Sri Lanka v England 2007-08 / News

Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Kandy, 1st day

Like taking Kandy from a baby

Andrew Miller in Kandy

December 1, 2007

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It was Matthew Hoggard's day and he made sure his young baby back home wasn't forgotten © Getty Images
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Spell of the day
Matthew Hoggard's incredible new-ball onslaught. His 5 for 25 in last week's Colombo warm-up looked at the time like an anomaly. In fact, it was a return to normal service for a fast bowler whose record on the subcontinent (47 wickets at 26.11) now ranks up there with the very, very best. There was the merest hint of movement in the morning, but that's all he needed, as he nibbled away at that off stump and let Sri Lanka's frailties do the rest.

Dismissal of the day
Any of Hoggard's might compete for the honour, but the best of the bunch was a perfect length delivery that drew Mahela Jayawardene into a fateful dab. The ball deviated maybe half a bat's width, but as the great Glenn McGrath always professed, infinitesimal movement is the best movement of all. It turned a solid forward defensive into a panicky snick to the keeper, and Sri Lanka's captain was on his way.

Celebration of the day
Hoggard became a father for the first time back in May, and coincidentally or not, his career has been in stasis ever since. He went lame midway through young Ernie's birthday match at Lord's, and featured in just one more Test that summer, at Chester-le-Street at the end of June. Today he was back with a bang, and commemorated the fact by rocking his arms in a cradle fashion each time a wicket fell. Perhaps he felt he was taking Kandy from a baby.

Batsman of the day
Kumar Sangakkara came into this match still buzzing from the innings of his life - his 192 against Australia at Hobart last week - and once again he was the classiest cricketer on show. While others poked and groped, he located the middle of the bat almost at will, and eased Ryan Sidebottom out of the attack with two fours in his sixth over - the second, a sumptuous on-drive that scorched the turf and bisected midwicket and mid-on before either fielder could react.

Premonition of the day
Monty Panesar's ripper to dismiss Chaminda Vaas. The ball pitched a good foot outside the stumps, but gripped and bit sharply to clip the top of off as Vaas backed away in an attempted cut. Earlier in his spell, Panesar had given Sangakkara arguably his most uncomfortable moment with an equally sharp tweaker and loud lbw shout. And yet, this was all taking place on only the second session of the match. What would Muralitharan make of the conditions when his turn came?

Pathos of the day
Steve Harmison getting the one-stump treatment that, in the Duncan Fletcher regime, was so commonly associated with James Anderson. This time round it was Anderson who claimed the final spot in England's line-up, and during the lunch interval Harmison emerged in his training kit with Ottis Gibson for company, to send down a series of deliveries at a lone timber on the edge of the square. For the record Harmy seemed straight and speedy, but his stooped-shoulder trudge seemed wearier than ever.

Stat of the day
With the wicket of Jayawardene, Hoggard became England's leading wicket-taker in Tests against Sri Lanka. But it's possibly not the most auspicious list he'll ever be a part of - the previous record-holder was Ashley Giles with 31 wickets, and only Andrew Flintoff (27) comes close. Two representatives of an earlier generation, Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick, are next with 16 apiece, while Liam Plunkett, John Emburey, Ian Botham and Monty Panesar are the odd bed-fellows to have scraped into double figures.

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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