Sri Lanka in England 2006 May 17, 2006

Penney bemused by England drops



Another one bites the dust © Getty Images
Sri Lanka's assistant coach, Trevor Penney, believes a lapse of concentration was to blame for the spate of dropped catches that cost England victory in the first Test at Lord's.

Penney, an exemplary fielder during his 17-year career at Warwickshire, was England's fielding coach during the Ashes last summer, but left the post last year to link up with his former county team-mate, Tom Moody, in the Sri Lankan squad.

"Technique wise, those guys are all fantastic catchers," Penney told Cricinfo. "We've seen that over the last few years with guys like Freddie [Flintoff], Collingwood and Strauss. People make excuses and say that Lord's is a bad seeing ground, but I don't think that was the case here. This was more of a concentration thing."

After two days of the match, Sri Lanka were in disarray at 91 for 6 in reply to England's 551 for 6 declared. "Obviously when you bowl a side out as cheaply as they did in the first innings, you just relax," said Penney. "Suddenly you think you've got three days to get a side out, and you fall asleep a bit in the field."

After the match, Flintoff described the rash of drops as "bizarre", and Penney agreed. "It's really difficult to understand, but I think it was just one of those days," he said. "The bowlers were faultless but the Gods were on Sri Lanka's side. Once you start dropping catches on a flat wicket, you pay the price."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo