England news September 2, 2013

ECB move May Test matches

ESPNcricinfo staff
65

The ECB has ditched the May Test matches which have been a part of the English summer since 2000 by shifting the two-match series against Sri Lanka next year to June with the T20 and ODIs being played beforehand.

Playing Sri Lanka's Tests in mid-June should help avoid problems of clashing with the IPL, which has created availability issues with some players not arriving until shortly before the first Test, and also opens up the chance for England players such as Kevin Pietersen to have a longer stint at the tournament.

This would have been a tougher proposition had England been obliged to play three Tests, as originally suggested by the Future Tours Programme. However, as Sri Lanka Cricket trimmed the home series against England to two Tests, in order to have Sri Lanka players available for the entire 2012 IPL, the ECB is no longer bound to provide more than two Tests on the reciprocal tour.

Last time Sri Lanka visited, in 2011, five players including Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene missed one of the two warm-up matches due to IPL commitments and the same situation occurred with New Zealand this year when Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor arrived late.

The IPL will start later next year, due to the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, but is likely to be concluded by early June although it means that the Twenty20 and ODI series of Sri Lanka's visit will face the scheduling clash and subsequent player availability issues. However, if this type of schedule is maintained in future years it may open up a clear window for the IPL.

For next year it means England will have a run of seven Tests in little more than two months next summer with the five-match series against India beginning in early July.

Touring teams have struggled to adapt to conditions for May Test matches in England; the only team to win a Test in May (and even that began on May 31) was Pakistan in 2001. England have only lost one other match in their early-season Test series, first introduced against Zimbabwe in 2000, when Sri Lanka levelled the 2006 series at Trent Bridge.

McGlashan: 'June start will give larger window for IPL'

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 6, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    Here is an Indian speaking!!!No matter what ppl say about SL, no-one can underestimate the talent of this tiny cricketing nation!!SL have always remained underdogs while going into major series and tournaments but they hav proved every1 wrong!!!For those who forecast SL will turn out to be minnows after the era of Sanga,Mahela,Dilshan, my gut feeling says that they still will be able to compete in the international arena!!!

  • KingOwl on September 5, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    I would love to see 3 tests. But, one has to be pragmatic. SLC needs the money that comes from IPL. There is little choice, unfortunately. But I think it is great that ECB postponed the series. I am sure it will help them as well, in managing relations with key players such as KP.

  • RobinMama on September 4, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    Now this is crazy. I think no one should play Tests with Sri Lanka. They don't play Test Cricket even at home where they cancelled the SA Test Series due to SLPL. And hell yeah they didn't have the SLPL as well. They cancelled the whole England Series when IPL formed for the first time. And the next time, players didn't participate to the practice matches in England due to IPL clash. Get your players inline!

  • jmcilhinney on September 4, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball on (September 2, 2013, 16:15 GMT), apparently, this Test series was shortened by the ECB because SL shortened the previous series in SL to two matches also.

  • warneneverchuck on September 3, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    No body wants play against number 7 ranked team in text

  • SirViv1973 on September 3, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    @Yorkshire Pudding, I would have been happy enough to have seen the ECB stage a Tri Series in mid summer next year, given its Ind & SRL. In principle I would rather see Tri Series as there are far too many meaningless bilateral ODI series. However from a financial point of view the ECB couldn't stage a Tri Series every summer. For instance in 2015 Aus & NZL are back & I doubt games between those 2 teams in Eng would generate the sort of crowds/money the ECB are looking for. I also wonder if Sky have a say in it. The viewing figures for an Eng ODI would be way higher than 1 featuring 2 overseas teams.

  • StoneRose on September 3, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    2 test series are meaningless

  • YorkshirePudding on September 3, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    @SirViv1973, I do remember the Tri-series, and I see your point, but with india playing in the UK you would get a lot of Ex-pats and people working/studying in the UK visiting all the India games, the same goes for SL games, both countries have large fan bases.

