which to avoid the worst series average of his 97-Test career. Neither he nor Mahela Jayawardene has managed so much as a half-century in the series to date, and given that between them they account for nearly 18,000 of Sri Lanka's Test runs, that is a shortcoming that seems certain to cost them the series.

"It comes as a bit of surprise because everybody at home would like to see Sanga and Mahela getting runs," admitted Sri Lanka's batting coach, Marvan Atapattu. "Sanga will be pretty unhappy seeing the replay of the shot he played, but I don't think the captaincy [is playing on his mind]. It's just that he made a decision when he gave up the captaincy, but now the country needs him to captain, and he's one of those guys proud to lead his country any time it needs him."

However, today was not the day for heroics from either former captain. For two men as universally respected as Sangakkara and Jayawardene, it beggars belief that neither man has been capable of sustaining their leadership roles for longer than two years apiece. "This is a job that ages you very quickly," said Sangakkara on the eve of the game, and his brief innings certainly gave the impression that his reflexes have slowed beyond repair, even though it is scarcely two months since he was cover-driving with aplomb in the World Cup final in Mumbai.

In the interim, however, both he and Jayawardene have spent time at the IPL in India, a tournament as far removed from Test cricket in early-season England as any cricket contest could be. The two men were the last of the Sri Lankan squad to join the tour (at the apparent insistence of their own board who had struck a deal with the BCCI) and played one warm-up game in Derby after concluding their captaincy stints at Deccan and Kochi respectively. Though Sangakkara appeared to find form with an innings of 153 against Essex last week, Atapattu still believed that their late arrivals were to blame for their ongoing rustiness.

"When you're in England the first thing that should happen is the adjustment," said Atapattu. "People coming from 50-over and then 20-over versions doesn't really help. It takes a bit of time, and you're in a country where your technique is going to be tested. It doesn't happen overnight; you need some time. This is why players need to get to a place like England, play a few practice games, get runs and get into Test level - because that's where you get the best of the bowlers."

In between the showers, the test that Sri Lanka faced today was arguably their toughest of the tour to date. Though Graeme Swann's wiles have yet to be called into the attack, the return of Jimmy Anderson brought with it the lateral movement that had been missing from both England's Lord's performance and the final-day meltdown in Cardiff, an occasion when panic and adrenalin respectively played more of a part in Sri Lanka's downfall than any excellence on England's part.

When you're in England the first thing that should happen is the adjustment. People coming from 50-over and then 20-over versions doesn't really help
Marvan Atapattu on Sri Lanka's series preparation

"It was impressive for Jimmy to come back in without any overs under his belt," said his fellow seamer Chris Tremlett, after Anderson's comeback for Lancashire against Worcestershire had been washed out prior to the Test. "Sixteen overs out of 40-odd is a hard job, and he hit his straps straightaway, so credit to him. It was great to have him back."

The hallmark of the new-model Anderson is his discipline in all situations. With more match fitness he might have torn Sri Lanka to shreds with his swing both ways on a juiced-up surface, just as he did against Pakistan in 2010, but rather than get carried away by the assistance on offer, he settled for containment first and foremost, seeping 24 runs in 16 overs, and relying on batsman error for both of his breakthroughs.

The net result was a Sri Lankan innings that never found any momentum, neither in the first 12 overs when Tharanga Paranavitana and the debutant Larihu Thiramanne ground out 23 runs for the first wicket, nor in the final hour, when Thilan Samaraweera and Prasanna Jayawardene salvaged some pride by adding 42 runs for the fifth wicket at less than three an over.

That alliance lifted the score to a palatable 81 for 4, but even on a stop-start day that prevented any sustained pressure from being exerted, it was clear that England had expected far greater rewards than they received. "We were a bit lacklustre with our lines and lengths," admitted Tremlett. "But even though we'd have liked to get a couple more wickets today, we didn't feel like we let them get away."

