Essex v Sri Lankans, Tour match, Chelmsford

Essex upset Sri Lankans on murky night

George Dobell in Chelmsford

May 13, 2014

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

Essex 161 for 5 (Cook 71, Foakes 51) beat Sri Lankans 146 for 9 (Chandimal 31, Newby 3-36) by 22 runs (D/L method)

Ben Foakes struck a 30-ball fifty, Essex v Sri Lankans, Tour match, Chelmsford, May 13, 2014
Ben Foakes caught the eye with a 30-ball half-century to help set up victory © Getty Images
Related Links

Sri Lanka were given a harsh introduction to the challenge of English conditions as they subsided to a 22-run loss on the D/L method on a damp night in Chelmsford.

In dank conditions that could hardly have differed more from those found in the sub-continent, Sri Lanka were undone by a second-string attack that included three man making List A debuts for Essex and, unlikely though it sounds, a fine catch by Monty Panesar.

Indeed, while Sri Lanka might have expected to struggle against seam bowlers in these conditions, they lost four wickets to the Essex spinners with Panesar, playing his first List A game since August 2012, taking two wickets as reward for a spell full of variation; not a description that could always be applied to him.

But perhaps his key intervention came in the field. With Dinesh Chandimal threatening to turn the game in his side's favour, Panesar held on to a sharp catch at long leg off a full-blooded hook to all but seal the match.

In truth, Panesar misjudged the chance a little, over-running the ball and almost seeing it sail well over him. But so impressive was his adjustment that he was able to cling on to the ball far above his head and end Sri Lanka's last realistic hope of victory.

It meant that an Essex side missing almost its entire first-choice attack beat the side crowned World T20 Champions just over a month ago in a match reduced by rain to 21-overs a side.

It would be wrong to read much into this defeat, though. After rain caused a five-hour break in play, Sri Lanka opted to give several part-time bowlers a run-out - Lahiru Thirimanne had previously only bowled 60 deliveries in his List A career - and conditions were probably on the borderline of acceptability with a slippery outfield and a pitch offering substantial help to the seam bowlers.

Oliver Newby, a loan signing from Lancashire, made the key inroads. After having Kusal Perera trapped leg before, he produced an unplayable delivery - one that pitched on middle and moved like a fast leg-break - to take the edge of Mahela Jayawardene's bat.

With Tillakaratne Dilshan bowled by what appeared to be a deliberate arm ball from Panesar - he changed his action often and appeared to push that delivery into the batsman with a lower arm - and Greg Smith holding one back to deceive Thirimanne and then seeing Angelo Mathews held in the outfield, Sri Lanka were never able to exploit an attack that included Matt Salisbury, a 21-year-old on List A debut, and Reece Topley, who was enjoying his first bowl of the season following a stress fracture.

Earlier Alastair Cook bludgeoned his way to a half-century to help Essex overcome a poor start. For a good portion of his innings, Cook mistimed the ball horribly, surviving near misses on 32 and 37 and barely managing a clean stroke. It took him until the 19th over of the innings to register his 50.

But he gained in fluency as his innings progressed and, having reached his 50 from 44 balls with a scooped sweep for six off Perera, he embarked on a run that saw him score 22 from five deliveries. If the highlight was another scooped six, he also demonstrated his growing range of strokes with a powerful pull for four and a drive down the ground.

But the most eye-catching batting of the innings came from Ben Foakes. The 21-year-old has been seen as a future England keeper for some time and here showed his batting class with a half-century from just 30 balls. He slog-swept successive sixes off Dilshan and timed the ball unusually well off his hips. It was only the second List A half-century of his career, but contained a good deal of promise.

Cook and Foakes added 82 for the fourth-wicket in nine overs to help Essex recover from the depths of 21 for 3 in the seventh over. After Mark Pettini was trapped in front, Smith's loose drive was beaten by a straight one and Ravi Bopara was caught on the crease by one that nipped back having been set up by one that nipped away by the impressive Suranga Lakmal. His first four overs cost only eight runs.

But while Sri Lanka conceded only 46 from their first 10 overs, the final 11 of the Essex innings cost 115. In tricky conditions, it was to prove too much.

