SL Development XI v England XI, Colombo, 2nd day March 21, 2012

Strauss and Trott centuries bring England cheer

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sri Lanka Development XI 431 for 6 dec (Silva 163, Perera 85) and 44 for 1 lead England XI 272 for 4 dec (Strauss 100, Trott 101) by 203 runs

Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott both made centuries as England's top-order warmed-up for their Test series against Sri Lanka with an impressive performance against a Development XI in Colombo.

It was, perhaps, a particularly important innings for the England captain. Strauss has scored just one Test century in his last 46 Test innings and none at all since November 2010. While a century in a warm-up game will count for little in the grand scheme of things, this was an innings that suggested Strauss' form is returning. It will also ensure he goes into the first Test, which starts in Galle on Monday, with renewed confidence.

Strauss welcomed the arrival of slow left-armer Sajeewa Weerakoon into the attack by lofting his second delivery over long-off for six. He did enjoy one moment of fortune when, on 95, he edged a delivery from Vishwa Fernando that failed to carry to the wicketkeeper, but went on to register his first century for England in any format since his 158 in the World Cup tie against India in February 2011, and his first in first-class cricket for England since the first Test of the 2010 Ashes.

Trott also looked solid. Clinical off his legs and quick to latch on to anything short or overpitched, he drove sweetly and took a particular shine to the bowling of Weerakoon and Isuru Udana. Both men reached their centuries from 140 deliveries and promptly 'retired out' to enable their colleagues to gain some time at the crease.

"We declared in the hope of getting a target set for us tomorrow and making a game of it rather than bat another 20 overs and let the game peter out," Trott said. "It's always good to keep things competitive so we are putting ourselves under pressure.

"You have to manage yourself, your dehydration and stuff like that, if you want to score here. To score a hundred or a double-hundred you've got to be able to bat for long periods of time. We are training very hard in the heat early in the morning or late in the afternoon testing ourselves and hopefully we can benefit from it."

While England's top three will go into the Test series with runs behind them - Alastair Cook also scored a century in the first warm-up match - concerns linger over the form of Ian Bell. Bell, who endured a wretched tour of the UAE, got off the mark with a six over extra cover, but soon clipped one to short midwicket for 14. Bell's previous innings on the tour lasted only two deliveries and he averaged 8.5 in the Test series against Pakistan.

Kevin Pietersen also impressed for a while, striking a four and a six in a run-a-ball 26, but fell to left-arm spin once again when he was drawn down the pitch by Weerakoon, beaten by turn and stumped.

Declining the opportunity for the likes of Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel and Matt Prior to enjoy a prolonged period at the crease, England declared 159 runs behind. That not only increased the opportunity for Bell and Pietersen to benefit from another bat on the third and final day, but also allowed the England management to see how their bowlers reacted to another spell in the hot and humid conditions. A potential batting stand-off between Patel and Bopara, however, for the right to bat at No. 6 in Galle, was stillborn.

The Sri Lankan Development XI stretched their lead by 44 - to 203 - before stumps. Stuart Broad was the only successful bowler, bouncing back from being hit for boundaries from his first two deliveries by trapping Malinda Warnapura leg before wicket.

At the start of the second day, the Development XI had batted on for almost an hour. They added 55 in ten overs, with Kaushal Lokuarachchi making a fluent half-century and Angelo Perera reaching 85 before he upper-cut Steven Finn to third man. That was the only wicket England took in the session and Sri Lanka declared after 100 overs, as was agreed by both sides before the game.

Edited by David Hopps

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on March 22, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    @ bobmartin on (March 22 2012, 13:56 PM GMT) - (re batsmen in squad) Do you think they maybe see having an extra batsman in the squad as putting pressure on Bell and Bopara etc for a place or maybe it's sending a message out that it doesn't matter how bad you are .... Tredwell is unlikely to get a game but maybe they don't like dropping batsmen so the spare batsman wouldn't get a game either.