For Tremlett, who left Hampshire for Surrey in 2009 after a decade of service on the South Coast, the day was especially memorable in spite of the limited cricket. With his new club languishing in the Second Division this was his first chance to return to the county where his father Tim remains director of cricket, but the reception he received from the local crowd was as enthusiastic as you would hope for a player who has made such strides in recent months.

"I like to think I offered a lot to the county and gave the fans some good viewing at times," he said. "They gave me a nice reception and it was nice to see some familiar faces. Today was a great occasion for the Rose Bowl and for [the chairman] Rod Bransgrove, and though it's obviously a shame we haven't got a full day today, the fans were loud and seemed like they had a good day despite the rain. Me getting a couple of wickets will have made them happier."

As Tremlett spoke, a loud crashing of empty bottles being tipped into a recycling truck confirmed the impression that the party had pressed on in spite of all the setbacks. However, the mood in one section of the ground, the visiting dressing room, remains as black as the forecast for Friday's resumption.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | June 17, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    @Ellis: It is more difficult for overseas players to get used to the English conditions than you think.The very same bowlers if they bowl in the Indian sub continent conditions, they will be thrashed let alone getting a bundle of wickets.English wickets and seaming conditions are unique and it takes time to get used to them. Let SL & India have a full 5 test match tour instead of sharing the season with hardly any practice matches.You will see a vastly different performance. Instead of getting out for 200, the scores will be in 400 + zone. Having said that SL batting is weak lower down in the order although contrary to your prediction, # 8, 9, 11 batsmen have already got 52 runs between them.India has a much stronger batting but they will struggle in English conditions because they have only one practice match before going into test. ICC should not exclude these results for World ranking because of unfair advantage to England compared to tests Vs. the Aussies, who get a full season.

  • POSTED BY faizalsehwag on | June 17, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    remove the test status of lanka as they cannot win abroad series.request to ICC: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE arrange test matches in their home grounds only for lanka...other wise it will be one-sided whole match tournaments.... 101 % AGREE WITH @lijihas and kallagun.....

  • POSTED BY lijihas on | June 17, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    after this series lanka should reach 9th or 10th... performance wise they are equal to bangladesh as they cannot win away matches... in away matches both these team are ordinary... they cannot win or make a draw with top ranked teams like AUS,ENG,IND,AND SA.....atleast try to learn from these teams how to play cricket....

  • POSTED BY nimal183 on | June 17, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    what a weather great for cricket!!! How can someone bat in this weather condition.. Play for 1 hour off the pitch play for another hour off the pitch... is it test cricket!!!! I feel sorry for the Sri lankan batsmen!!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    SL in dire straights again, paranavitana making a start and getting out AGAIN and sanga and mahela have both failed all series, furthermore as expected, broad bowled like rubbish, while tremlett and anderson were outstanding

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    England have had the best bowling conditions when they bowled and the best when they batted as well and asking a Sri Lnakan player to perform in conditons where the tempreature is somwhere below 15 degrees is quite a task. i had trouble sitting in the stands all wrapped up in Cardiff.

  • POSTED BY IlaughAtTheee on | June 17, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    SL has won only 15 out of 60 overseas Test matches since Jan 01, 1997 - this is after being crowned "world champions". Most notable of those victories are just 2 wins in England and 4 against Pakistan. Rest are against BD, WI, NZ. Please note: NO VICTORIES against INDIA, SA, AUS!

    All the talk about character and what not for just this? Few days back someone claimed, I quote, "we are the best players of swing and pace from the sub-continent". LOL!

    STATS DONT LIE :)

  • POSTED BY Ellis on | June 17, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    Miller should give up on the psychology and psychiatry. There is no evidence that the team is dispirited, nor is there an indication that Sangakkara is not trying his best. I think the IPL excuse is nonsense. Mahela and Sangakkara have been in England for quite a while now, have played there many times before, and know how to adjust. England know how to exploit the conditions and credit to them. Sangakkara played a bad shot, as did Thirimanne and Jayawardena. The poor form of Sangakkara and Jayawardena is accentuated by an extremely weak lower order from number 7, onwards. It takes a great deal of optimism and courage to forecast that those five batsmen will aggregate 30 runs between them in current conditions. This was always going to be a tough Test series for SL and it is proving to be so. However, there is still cricket to be played. Let's see how it goes.