Essex will be further heartened by the arrival of Jesse Ryder on Thursday. The New Zealand batsman's arrival has been delayed by visa issues, but is expected to be available for the county's first T20 Blast match. Essex also hope that David Masters will be fit to return from injury.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: George Dobell

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (May 16, 2014, 13:39 GMT)

My SL Team for ODI: Tilakarathne, Lahiru, Kumar, Mahela, Angeo, Chandimal, Thissara, Sachitra, Nuwan, Lasith and Ajantha

Posted by latnadu on (May 15, 2014, 14:58 GMT)

this is only a practice match. but when it comes to national or professional this happens:

KC Sangakkara c Machan b Magoffin 159 365 267 18 2 59.55

Posted by AshwinMS on (May 15, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster Oh yes dude they do.The European football clubs play against National teams that are far behind in the ranking.India once played against Bayern Munich.

Posted by StevieS on (May 15, 2014, 10:42 GMT)

Cpt.Meansterno this is yet another reason that cricket is the most beautiful game in the world, what a treat it is for fans that they can go along to their local ground and watch an international team. International football teams rarely tour other countries due to the large amount of games they have to play, but it happens, Mancherster United play Australia a few years back.

Posted by Dhutugemunu on (May 14, 2014, 19:34 GMT)

This article is highly biased. This was just a practice match and nothing to care about, whether SLankans won or lost or N/R. The sole purpose of practice matches is to get familiarize with the conditions.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (May 14, 2014, 18:47 GMT)

A county side playing a NATIONAL team. These ridiculous things ONLY happens in cricket. Does Manchester United play against Brazil or Germany in soccer ? Why does cricket stay behind other sports ? This is why. This should have been an England A side versus an SL A side. Besides, SL will struggle in England big time. This is why international cricket is so boring. Everyone already knows the result before hand. England having lost the Ashes 5-zip will now feast on two subcontinental sides in transition at home. Their fans will then feel they are world no.1 team again. Spare me the irony.

Posted by   on (May 14, 2014, 17:15 GMT)

I remember losing to Somerset and then going on to beat England 5-0 in 2007.

Posted by SLMaster on (May 14, 2014, 15:16 GMT)

This is a practice match.....Should not read too much into it..

Posted by YsaKaru on (May 14, 2014, 13:45 GMT)

good WAKE UP match for our boyszzz!!!!

Posted by Kotuwegogoda on (May 14, 2014, 13:01 GMT)

Giving average spinners to bowl only help the opposition. Whether it's ODI or county you play best cricket all times. Bowling changes in Essex match wasn't good. These contributed to the downfall together with failure from the batsmen. You don't expect bowlers to rescue a side when batsmen have thrown their wickets away.

Kusal may be an exciting player in T20 but ODI is a different ball game where patience build the innings and then go for flamboyance. Coaches should stay clear of their role and be strict with discipline. No compromise on that. Next couple of games should be taken seriously since this is not Ireland but England who try to reclaim some mileage at the expense of Srilanka. So beware!

Posted by Andrew-Silva on (May 14, 2014, 11:52 GMT)

@Sinhaya: Kusal didn't open, he came at number 4 and escaped twice due to dropped catches to score 22 runs , when chasing a small target like 75. Is this anything significant to brag about? Even Malinga had scored more than 50 runs, coming at number 11 to win a match against Aus in Australia. His average from 2 N/O innings in Aus scoring 20 odd runs in each is similar to any tailender and nothing significant! If you are quoting it to cover-up the long history of disgusting failures, its hilarious. To be an OPENER, he should show some potential, in his technique under any condition with some decent track record to confirm it! Unfortunately, both are missing! Trying him persistently, at the expense of a young experienced asset like Tharanga (with an incomparable track record to prove his consistency in recent times and whole career) is insanity!

Posted by   on (May 14, 2014, 11:37 GMT)

@former player - we have mahela and thirimanne as backup openers. I think you did not know anything about sri lankan cricket. BTW tharanga is near 30 and still inconsistent player he was in decade ago. we don't need another Mubarak

Posted by   on (May 14, 2014, 11:33 GMT)

@former player - tharanga is medicore player. and he is old. Kusal can still improve because he is still 23.

Posted by Sinhaya on (May 14, 2014, 11:17 GMT)

@Former_Player, Kusal is a great talent. Yes he is weak against swing as shown by his poor performance in the CT last year. He can drop down the order as it will help. Dont forget he is great on fast and flat tracks. His ODI batting average in Australia is 50.00.