    I completedly agree with you about the number of tests, I also agree India is the draw next summer, just as the Ashes was the draw this summer, though I think you might find that a large number of SL tickets will be available at Lords on all days, there were in 2011.

    Also agree regarding the compression of the window, with the IPL at one end and the CT20 at the other, thats why the India tests have been brought forward, so they can get an ODI series in before mid Sep.

  • 200ondebut on September 3, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    England like home test matches because they make them a lot of money - so to say that they trimmed the series as a tit for tat measure is a bit naive. It makes commercial sense to push them back in the year - simply so that more play is possible. This move will certainly give more opportunity for fringe players to push for international honours as I doubt whether the key players (bowlers especially) will be expected to play in every game (outside the tests that is). Whoever wrote this is also a bit naive in thinking its the conditions that has produced the one sided results. It also has quite a lot to do with the fact that we generally entertain the weaker test nations at this time of year.

  • brusselslion on September 3, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    @Rashid Nazir Ali: Having taken much of the skill and finesse of out of cricket and replaced it with poor quality cheerleader and firework displays, personally, I'm not looking forward to the next generation of innovations.

  • on September 6, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    Here is an Indian speaking!!!No matter what ppl say about SL, no-one can underestimate the talent of this tiny cricketing nation!!SL have always remained underdogs while going into major series and tournaments but they hav proved every1 wrong!!!For those who forecast SL will turn out to be minnows after the era of Sanga,Mahela,Dilshan, my gut feeling says that they still will be able to compete in the international arena!!!

  • KingOwl on September 5, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    I would love to see 3 tests. But, one has to be pragmatic. SLC needs the money that comes from IPL. There is little choice, unfortunately. But I think it is great that ECB postponed the series. I am sure it will help them as well, in managing relations with key players such as KP.

  • RobinMama on September 4, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    Now this is crazy. I think no one should play Tests with Sri Lanka. They don't play Test Cricket even at home where they cancelled the SA Test Series due to SLPL. And hell yeah they didn't have the SLPL as well. They cancelled the whole England Series when IPL formed for the first time. And the next time, players didn't participate to the practice matches in England due to IPL clash. Get your players inline!

  • jmcilhinney on September 4, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball on (September 2, 2013, 16:15 GMT), apparently, this Test series was shortened by the ECB because SL shortened the previous series in SL to two matches also.

  • warneneverchuck on September 3, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    No body wants play against number 7 ranked team in text

  • SirViv1973 on September 3, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    @Yorkshire Pudding, I would have been happy enough to have seen the ECB stage a Tri Series in mid summer next year, given its Ind & SRL. In principle I would rather see Tri Series as there are far too many meaningless bilateral ODI series. However from a financial point of view the ECB couldn't stage a Tri Series every summer. For instance in 2015 Aus & NZL are back & I doubt games between those 2 teams in Eng would generate the sort of crowds/money the ECB are looking for. I also wonder if Sky have a say in it. The viewing figures for an Eng ODI would be way higher than 1 featuring 2 overseas teams.

  • StoneRose on September 3, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    2 test series are meaningless

  • YorkshirePudding on September 3, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    @SirViv1973, I do remember the Tri-series, and I see your point, but with india playing in the UK you would get a lot of Ex-pats and people working/studying in the UK visiting all the India games, the same goes for SL games, both countries have large fan bases.

    I completedly agree with you about the number of tests, I also agree India is the draw next summer, just as the Ashes was the draw this summer, though I think you might find that a large number of SL tickets will be available at Lords on all days, there were in 2011.

    Also agree regarding the compression of the window, with the IPL at one end and the CT20 at the other, thats why the India tests have been brought forward, so they can get an ODI series in before mid Sep.