  • POSTED BY chandau on | June 17, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    LOL this sudden string of wins have given the poms a new lease of life. Lets rewind and see the early 1980s when they got white washed or is it black washed 5 zip by WI :) lmao c'mon guys asking the SL team to play at the start of the summer in cold windy wet conditions on grassy juicy pitches and expect them to win also?? and now that an era of greatness is over with the retirements of vassy murali and mali it will be another decade before a decent bowling attack can be developed. as for the people who say Sanga and Mahela cannot bat outside sri lanka , may be they need to look at the stats in australia and south africa against better bowlers for sure. Finally have to agree with MArvy, acclimatization is a must to play the moving ball.

  • POSTED BY Kate52 on | June 17, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    @stormy16..."Ind/SA/Ind are clearly the leading pack" Is that the India A and B teams? Or are you suggesting they are twice as good as everyone else?

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | June 17, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    @Ellis: It is more difficult for overseas players to get used to the English conditions than you think.The very same bowlers if they bowl in the Indian sub continent conditions, they will be thrashed let alone getting a bundle of wickets.English wickets and seaming conditions are unique and it takes time to get used to them. Let SL & India have a full 5 test match tour instead of sharing the season with hardly any practice matches.You will see a vastly different performance. Instead of getting out for 200, the scores will be in 400 + zone. Having said that SL batting is weak lower down in the order although contrary to your prediction, # 8, 9, 11 batsmen have already got 52 runs between them.India has a much stronger batting but they will struggle in English conditions because they have only one practice match before going into test. ICC should not exclude these results for World ranking because of unfair advantage to England compared to tests Vs. the Aussies, who get a full season.

  • POSTED BY faizalsehwag on | June 17, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    remove the test status of lanka as they cannot win abroad series.request to ICC: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE arrange test matches in their home grounds only for lanka...other wise it will be one-sided whole match tournaments.... 101 % AGREE WITH @lijihas and kallagun.....

  • POSTED BY lijihas on | June 17, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    after this series lanka should reach 9th or 10th... performance wise they are equal to bangladesh as they cannot win away matches... in away matches both these team are ordinary... they cannot win or make a draw with top ranked teams like AUS,ENG,IND,AND SA.....atleast try to learn from these teams how to play cricket....

  • POSTED BY nimal183 on | June 17, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    what a weather great for cricket!!! How can someone bat in this weather condition.. Play for 1 hour off the pitch play for another hour off the pitch... is it test cricket!!!! I feel sorry for the Sri lankan batsmen!!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    SL in dire straights again, paranavitana making a start and getting out AGAIN and sanga and mahela have both failed all series, furthermore as expected, broad bowled like rubbish, while tremlett and anderson were outstanding

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    England have had the best bowling conditions when they bowled and the best when they batted as well and asking a Sri Lnakan player to perform in conditons where the tempreature is somwhere below 15 degrees is quite a task. i had trouble sitting in the stands all wrapped up in Cardiff.

  • POSTED BY IlaughAtTheee on | June 17, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    SL has won only 15 out of 60 overseas Test matches since Jan 01, 1997 - this is after being crowned "world champions". Most notable of those victories are just 2 wins in England and 4 against Pakistan. Rest are against BD, WI, NZ. Please note: NO VICTORIES against INDIA, SA, AUS!

    All the talk about character and what not for just this? Few days back someone claimed, I quote, "we are the best players of swing and pace from the sub-continent". LOL!

    STATS DONT LIE :)

  • POSTED BY Ellis on | June 17, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    Miller should give up on the psychology and psychiatry. There is no evidence that the team is dispirited, nor is there an indication that Sangakkara is not trying his best. I think the IPL excuse is nonsense. Mahela and Sangakkara have been in England for quite a while now, have played there many times before, and know how to adjust. England know how to exploit the conditions and credit to them. Sangakkara played a bad shot, as did Thirimanne and Jayawardena. The poor form of Sangakkara and Jayawardena is accentuated by an extremely weak lower order from number 7, onwards. It takes a great deal of optimism and courage to forecast that those five batsmen will aggregate 30 runs between them in current conditions. This was always going to be a tough Test series for SL and it is proving to be so. However, there is still cricket to be played. Let's see how it goes.

  • POSTED BY chandau on | June 17, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    LOL this sudden string of wins have given the poms a new lease of life. Lets rewind and see the early 1980s when they got white washed or is it black washed 5 zip by WI :) lmao c'mon guys asking the SL team to play at the start of the summer in cold windy wet conditions on grassy juicy pitches and expect them to win also?? and now that an era of greatness is over with the retirements of vassy murali and mali it will be another decade before a decent bowling attack can be developed. as for the people who say Sanga and Mahela cannot bat outside sri lanka , may be they need to look at the stats in australia and south africa against better bowlers for sure. Finally have to agree with MArvy, acclimatization is a must to play the moving ball.

  • POSTED BY Kate52 on | June 17, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    @stormy16..."Ind/SA/Ind are clearly the leading pack" Is that the India A and B teams? Or are you suggesting they are twice as good as everyone else?

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    these ppl who talk abt SL record in ENG ..should think abt hw many tests SL have actually played.. it was all 1 off tests till recently.. and pls indias record abroad is pathetic till dhoni took over.. india has been a test playing nation for over 60 yrs .. has a population of 1.2 bil against 20 mil in SL.. and indians here r trying to compare against SL... i think that speaks for itself..

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | June 17, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    England being on top is not surprising on ideal bowling conditions;India would probably have been in the same or worse plight;India coming under the glorious sun and scoring heavly simple to understand.Sri Lanka would love to have such benevolence.England has to think twice arranging test matches so early in the season. Ranil Herath-Kent

  • POSTED BY lijihas on | June 17, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    LANKA HAD ALREADY CELEBRATED WITH ONE DRAW..... BCZ A DRAW AGAINST TOP RANKED TEAM WILL MAKE THEM VERY VERY HAPPY..THEY ARE NEVER GONNA WIN AGAINST TOP TEAM IN AWAY MATCHES...LOOK AT THIS HISTORY.... FROM THIS SERIES THEY HAVE ACHIEVED A DRAW.... SO LANKA CAN PROUD WITH THIS ORDINARY PERFORMANCES

  • POSTED BY zxaar on | June 17, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    @ Chris Ward Tendulkar averages 62 in England, he has inflated batting average due to these flat pitches of England.

  • POSTED BY lijihas on | June 17, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    where ever u go pussy cats will be always same.... lanka proves again and again that they can win only from colombo or galle with low ranked teams.. with top ranked teams they are nothing..... icc should make series with srilanka and bangladesh and try to improve their performances of these ordinary teams...... as i predicted last month this sereis include one day matches will be ONE SIDES MATCHES... SO BORING..atleast try learn from indian youngsters from WI tour...... performance wise india under 17 team= current lankan team

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    @Tivid: Sri Lanka have been consistently winning away? Then how come they have never won a Test match against Australia, India or South Africa away from home? They won 1 Test against England in 2006, that's the last creditable Test win for them I can remember

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | June 17, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    Not a happy bunch are we?? I dont beleive SL are in the same league as SA/Ind/Eng right now. May be when Murali and Vaas were in the team but definitley not now and some of the SL fans are living on borrowed time from the past AND on a serious home record. For those who reckon SL struggle overseas please check your teams performance in SL and how many runs your batters made when visiting SL. If we stop getting emotional and fanatical the facts are as follows: Ind/SA/Ind are clearly the leading pack with quality talent on most fronts - batters, bowlers, spinners - to challenge the number spot. Aus, SL, Pak and NZ battle for the next best as they simply dont have the talent resources the top 3 have. No one should be suprised SL are struggling in Eng - who was the last team to beat Eng at home and how many teams (except the Aussies of the 80's) have visiting teams beated Eng at home? lets keep it real guys...