Posted by Andrew-Silva on (May 14, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

We are about to lose 3 front-order experienced batsmen in the near future. They were the players who shouldered and absorbed the early breakdown pressure in numerous occasions! (since, Kusal opened the gate within the first 5 overs, 10 times in 17 innings that he opened, since June 2013). Dil, Sanga or Jaya somehow managed to stable the dented ship and Mathews with the help of lower order guys like Kulasekara, Thisara, Sachithra turned many ODIs to a winning streak from a losing path! Is there any logic trying to develop a mediocre player like Kusal at the expense of DUMPING an established young opener like Upul (29yrs) with 5000+ Runs & a Batting Average 34.03 better than Jayawardane-32.77 or even Jayasuriya-32.51.??? Specially at a time like this!

Posted by onebump on (May 14, 2014, 10:06 GMT)

Good workout for the SL team. Also the result will wake up a few who are still in the victory mood fromt he T20 world cup. To endure the cold, the rain and murky conditions is the best preparation for what is ahead. Hope they focus and start winning against Kent. The conditions for the first T20 and the first ODI will be similar to last night with intermittant rain being forecasted.

Foakes' innings looked very good. If he was a SL 21 year old he would now be in the national squad may be get a match as well. Not in a thousand years will that happen with the English set up. He will be allowed to play grinding cricket in the county circuit for years. By which time he will lose his attacking instincts and become another average player. Give young cricketers more chances! They may struggle, but in the long run, they will deliver.

Posted by Andrew-Silva on (May 14, 2014, 9:40 GMT)

No backup opener in the squad. Is this to make sure Kusal Perera to play all ODI's despite highly likely sequence of utter FAILURES (as in ICC Champions Trophy in England last year)? He struggled to survive and open the "Gate" within 3 overs in all 4 ODIs, with a pathetic failure record: 0R-01B, 6R-10B, 4R- 2B, 4R-10B Accumulating just 14 Runs, Averaging 3.5! This kind of start will definitely effect the team heavily, as seen in ICC trophy! There was no other alternative opener that time too, because Tharanga was eliminated from the squad to make Kusal play!

Posted by John54321 on (May 14, 2014, 8:55 GMT)

sri lankans are off to a bad start but at the end of the day its just a practice game........@ST.John true SL had the upper hand over India in Asia Cup n t20 wc but wat abt Champions trophy,WC n the past 4 years apart frm CB series in australia india had the upper the end of the day both India n SL are typical subcontinent teams which struggle overseas n has SL never lost to New Zealand???it has a population of 4 million n cricket is not even the most famous sport in NZ

Posted by Nutcutlet on (May 14, 2014, 8:52 GMT)

Foakes interests me. He looks to be a front-runner for the Test w/k position in a year or so, and he is clearly more than useful with the bat. Steve Davies has obviously suffered a dip in confidence on both sides of the stumps and so his chances of further international recognition must be receding. Despite this, Essex has the best w/k in the business: James Foster. What, therefore, is Foakes' future? I just wonder whether he may do a Buttler and look for a county that can (a) guarantee him the gauntlets and (b) provide him with Division one cricket. He has a career to make and just being the best understudy in the business isn't really where he wants to be. Any pointers, anyone?

Posted by vkumar_086 on (May 14, 2014, 8:46 GMT)

im guessing the situation of SL when it meets England....SL is marginally good at only in subcontinent and out of subcontinent, it is another minnow of Asia

Posted by Charlie101 on (May 14, 2014, 8:37 GMT)

Monty bowling variations and taking a difficult catch - sounds fantastic . I really hope that he puts all his troubles behind him and establishes himself in the test team with the retirement of Graham Swann and takes loads of wickets

Posted by kartcric on (May 14, 2014, 7:00 GMT)

Hey srilankans your team lost 4-1 at home to india in 2012.Dont forget that.

Posted by CodandChips on (May 14, 2014, 7:00 GMT)

wouldn't read too much into this as the article states. Funny though how Sri Lanka have lost today to an Essex attack without Masters, Napier or Mills, but will probably tear apart England.

Not sure how Foakes can be considered a future England keeper when he doesn't keep for his county.

