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Sri Lanka in England 2006

Penney bemused by England drops

Andrew Miller

May 17, 2006

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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

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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Players/Officials: Trevor Penney
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Teams: England | Sri Lanka
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