  • 200ondebut on September 3, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    England like home test matches because they make them a lot of money - so to say that they trimmed the series as a tit for tat measure is a bit naive. It makes commercial sense to push them back in the year - simply so that more play is possible. This move will certainly give more opportunity for fringe players to push for international honours as I doubt whether the key players (bowlers especially) will be expected to play in every game (outside the tests that is). Whoever wrote this is also a bit naive in thinking its the conditions that has produced the one sided results. It also has quite a lot to do with the fact that we generally entertain the weaker test nations at this time of year.

  • brusselslion on September 3, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    @Rashid Nazir Ali: Having taken much of the skill and finesse of out of cricket and replaced it with poor quality cheerleader and firework displays, personally, I'm not looking forward to the next generation of innovations.

  • brusselslion on September 3, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding: I think that you miss the point that the potential for England players to play a bigger role in the IPL now exists. Whether they are picked up by any IPL teams is another matter, but one of the major obstacles has now been removed.

    As for the amount of Test cricket, it effectivily amounts to 5 days on, 5 days off. For young, fit athletics it shouldn't be too much.

  • on September 3, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    there are not many fans in SL stadiums for Tests but still loads of people follow it..We SL cant watch this crime..Our Test cricket is declining day by day because of SLC..now only 2 tests in Eng ! What on earth is happening to SLC ? What is Nishantha Ranathunga doing ?

  • on September 3, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    test cricket is the slowest form a game could ever imagine, It is boring and dull. Only in England and Australia there are enough spectators to watch test cricket, in subcontinent srilanka, pakistan, bangladesh, even now in west indies, newzealand and south africa grounds become ghost town during test cricket. Number of spectators in india is also encouraging and stadiums are not filled. It is time to say a permanent good bye to test cricket and to bury the idea of test cricket forever. Hats off to sri lanka, west indies and south African cricket borads for taking a bold step by saying NO to test cricket the dead horse.

  • SirViv1973 on September 3, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    @BRUTANALYSIS, Other than KP & EM who has an incrimential deal, all of the players you mention are not centrally contracted. Therefore it would be a decison for their counties as to if they would be allowed to enter the auction. You may remmember that Nots blocked Lumb, Hales & Samit from entering last year & I would have thought Som would have a major issue if Keiswetter Butler & Trego were all unavialble for the first 6 wks of next season. I'm not sure how much attention the IPL franchsises pay to the FLT20 so I don't know what sort chance those who have not had inter exposure such as Willey would have of getting picked. I think Eng CC players who play test cricket will now be available for the whole season increasing their chances of getting picked up. As well as KP Swann, Broad Root & Anderson would have a good chance of getting picked. It will also be intersing to see if Prior gets in as he has been one of the most vocal members of the group regarding IPL availablity.

  • SirViv1973 on September 3, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    @Yorkshire Pudding, I'm sure you remmeber that we used to have a Tri series in the middle of the summer each year. The reason the ECB did away with it is was due to money. They worked out that if they had 10 ODIs each summer they would make more money if Eng played in all 10 rather than only 6 or 7. Unless they had Pak & Ind touring in the same summer then it would be pretty much impossible to sell out grounds for the games not involving Eng. For those saying why only 2 tests. Again it can be argued that this is due to money. Ind are a bigger draw & the first 3 - 4 days of all 5 tests will be sold out. With SRL probably the only day that will sell out is the first day at Lords. There is not time in the schedule to play 8 tests in the summer & I think most would agree this would be too much anyway. Besides the Int summer is being squezed tighter with the CLT20 having an int window & now starting in mid Sept.

  • YorkshirePudding on September 3, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    @brusselslion, why would it keep england players happy they no have to play 7 tests between 12-Jun and 19-Aug. thats 35 days of test cricket in 68 days. Thats a lot of cricket to be played.

    The only england player that might be Happy is KP, and theres no Guarantee that he will play in the IPL in 2014, as he could be injured.

  • YorkshirePudding on September 3, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Those asking why only 2 tests, people have to remember that the English summer is really only good Late May to Late Aug most years thats a 4 month window to fit in two touring teams.