Posted by kartcric on (May 14, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

Hey srilankans your team lost 4-1 at home in 2012.Dont forget that

Posted by Lord.emsworth on (May 14, 2014, 6:34 GMT)

Early Days, but a bit worrying… The match was in essence reduced to a T20 match and the T20 World champs crashed out very badly. MJDK Perera was in an almighty hurry as usual. Mahela true to character will always take far too many matches until he makes a decent score. SL spinners were innocuous. If Herath is fit, play him as the nr.1 spinner in all forms of the game. Well done Essex.

Posted by matchfixerpkn. on (May 14, 2014, 6:30 GMT)

@VinalChand Sri Lanka are a great team with plenty of stars. No doubt the most exciting team in world cricket is Sri Lanka. Cricket just cannot survive without Sri Lanka. I really miss Sanath Jayasuriya.

Posted by St.John on (May 14, 2014, 6:28 GMT)

VinalChand...Yeah like the Indian 'talent' that lost the T20 WC final to Champs Sri Lanka...One billion people and still cant beat tiny Sri Lanka.

Posted by   on (May 14, 2014, 6:10 GMT)

vinalchand - before defeat england did you beat this so called not talented team on 6 th april this year? lol

Posted by CaseyWilliam14 on (May 14, 2014, 5:42 GMT)

lankans will get whitewashed in england. they don't have the talent to win, unlike india. jai hind

Posted by landl47 on (May 14, 2014, 4:26 GMT)

Nice to see young Foakes coming through with some runs. He's a couple of years away yet, but he's going to be a good one.

Posted by   on (May 14, 2014, 4:13 GMT)

it looks like some people kind of have an interest even about a practice match ha...? let them have fun. ODI is on the way my friends.... we will see the power of both the teams....

Posted by vkumar_086. on (May 14, 2014, 4:08 GMT)

No doubt very good practice from the Lankans. Indeed the weather will get hotter as each day passes. Lakmal is in good form and so did Chandimal and Chaturanga perform well with the bat. If there is no rain, more comfort for the Lankans as weather will be sunnier. Weather is expected to be fine for this Friday and hope we see a full game of cricket. Good luck from an Indian fan.

Posted by apsari on (May 14, 2014, 4:00 GMT)

The writer says an Essex side missing almost it's entire first string bowling attack beat the the newly crowned T-20 champs. He has conveniently forgotten to mention that Sri Lanka, too, played without their entire front line attack of Malinga, Kulasekara, Senanayake & Herath and also minus their star bat in Sangakkara. So as he says too much should not be read into this game as it's pretty obvious when you look at the Sri Lankan bowling figures that a lot of experimentation has been done and it had proved quite costly at the end.

Posted by   on (May 14, 2014, 3:39 GMT)

this is practice match. not a big deal about result .it seems poms are bit over the moon from this result . i didnt see any ugly side of this . our fast bowlers showed that they are like to accept the english conditions specially lakmal. chandimal among the runs too. may be england suffer from uncertainity within their inside that this srilankan team quite different from previous tour.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (May 14, 2014, 3:16 GMT)

As an England fan, it's good to see Cook scoring some quick runs at the top against some of the bowlers he'll be facing during the international summer, albeit without Malinga.

Posted by SriLankanYoungBlood on (May 14, 2014, 2:28 GMT)

SL Head Coach Marven Attapattu should responsible for this defeat. We saw how negative coach he is in this match as well as last IRE match. I agree with Mathews Febrace exit is hugh lost to SL camp. Should find Positive,Dynamic Foreign Head Coach

Posted by GRJVPR on (May 14, 2014, 1:11 GMT)

Result doesn't matter! experience matters!!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (May 13, 2014, 23:53 GMT)

This shows just why SL having three warmups was an excellent idea. It's an ugly loss for a touring side but these games are all about acclimatisation and these conditions would take a bit of that.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
George DobellClose
Tour Results
England v Sri Lanka at Leeds - Jun 20-24, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 100 runs
England v Sri Lanka at Lord's - Jun 12-16, 2014
Match drawn
Northants v Sri Lankans at Northampton - Jun 5-8, 2014
Match drawn
England v Sri Lanka at Birmingham - Jun 3, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets (with 10 balls remaining)
England v Sri Lanka at Lord's - May 31, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 7 runs
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days