  • POSTED BY Tivid on | June 17, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    @Anubhav Verma: Sri lanka has been winning consistently overseas if you look at their record in the last 5 years. India's no better winning away, I think they've too started been consistent overseas after Dhoni took up the captaincy. Check the facts my friend..

  • POSTED BY CricketFreud on | June 17, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    they played two warm up games and sanga scored 153 in the latest one.. atapattu thinks its not enough ?? maybe he thinks they should've skipped world cup as well and played county cricket to prepare for this series...

  • POSTED BY Tivid on | June 17, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    @Harmony111: Considering some of your comments, you don't seem to be a fan of SL cricket?? Any reason?Just a reminder that SL is in a rebuilding stage in its test bowling attack with this being the post Murali, Vaas and Malinga era.The current crop of bowlers (one's in the squad now and the ones that didn't get selected in order to balance the squad) can only get better.Pretty sure the same will happen when all of India's senior batsmen retire.A huge void will be created. There's going to be a rebuilding period for the next crop of India's batsmen to turn in to test quality.So, we just have to have some patience as fans without drawing conclusions after only watching 2-3 test matches.

    I personally don't think that England is the best side in the world at the moment, but they are very close to it considering their consistency in the last few years.There's actually no clear cut number 1 right now in tests.

    My prediction for the Eng Vs. Ind test series: England to win the series 2-0.

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    @heartkollector86 No wonder we were beaten by a team like India in the final , what do u mean by this ?everybody knows Sri Lankan are good only at home.

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    Sangakkara and Mahela struggling badly overseas will not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed their careers. They can only bat in the subcontinent, look at their averages outside Asia, they dip by almost 20. A few more series away and their averages will revert to the mid-table mediocrity where they belong

  • POSTED BY Tivid on | June 17, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    I think it's important that we have some patience with this current SL Test team. It is the post Murali, Vaas, Malinga era, and when you have been used to Murali and Co. wrecking through batting line ups all over the world for the last 10-18 years, it's hard to watch opposition sides piling up the runs. The current crop of bowlers we have will surely develop. The likes of Lakmal, Thushara, Welagedara, Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep, Randiv, Mendis and Co. have to be given more time and experience. This test squad they selected for the england series is very questionable. Players like Thisara Perera, and Maharoof aren't test quality with their bowling or with their batting.The loss of Mathews actually has created a big hole in the balance of the team. No idea why Randiv isn't playing and Herath is. Without any help from the wicket, Herath is just an ordinary bowler. Randiv should be playing in every test going forward cause' he's a good bowler and has done well in every opportunity given to him

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    @Chris Ward's comments. That's quite a imprudent statement(you made) to suggest that Tendulkar and co have also "inflated batting averages" and that they won't be able to cope in helpful conditions against a good bowling attack. Looking over the stats for Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman...they have all done well against verygood bowling attacks in countries like Australia and England. Some of these attacks contained the likes of McGrath,warne,gillespie. Who are better than the current crop of England's bowlers.

  • POSTED BY LIBRAN on | June 17, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    @ Chris Ward,

    I like your optimism.. We will surely see whether that 6th batsmen is required or not. And just to refresh your memory :). http://www.espncricinfo.com/engvind/engine/match/258469.html.

  • POSTED BY LePom on | June 17, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    There does seem to be a trend, most evident with comments from Indian and Sri Lankan fans, where there is a total inability to credit England with any part in their recent successes- which it would appear are completely because of other teams weaknesses and mistakes. Actually it is rather entertaining. I am wondering how many series wins it will take by England to exhaust the list of excuses that are trotted out? If Sri Lanka are actually on a par with England, then I am expecting that they will be reaching something like 400 by the end of today, they only being one wicket further down than England were at their low point on the first day of the Lords test.