    At most thats 7 tests with ODI and T20 cashcows, although I dont know why we cant run a triangular series between the hosts and two summer vistiors, during July. and

    Also shouldnt SL be arranging more test series at home if they want to play tests rather than relying on away fixtures.

  • brusselslion on September 3, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Timing wise it's a pragmatic move by the ECB and it should go a long way towards keeping the (England) players happy.

    I have to agree with @ liz1558 other points re the length of the Test series and that Test cricket suffers from overkill.

  • Perera32 on September 3, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Last 10 Test Matches India played England: 6-1 loss for India. Last 10 Tests SL played England: 3-2 Win for Sri Lanka. Such a shame to see only 2 Tests being played.

  • liz1558 on September 3, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Either have two three Test series, or one 5 Test series. Test cricket really suffers from overkill and this doesn't help; who's interested in a two match series? Pointless. Also, England lose much of their traditional home advantage - seam and swing - by entertaining the better team purely in the second half of the season.

  • ste13 on September 3, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    This is a good decision taking into account weather conditions. However, I can see it as a part of the deal with BCCI - 5 tests with India, respecting window for IPL. Benefitial for both ECB and BCCI. Nothing to do with sport and development of the game, but you can do nothing about it. It is clear that test cricket can only be profitable between India, England and Australia.

  • Herath-UK on September 3, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Should commend the ECB for starting with ODIs so SL players can get more acclimatised. However to prune the Tests to 2 is a backward step though the ECB can point this as a reciprocal measure. However the ECB has to lead from the front to safeguard Test cricket & cannot simply cover under the umbrella of commercial interests only. While it addresses its financial side offering india 5 Tests the ECB should also have given SL 3 Tests cutting down the ODIs to 3 & scrapping the T20 etc.We are coming after a T20 WC. Of course it is true SL cancelled some Tests for commercial reasons but can you really fault with it when the ECB & Aussies all fall on knees to india for the same reasons.Hopefully the ECB will not make a habit of this format in future too when india is given 5 Tests. I do not see any warm up matches which the SLC should insist on. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • CandidIndian on September 3, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    "we are better than India by beating them regularly" LOL that is for having good laugh, heights of being delusional and living in denial. SLC is solely responsible for a talented SL team not getting enough tests. Board and their players cant resist the temptation and inane thing is that some of their ignominious fans blame everything on BCCI , IPL etc. I do not endorse ways of BCCI in fact i disagree with them on most of the issues, but blaming them for everything is not fair.

  • on September 3, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Good move by ECB.....No point in playing more than 2 tests against SL as SLC keeps cancelling and trimming mant test series and Test cricket looks literally dead in SL..........

  • on September 3, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Why only 2 tests for Sri lanka??? how can pakistan, sri lanka and new zealand improve their standard if they dont play enough test cricket??? its so sad

  • hhillbumper on September 3, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    nothing should be done by ECB to support IPL in any way.Frankly the less we have to do with BCCI the better for world cricket

  • Charlie101 on September 3, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    I welcome this move by the ECB despite being a huge Test cricket fan . I feel that 1. Sri Lanka will compete better because their star players will be available and therefore we will have a better series despite being 2 matches . 2. I hope a number of our players , especially the bowlers such as Dernbach , Stokes and Briggs will get a chance to play in the IPL so that they can gain valuable experience and hopefully we can win the world T20 Trophy again. The T20 world championship is our only Trophy to date and may represent our best chance in the short format for more silverware.

  • kirikat on September 3, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    Ii think its a great decision to start with t20... it will avoid the clash with IPL and will give enough time to SL players to adapt to the conditions and perform well in test... And only one to blame for two test matches are jokers in SLC... they cut and chop last series with England just because some players were in IPL... I remember a time when SL dont get a single test agasint England... After Arjuna's team beat English on their home soil they tend to give more test to SL... then they offer three test series, but mindless SLC didn't grab the opportunity... If some players dont wants to play test when the IPL is going just replays them with new one and play the game... we will lose first, but who cares we are already in the bottom of the table... after some time new comers get competitive and win those games for SL... and the players who were in IPL returns just add them to squad...