  • John on March 22, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (March 22 2012, 15:11 PM GMT) - I don't really care about long tail's. Such confidence I have in Bell and Bopara , I feel that guys like Bres.Broad and Swann are as likely to get runs. In reality our tail started 3 or 4 wkts down in UAE - and then sometimes wagged again when Prior , Broad and Swann came in. Your stats sum it up re Finn and Bres for me. Finn is more likely to take wickets but also go for runs. Bres may be likely to put more of a strangle on the SL batting and is better with the bat.My point re the declaration was why didn't SL declare on their overnight score when they had nothing to gain by eating into the 2nd day and then why not let their man get 100. All for the early decs , just that the timing of SLs decs were strange.

  • Mark on March 22, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    @JG, it was an agreed declaration and an agreed target. That much is clear. The Andys wanted a tough chase because of the easy batting conditions and that is what they got. Your line-up is plausible but it makes for a long tail. Probably if England go that way Tim Bresnan will have to play for Finn, although it pains me to leave Finn out. Word of warning though: Tim Bresnan has just 1 wicket on this tour so far (Finn has 7) and hardly played in the UAE: he'd be a gamble, although his reverse swing would be valuable in these conditions.

  • John on March 22, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    My 11 for the 1st test - which will differ from most and unfortunately the selectors too - would be Strauss, Cook , Trott , KP , Patel, Prior , Broad, Swann, Jimmy, Finn , Monty. Now for me (if I was a selector) I might think about Bres over Finn as he adds slightly more in the batting dept and maybe more control in the bowling dept. One person said Bres's bowling is more suitable for these conditions which might be the case - his figures suggest he bowled a tighter line and creating pressure may be the way to go. For me Patel edges Bopara for his overs and I have a hunch that he is better under pressure.

  • John on March 22, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on - I never read too much into the declaration sit although it seemed strange that SL 11 batted on for a while yesterday rather than declare on the overnight total. If this pitch is anything like the test pitches then surely we are going to need 5 bowlers - and I don't inc Patel as a bowler - to bowl the better SL 11 out twice or at least to maximise our chances or doing so. Surely Bell should not be picked. It's not as if he can give us a few overs with the ball if his batting fails. I'm not reading too much into this match as far as the batting is concerned. I mean 500+ runs on the final day says it all about the batting conditions for me.

  • John on March 22, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    @anuradha_d on (March 22 2012, 12:30 PM GMT) and as I put the other day which hopefully ESPN will publish this time - as your comms got through again - SL seniors didn't cover themselves in glory either vs Bangladesh. I've not seen one comment from any English fan so far that has bigged up any individual performance and yet you seem to say that Swann and co failed with the ball (which we can read into) but our batsmen did better (which we can't read into because it was such a flat batting wicket). Surely if the conditions are as batting friendly as you say then we should not read too much into our bowlers' lack of wickets. It's not like the bowlers have suddenly had better conditions to bowl in is it?

  • John on March 22, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    @A_Vacant_Slip on (March 22 2012, 09:20 AM GMT) re "form is temporary but class is permanent" - Trouble is that our number one ranking is likely to be more temporary by the inclusion of passengers. On this and the UAE tour Bell has played (I think) 13 inns inc one not out score of 12 and his highest score is 39 and if memory serves me right he only passed 20 on one other occasion.Finn was bowling much better when they dropped him vs Aus so it seems to be double standards if you're an out of form batsman these days. Bell was dropped a few years ago and came back stronger. Why can't that be the same now. Just because you drop a player doesn't mean that's it?

  • Sharon on March 22, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    A lot of box ticked there for England - plenty bowling work-out, acclimatising the heat and all batter in form - except one. I wonder about the pitches though. Tomfoolery is my suspicion. Sri Lanka only chance to beat England is by producing spinner pitch and hoping that Herath and friends can do what Pakistan did. Sri Lanka know this - so what do they do - produce belter pitch in warm up with no sign of spin in order to give England no chance to practice batting against spin and nothing for England spin bowler to work with. Now be sure that Sri Lanka will have bunsen burner ready for First Test. I garentee it.

  • Jason on March 22, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    @bobmartin, have to agree tredwell was really a bad choice, especially with Patel in the squad, I'd have prefered to have seen Taylor/Buttler/Bairstow in the squad in his place. All in all a win is a win even on a flat pitch in a contrived game.

  • Mark on March 22, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Interesting poser now for the selectors: Ravi Bopara can't bowl - does that make Samit Patel a better pick at 6?

  • No featured comments at the moment.