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    sanga questioned India's ranking . But we Indians are rank one. We won test series in england drew it in South africa. We beat australia at perth. But lanka is yet 2 win a test in India. Mahela is fit for subcontinent pitches oly. But sachin,laxman,gambir,dravid score in all the pitches. This is the difference between lanka and India. Lankans will win oly in subcontinent oly... Sorry to say this,but tis is the fact....

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    @Nampally Warm up matches are the prerogative of the touring team and they should request such matches. Nowadays tours seem to be hurried and the clamour for 1 more international game snubs the need for most teams and boards' need for warm up matches. In recent years England's ashes campaign is the only one where there was a month of proper warm up. Conversely they prepared for the world cup for about a week and struggled. Sri Lankan batsman could learn from their bowlers and make themselves available for county selection, it helped herath back to the team. Samaraweera's technique has been highly questionable in this tour where on more than one occasion he has chased a swinging ball.

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    Great to see the inflated batting averages of all these Sri Lankan "masters" getting knocked down a run or two against a good bowling attack in helpful conditions. I look forward to the same thing happen to Tendulkar & co later in the summer. And as for the runs we're going to score against India's bowling "attack" ... well lets just say I hope we don't waste any time playing a sixth batsman as he won't have a lot to do.

  • POSTED BY on | June 17, 2011, 1:05 GMT

    rana2000, Yes England's attack only excels in damp conditions but as to the claim of No. 1, they are a third to India and South Africa, both have very good results that extend longer than England's rival since the 2009 Ashes. Sri Lanka and Australia are not in that group, SL will struggle to pick up wickets (I'm not sure they'll have an easy time against Australia in SL either) but Australia might find their way back to the top of the pack sooner...

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | June 17, 2011, 0:48 GMT

    I think that these admissions from the SL team about Eng being the true #1 side are a sign that they had given up on this test series even before it had begun. Stuart Law knew he had a poor team. Sangakkara said that of all the Asian teams, they (SL) play bounce the best. May be that's why they have such a wonderful record abroad. Now Mahela says that Eng are the real #1 test team. I can sense an tone of jealousy in these words for India. SL have always been combative but have also been sour losers. I think all this is their effort to reconcile and to think of it as being beaten by the supposedly #1 team. That would make it less bitter. They also want to show to India that SL does not think of them as the real #1. As if India cared. The coming India Eng series will be a very exciting series and I cant wait for it to begin. It will be tense, close and high quality unlike the current SL series but I think a 2-1 victory to India is the most likely result. Eng field better but thats all.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | June 17, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    @Rana2000:

    I agree with you. SL batting was poor and indecisive. Mahela showed poor judgement when he got out. And I was rather disappointed to see the way Broad bowled, he looked so ordinary. Fact is, barring Anderson none of the English bowlers are really threatening (Tremlett included). And enough of the SL's touting Eng as the real #1. I think it has more to do with their frustration and jealousy pertaining to India than on any solid facts. The only way I see Eng winning against India will be a chain of fav umpiring decisions. If the umpiring is of a reasonable quality then I see Ind winning it. they have better spinners for sure, they have bowlers who swing and rev swing the bowl a shade better than Jammy et al, they have batsmen who are as prolific (may be much more) as Cook et al. They are going to relish the Duke ball. But I really do not think SL are in the same league as the other teams. I think SL would lose to Aus too and perhaps to Pak and NZ as well (in their home).