  • on September 3, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    can't sl play one odi against ireland or scotland on this tour...

  • on September 3, 2013, 3:42 GMT

    South Africa is free until the curtailed Indian series. So Sri Lanka can have the postponed series in Oct/Nov 2013.

  • ball_boy on September 3, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Yet to win a single test match since the first unofficial test match in the late 1970s,beaten in the last test series,consistently outperformed in the odis,i see you meant 'regularly irregular'

  • on September 3, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    I like the idea of short form before test match cricket. Make test cricket the show piece and short form cricket the support act.

  • Farce-Follower on September 3, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    @htc : You need to ask your board that question, and ask it of your players too. All to ready to drop Test cricket in favour of ODIs. The truth is that Test Cricket is too hard a work for the likes of Malinga.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on September 3, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    Every one including espncricinfo's majority column writters supporting test matches. They raised their voices loudly when india trimming SA tour containing 3 test. Now ECB allows space to ipl and only 2 test! Why test saviours dont raise their voices (bcz it's not india), if not test cricket will die. Where is SL fans raise ur voice against this discrimination by ECB. Eng supports, save test series.

  • jmcilhinney on September 2, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball on (September 2, 2013, 16:15 GMT), SL are ranked 7th in Test cricket at the moment and India are ranked 3rd, only a hair's breadth behind England. England generally play a shorter series followed by a longer series and they're obviously going to want to play the longer series against the higher ranked team. The fact that India may provide greater revenue may well be a factor too. Anyway, wasn't it SL who recently cancelled some Tests against WI and replaced them with ODIs? Maybe the SL board didn't want any more than two Tests.

  • Rosspa on September 2, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    The ECB may well be compelled to consider the ICC Test rankings, India currently stand third whilst Sri Lanka are seventh with only New Zealand and Bangladesh below them....

  • on September 2, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    It would have been better to have SL play 3 tests and India 4, but if SL had their way, they would have just toured England for ODIs. SL have recently deliberately neglected test cricket, opting to cancel test series against home tests against SA and WI just to accommodate meaningless ODIs. If SL test cricket fans (perhaps a big minority) feel prejudiced at getting just 2 tests compared to India's 5, then they should blame their own cricket board and public that has discriminated against the true form of the game in favour of ODIs and 20 over slog fests. Even when Murali was winning test matches for SL, they usually played one off tests or a 2-test series. Never ever have SL, in their 31 year test match history, played a 5 or even a 4 match test series, despite having numerous world class test match players. This shows that their board has always neglected test cricket.

  • on September 2, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    Sri Lanka deserve a minimum of three tests. Ideally I'd say only have 3 ODIs and 3 Tests, but it does seem strange to give India 5 tests for the first time in decades and Sri Lanka only 2. Sadly I think the ECB cares more about money (ticket sales), which will probably be better for the India series than sporting interests.

  • on September 2, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    It will give the England test players who don't go to IPL more chance to play for their counties and warm up with red ball cricket for the season. Very cramped summer for England though. There will be injuries.

  • on September 2, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    2 tests for SL in Eng 2014 is 2 more than SL are giving Eng later that year.

  • on September 2, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    Sri Lanka has face cold overcast seeming conditions in May favourable to English bowlers. Sri Lank's strength being in the spin department, this is a win win situation for the English team.

  • yorkshirematt on September 2, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    Excellent I can go to the Headingley Test now. Thanks IPL!

  • Philip_Gnana on September 2, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    @HTC Cricket is part of the entertainment industry. India, brings in the money in to the coffers. Simple economic sense. Unfair, yes. That is not cricket, money does talk. Not India's fault is it? SL had the opportunity to say no to the ODI & T20 over the past 12 months when they opted not to play the scheduled Test matches. Money, did talk. Double standards? No. SLC made the choices and will have to live with the consequences. SLC cannot have their cake and eat it. The positives to take is that SL will be able to acclimatise in time for the Test Matches as the players coming in later will be able to have a practice game at least. The last tour was a comedy, with SL bringing in stand in players for the practice games and there too, players being unfit or injury prone. It is high time SLC takes Test Cricket seriously. New Malden, Surrey

  • on September 2, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    India tour is all about money. Everybody make money by India touring their country. So the bigger series they play against them, more money they make. That why they don't care about other poor countries.

  • gsingh7 on September 2, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    @htc--- i think its good thinking by ecb to play 5 tests btw number 2 and 3 sides in icc rankings . sl is way down at number 6 in ranking .u should look up to stas guru to see that india have won in the 80% of games with sl in the last decade or so..it will high task for sl to mount any challenge to england on green tops of england ,specially if mahela and sanga are unavailable due to fatigue after playing full ipl season. thats why ecb have preferred india to sl to play 5 match series, may the best team win.

  • TenDonebyaShooter on September 2, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    The right decision for the wrong reasons. Those early season tests in England have rarely formed a spectacle to appeal to true cricket fans. The record of results in those series is massively in England's favour since 2000, since opposition teams are rarely given a proper chance to acclimatise to the unfamiliar conditions. @Htc-baseball: I sympathise with your concern and feel Sri Lankan touring parties have rarely been given the respect they deserve touring England. For many years they were only given one test at a time in England, even after they nearly humiliated them on their Lords debut in 1984, and even after they'd won the 50-over world cup (something England have never done). All I can say is that this seems the typical attitude of the England establishment to newly established or budding test teams; note for instance England's lone resistance to test status for Zimbabwe in the 1990s and their attitude to Irish cricket (as described in Mr Siggins recent cricinfo article)

  • on September 2, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    It's not about Sri Lanka not being treated properly, rather it's how everybody in the world trying to appease BCCI / India. After about half a century, India is being offered a 5 test match series in england. It's all about money, it's all about taking sides. Cricket is no more gentle man's game, well at least if you are not rich.

  • 2.14istherunrate on September 2, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    So the ghastly IPL eats more and more into our season. I would have though in any case that in general it is far too hot for cricket in India by then. Perhaps it is time IPL looked at its performance and whether fair to us and WI. It should be shorter and end in half May,and if it clashes with t20 WC it should start in March. Why should we give up anything to it. Why should West Indies which IPL threaten to break as Test nation. It takes;now it needs to give back.

  • BRUTALANALYST on September 2, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Other than KP I doubt many will get IPL deals, Carberry is main guy I'd like to see form England in the IPL also guess likes of Morgan.Kieswetter,Butler,Willey,Hales Trego would be in with a shot too.

  • SagirParkar on September 2, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    in response to HTC person - Sri Lanka may have beaten India regularly yes, but in recent years, india has beaten Sri Lanka more frequently. Besides, with regards to the commercial aspect of the game at present, matches against India provide more TV revenue than matches against Lanka. ECB announced a while ago that along with Australia, only India will be granted a 5-match series. At one stage West Indies had that honour but since their team (and therefore revenue) declined in quality, they have been relegated to a 3-test series.

  • Siyambala on September 2, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball our lankan lions are playing two test matches because 2012 SLC arranged only two test matches because of IPL so what you give is what you get.

  • on September 2, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball - No really, you are not better than India. Check these records in series out:

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/sri-lanka-v-india-2012/engine/records/team/series_results.html?class=1;id=6;id=8;type=headtohead

    Also, the head-to-head record between the two teams stands at: 6-13.

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/sri-lanka-v-india-2012/engine/records/team/match_results.html?class=1;id=6;id=8;type=headtohead

    So I don't see where your unsourced claim is coming from. I do wish, though, that series, by and large, consisted of more matches.

  • on September 2, 2013, 17:34 GMT

    Htc - Baseball is wrong. Sri Lanka have always been a good side, but India have got the better of them on more occasions.