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | June 16, 2011, 23:54 GMT

    What ataputtu said about the need for adjustment to the English conditions is the key to playing in England. All visiting teams must be allowed at least 3 practice matches against counties before they play their first test.Otherwise the batsmen are all at sea. Playing in T-20 IPL in India did not help Sanga & Mahela much either. In absence of practice games against counties, it is at least reasonable to have the ODI's ahead of the Tests to give some practice to the visiting teams. India comes for 3 tests next. They have just one practice match before the 3 Tests which is very unfair schedule for Indian batsmen to adapt to the English wickets- not to mention the cold weather. So playing in England is doubly disadvantageous to SL. India & Pakistan.Full season tour(like Aussies) must be mandated by ICC to validate these tests for world rankings.It is like asking visitors to drink H2O from a saucer while England drinks it from a Mug ? Fair deal is full season tours or No Tours.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    Experienced campaigners like Sanga and Mahela not performing begs belief. They both scored centuries against every nation all around the world and having a terrible series so far. Surely they can't be in decline, they probably can bounce back when australia tour later this year. Very strong at home, never good overseas. Perhaps if they played county cricket they would be familiar with the english conditions.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    rana2000@"Clearly, they can take wickets only when the weather is miserable" Apart from in Australia apparently. Short memory?

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    @Rana2000-It was pretty sunny in australia,yet anderson n co wrecked australia.england have the best bowling attack

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | June 16, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    @rana2000; "they (England) can take wickets only when the weather is miserable" & "So overseas, they will face challenges". So - you didn't notice England thrashing Australia in perfect weather @Adelaide or pasting South Africa @Durban? Did you notice what England did to Bangladesh in perfect weather on flat pitches over there - or what England did to Pakistan last Summer? Just for the record - international teams generally play half of all their fixtures at home and half away. Why are you dissing England? This is how things are, and at the moment Sri Lanka just aren't very good. "England's attack is nothing to write home about either"; you didn't notice what happened at Cardiff then? "Nothing to write home about" - but only took 25 overs to wipe Sri Lanka out. No-one here is claiming number one status for England. 4/80 today - yet you say that England and Sri Lanka are "pretty equal". On what evidence? Until SL get some bowlers they are going to do a lot of losing.

  • POSTED BY heartkollector86 on | June 16, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    Sri lankan cricket has gone down the drain. There is no fight and guile in the body language anymore. No wonder we were beaten by a team like India in the final - a team that we consistently beat over the years. Kumar Sangakkara should focus a little more on his batting and a little less on speeches and extra curricular activities. A lot of this is bad luck too..we are never given oppurtunities to play in England...now that we have one we have to make an impression - we cant complain untill we win a series in England.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    rana2000 - did you watch the ashes?. Englands bowling went ok in Australia. Or was that because Australia are rubbish? Love they way nobody will admit Englands bowling is actually pretty good...

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | June 16, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    SL batting was certainly poor and with Sanga and Mahela playing the way they are, no big surprise. But England's attack is nothing to write home about either. Clearly, they can take wickets only when the weather is miserable. In England, of course there will be plenty of such instances. Sun comes out and they struggle. So overseas, they will face challenges. Their claims to No 1 status looks rather dodgy. I think Eng, SA, SL and India are all pretty equal. Aus will be up there too pretty soon. Not bad for cricket, me thinks.

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  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | June 16, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    SL batting was certainly poor and with Sanga and Mahela playing the way they are, no big surprise. But England's attack is nothing to write home about either. Clearly, they can take wickets only when the weather is miserable. In England, of course there will be plenty of such instances. Sun comes out and they struggle. So overseas, they will face challenges. Their claims to No 1 status looks rather dodgy. I think Eng, SA, SL and India are all pretty equal. Aus will be up there too pretty soon. Not bad for cricket, me thinks.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    rana2000 - did you watch the ashes?. Englands bowling went ok in Australia. Or was that because Australia are rubbish? Love they way nobody will admit Englands bowling is actually pretty good...

  • POSTED BY heartkollector86 on | June 16, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    Sri lankan cricket has gone down the drain. There is no fight and guile in the body language anymore. No wonder we were beaten by a team like India in the final - a team that we consistently beat over the years. Kumar Sangakkara should focus a little more on his batting and a little less on speeches and extra curricular activities. A lot of this is bad luck too..we are never given oppurtunities to play in England...now that we have one we have to make an impression - we cant complain untill we win a series in England.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | June 16, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    @rana2000; "they (England) can take wickets only when the weather is miserable" & "So overseas, they will face challenges". So - you didn't notice England thrashing Australia in perfect weather @Adelaide or pasting South Africa @Durban? Did you notice what England did to Bangladesh in perfect weather on flat pitches over there - or what England did to Pakistan last Summer? Just for the record - international teams generally play half of all their fixtures at home and half away. Why are you dissing England? This is how things are, and at the moment Sri Lanka just aren't very good. "England's attack is nothing to write home about either"; you didn't notice what happened at Cardiff then? "Nothing to write home about" - but only took 25 overs to wipe Sri Lanka out. No-one here is claiming number one status for England. 4/80 today - yet you say that England and Sri Lanka are "pretty equal". On what evidence? Until SL get some bowlers they are going to do a lot of losing.

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    @Rana2000-It was pretty sunny in australia,yet anderson n co wrecked australia.england have the best bowling attack

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    rana2000@"Clearly, they can take wickets only when the weather is miserable" Apart from in Australia apparently. Short memory?

  • POSTED BY on | June 16, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    Experienced campaigners like Sanga and Mahela not performing begs belief. They both scored centuries against every nation all around the world and having a terrible series so far. Surely they can't be in decline, they probably can bounce back when australia tour later this year. Very strong at home, never good overseas. Perhaps if they played county cricket they would be familiar with the english conditions.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | June 16, 2011, 23:54 GMT

    What ataputtu said about the need for adjustment to the English conditions is the key to playing in England. All visiting teams must be allowed at least 3 practice matches against counties before they play their first test.Otherwise the batsmen are all at sea. Playing in T-20 IPL in India did not help Sanga & Mahela much either. In absence of practice games against counties, it is at least reasonable to have the ODI's ahead of the Tests to give some practice to the visiting teams. India comes for 3 tests next. They have just one practice match before the 3 Tests which is very unfair schedule for Indian batsmen to adapt to the English wickets- not to mention the cold weather. So playing in England is doubly disadvantageous to SL. India & Pakistan.Full season tour(like Aussies) must be mandated by ICC to validate these tests for world rankings.It is like asking visitors to drink H2O from a saucer while England drinks it from a Mug ? Fair deal is full season tours or No Tours.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | June 17, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    @Rana2000:

    I agree with you. SL batting was poor and indecisive. Mahela showed poor judgement when he got out. And I was rather disappointed to see the way Broad bowled, he looked so ordinary. Fact is, barring Anderson none of the English bowlers are really threatening (Tremlett included). And enough of the SL's touting Eng as the real #1. I think it has more to do with their frustration and jealousy pertaining to India than on any solid facts. The only way I see Eng winning against India will be a chain of fav umpiring decisions. If the umpiring is of a reasonable quality then I see Ind winning it. they have better spinners for sure, they have bowlers who swing and rev swing the bowl a shade better than Jammy et al, they have batsmen who are as prolific (may be much more) as Cook et al. They are going to relish the Duke ball. But I really do not think SL are in the same league as the other teams. I think SL would lose to Aus too and perhaps to Pak and NZ as well (in their home).

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | June 17, 2011, 0:48 GMT

    I think that these admissions from the SL team about Eng being the true #1 side are a sign that they had given up on this test series even before it had begun. Stuart Law knew he had a poor team. Sangakkara said that of all the Asian teams, they (SL) play bounce the best. May be that's why they have such a wonderful record abroad. Now Mahela says that Eng are the real #1 test team. I can sense an tone of jealousy in these words for India. SL have always been combative but have also been sour losers. I think all this is their effort to reconcile and to think of it as being beaten by the supposedly #1 team. That would make it less bitter. They also want to show to India that SL does not think of them as the real #1. As if India cared. The coming India Eng series will be a very exciting series and I cant wait for it to begin. It will be tense, close and high quality unlike the current SL series but I think a 2-1 victory to India is the most likely result. Eng field better but thats all.