    In ODIs, India has won 77 times, and Sri Lanka has won 53 times. On neutral grounds India has won 25 times, and Sri Lanka has won 15 times.

    In Test Cricket, India has won 14 tests, while Sri Lanka has won 6 tests.

  • Dr.Vindaloo on September 2, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    This is a good decision. Test matches in May against depleted (and cold!) opposition were a real turn-off for the English public. This will improve the quality of the test cricket and also placate English players denied a proper tilt at the IPL. If a form of the game needs to be degraded due to absence of IPL players then much better that it is limited over cricket. As to the comment below about why SL only get 2 tests and India 5, at least India maintain some pretence about being interested in test cricket. SL have long since shown that they are only interested in ODI and T20s (viz the cancellation of the proposed test series v SA recently, replaced by 5 ODIs).

  • shillingsworth on September 2, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball - The last England v Sri Lanka series in Sri Lanka was 2 tests. This will be the 2nd SL tour to England in the space of 4 years. There is no double standard and Sri Lanka are being treated remarkably well. As for SL being better than India, check the ICC rankings and the recent results in test series between the two (1-1 in SL and 2-0 to India in India).

  • Frayninho21 on September 2, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    The England players will like this - now a chance to have a crack and the IPL and earn some serious dollars...

  • on September 2, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    However, I do agree with Htc-Baseball that Sri Lanka deserves longer test tours given their performances during such a short timespan after test status. I think the issue is that by the time Sri Lanka proved themselves as a formidable test team in the late 90's, all the other 7 major test teams had regular 4-5 test tours organized between them. Since ODI's were gaining prominence at the time, there was little time left in the international calendar to add tests for another country and also their was no way to reduce tests between the established teams. Add to that, organizers preferred Sri Lanka playing ODIs, since it was our strength. All of these reasons culminated in Sri Lanka not getting enough tests.

  • asiacricket1234 on September 2, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball: I dont think ur players will like to miss IPL but if they wanna play 5 test they may have to start this series earlier than May 20th. Also u should consider that ECB will make more revenue by playing against India then Sri Lanka.

  • on September 2, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    Dear Htc-Baseball, Our lions are playing just two matches because they (SLC) ditched a test in the 2010\2 England tour of Sri Lanka in favor of the IPL. Thus the reciprocal tour will feature only two test and not three as planned in the FTP. Adding to this, SLC regularly dump tests in favor of limited overs cricket and it is unlikely that Sri Lanka will get a 10 test year in the near future. How can SLC invite or ask for 5 test tours when they are not prioritizing tests? Marvan Atapattu's 2007 statement that SLC was run by muppets still stands.

  • mikkkk on September 2, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    The Indians certainly aren't worthy of a 5 match series given their behavior and performances last time. They couldn't even be bothered to get fit. Very unprofessional. I certainly have sympathy for you. There's far too much bending over backwards for India these days and quite frankly they aren't worth the fuss. It's about time the boards from the rest of the world called their bluff.

  • Perera32 on September 2, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball: I agree with you. Last 10 Test Matches India played England: 6-1 loss for India. Last 10 Tests SL played England: 3-2 Win for Sri Lanka. Such a shame to see only 2 Tests being played.

  • on September 2, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Again same pattern. 5 ODIs. And what happened to Natwest tri series which began in 2000? ICC need to get rid of too many bilaeral limited overs matches. This is not tennis where rankings matter so much that we need to have bileral series everytime. We can have tri series as well. And we can decide on rankings based on the result of each match. How difficult is that? Please get rid of long bilateral series ICC. Also the two test series as well. Make it an odd number so we have a winner.

  • Nutcutlet on September 2, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    Good! Test matches in May were always a nonsense. I wonder why they were attempted in the first place.

  • SirViv1973 on September 2, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    Good idea I think, back to the good old days when we used to play the ODIs in May & then the tests after. It should also guarantee that SRL IPL stars are available for the tests. They should be ok for the odis as well as they will likely have a 5 - 6 wk period in the IPL before the ODIs start. Besides if the IPL players don't play in the ODIs then SRL should still be competitive , that won't be the case in the test matches. My only reservation is that all 7 tests are squeezed in to just 9 weeks which will be hard on the fast bowlers, perhaps we will need to look at a bit of rotation to keep them fresh & avoid injury..

  • Htc-Baseball on September 2, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Our lankan lions are playing just two test matches whereas India are playing 5 test matches, why this double standards? We have proved time and time again that we are better than India by beating them regularly but still we are not treated properly

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  • Htc-Baseball on September 2, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Our lankan lions are playing just two test matches whereas India are playing 5 test matches, why this double standards? We have proved time and time again that we are better than India by beating them regularly but still we are not treated properly

  • SirViv1973 on September 2, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    Good idea I think, back to the good old days when we used to play the ODIs in May & then the tests after. It should also guarantee that SRL IPL stars are available for the tests. They should be ok for the odis as well as they will likely have a 5 - 6 wk period in the IPL before the ODIs start. Besides if the IPL players don't play in the ODIs then SRL should still be competitive , that won't be the case in the test matches. My only reservation is that all 7 tests are squeezed in to just 9 weeks which will be hard on the fast bowlers, perhaps we will need to look at a bit of rotation to keep them fresh & avoid injury..

  • Nutcutlet on September 2, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    Good! Test matches in May were always a nonsense. I wonder why they were attempted in the first place.

  • on September 2, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Again same pattern. 5 ODIs. And what happened to Natwest tri series which began in 2000? ICC need to get rid of too many bilaeral limited overs matches. This is not tennis where rankings matter so much that we need to have bileral series everytime. We can have tri series as well. And we can decide on rankings based on the result of each match. How difficult is that? Please get rid of long bilateral series ICC. Also the two test series as well. Make it an odd number so we have a winner.

  • Perera32 on September 2, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball: I agree with you. Last 10 Test Matches India played England: 6-1 loss for India. Last 10 Tests SL played England: 3-2 Win for Sri Lanka. Such a shame to see only 2 Tests being played.

  • mikkkk on September 2, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    The Indians certainly aren't worthy of a 5 match series given their behavior and performances last time. They couldn't even be bothered to get fit. Very unprofessional. I certainly have sympathy for you. There's far too much bending over backwards for India these days and quite frankly they aren't worth the fuss. It's about time the boards from the rest of the world called their bluff.

  • on September 2, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    Dear Htc-Baseball, Our lions are playing just two matches because they (SLC) ditched a test in the 2010\2 England tour of Sri Lanka in favor of the IPL. Thus the reciprocal tour will feature only two test and not three as planned in the FTP. Adding to this, SLC regularly dump tests in favor of limited overs cricket and it is unlikely that Sri Lanka will get a 10 test year in the near future. How can SLC invite or ask for 5 test tours when they are not prioritizing tests? Marvan Atapattu's 2007 statement that SLC was run by muppets still stands.

  • asiacricket1234 on September 2, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    @Htc-Baseball: I dont think ur players will like to miss IPL but if they wanna play 5 test they may have to start this series earlier than May 20th. Also u should consider that ECB will make more revenue by playing against India then Sri Lanka.

  • on September 2, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    However, I do agree with Htc-Baseball that Sri Lanka deserves longer test tours given their performances during such a short timespan after test status. I think the issue is that by the time Sri Lanka proved themselves as a formidable test team in the late 90's, all the other 7 major test teams had regular 4-5 test tours organized between them. Since ODI's were gaining prominence at the time, there was little time left in the international calendar to add tests for another country and also their was no way to reduce tests between the established teams. Add to that, organizers preferred Sri Lanka playing ODIs, since it was our strength. All of these reasons culminated in Sri Lanka not getting enough tests.

  • Frayninho21 on September 2, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    The England players will like this - now a chance to have a crack and the IPL and earn some serious dollars...