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

Strauss and Trott centuries bring England cheer

ESPNcricinfo staff
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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
Scorecard

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

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer 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.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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?

  • POSTED BY A_Vacant_Slip 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.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding 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.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer 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?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer 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.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 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?

  • POSTED BY A_Vacant_Slip 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.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding 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.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer 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?

  • POSTED BY bobmartin on | March 22, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    The biggest problem I see with the England squad is that they only have 5 specialist batsmen...6 if you include Prior.. So with Bell failing AGAIN, there appears to be a bit lacking in the depth of the batting. Only one other needs to fall early, or get injured during the match, and it could mean big trouble. IMHO Tredwell was an unnecessary inclusion and it should have been another batter.

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | March 22, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    curious post anuradha_d, making out that this second innings was something of a failure. It's a warm up game mainly, and the players got a pretty good run out in both games. But you can't read too much into warm up games. To win the game is an added bonus, were it a serious game, England would still be midway through their first innings

  • POSTED BY pradeep_dealwis on | March 22, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    Watch out people for that kid called Angelo Perera. One for the future.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | March 22, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    @anuradha_d, interesting theory. 7 batsmen average 38 or more in these two matches. 5 bowlers have taken 4 or more wickets. There have been 3 centuries and 4x 50. My glass is far more than half full. The Test XI have with just one exception got wickets or runs (sometimes both) and the likely reserves are all ready to go. Most of us would settle for that. If England lose next week we can't blame poor form in the warm-ups.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | March 22, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    England chase down 359 with something to spare and everyone gets to make a few runs apart, unfortunately, from Ian Bell. 50s for Pietersen, Bopara, Patel and Prior. Centuries for Strauss and Trott in the match and a 12-ball 31 from Graeme Swann to take England over the line. The declaration doesn't look so daft now, does it? The two Andys knew exactly what they were doing.

  • POSTED BY anuradha_d on | March 22, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    On flat pitches and weak opponents in practise games...the take-aways should be by looking at the part of glass half empty......KP ( inspite of 50 odd) and Bell Failed......Swann failed.....and the reserves batsmen of lanka that will probably not be in the playing 11 made merry.........are the glass half empty.......that some of the English batsmen got runs....should be discounted......

    question.......is for the 11th position in the line-up.........Patel, Boapara or by a long shot Swann gets in???...given that 10 places are already sealed

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 22, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (March 21 2012, 23:52 PM GMT) To be fair - as I type - England are 5 or 6 down with no sign of Strauss or Trott. Strauss needs the runs as much as the next man and both retd pretty much as soon as they got their 100s

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | March 22, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    @land147... I am the north to yr south on Ian Ronald Bell I'm afraid.. I have seen some totally dire (weak) performances from him, esp v Oz.. I am not interested in his stats v B'desh, or really his stats last year. I saw him called back after a schoolboy error v India and I saw him hole out at Brisbane (he cannot shepherd the tale for sure) and I saw him hole out yet again at MCG for 1! During all this time he has not scored a tough run, and certainly not a solus ton as a match winner. His performance in UAE was no surprise and neither is his performance so far in SL. When the going gets tough, I R Bell is AWOL as ever.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | March 22, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    @yorkshire-86, rashid has fallen by the way in fact hes probably behind Borthwick, Briggs and Kerrigan in terms of being ready for england. As for Bell hes had a good run for 2 years, sadly missing the latter part of 2010 with borken foot, but did well in Aus and through last summer. As for a bad time in the UAE, every batsman had a bad time except Trott and Cook.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | March 22, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Oh dear Bell has failed once again. Oh dear the talent is thin.

  • POSTED BY A_Vacant_Slip on | March 22, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    All very strange. Pleasing now to see KP + Bopara get some runs but what is the story with Bell...? @landl47 has the key point - Bell has had a fantastic test run until the UAE. His form is off ATM - but the age-long maxim must apply; "form is temporary but class is permanent". And Ian Bell IS a classy player. @wombats - Australia "canon fodder".... ha ha ha!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | March 22, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    Although this wicket is clearly a road (England actually made 271 for the loss of only two wickets), it's nice to see them showing initiative in trying to play for a result. Bell's lack of form is worrying, after his amazing performances against Australia, Sri Lanka and India last year (for those who have forgotten, 11 innings, 3 not out, 950 runs, 4 centuries, highest 235, av. 118.75), but a player with his record (5078 runs at 47.01 with 16 hundreds) is likely to get runs at any time. Otherwise, it's good to see Broad come through without apparently suffering any damage. I'm looking forward to a good test series.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | March 22, 2012, 2:25 GMT

    As for the English side, I think they are still on the ascendant and by the time next June drops around Australia will be playing the number one test side at their peak and at home in front of packed test crowds. It will be the pinnacle of their domination over Australia (PS Does anyone else find it ironic that RandyOz enjoys an unbiased commentary?)

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | March 21, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    That was an odd day's cricket. I was not impressed with Strauss and Trott soaking up so many of the maximum of 100 overs available. I know that they are important batsmen and nee time in the middle but so do several others. I thought they should have retired earlier but to then come out after tea to achieve a meaningless century seemed very selfish. From their strike rates, Pietersen and Bell then decided to aim for a milestone as quickly as possible to get the next pair in, which likely contributed to their downfall. Seriously, when would Ian Bell hit a 6 off his second ball even when he's in form? He really needs to spend time at the crease and he likely threw it away trying to up the run rate. Bopara and Patel then crawled along and didn't really achieve anything other than not getting out. With the declaration, I can only assume that Strauss made a deal for SLD XI to bat briefly and declare to give England another bat. If not I don't know what Strauss is playing at.

  • POSTED BY Trickstar on | March 21, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 Even as a Yorkshire fan of 25 years, Rashid should be nowhere near the England side, he was extremely poor for us last year and although talented he needs to get back to landing a ball in the same place twice in a over.Briggs has a very good future ahead of him but I can see why they went with Tredwell, simply because he knows his game inside and out and won't let no one down, if he's thrown in at the last minute. Don't won't to ruin someone like Briggs just for the sake of it, let him come along playing Lions games home and abroad. As for Patel he's hardly there as a spinner, he's there as a all rounder. As for Bel's good year of form, mate you haven't got a clue have you, since he got recalled in 2009 to the end of 2001, 2 and half years, he averaged 72 with 8 tons, that is some average player that, he may have problems against the likes of Ajmal or someone who offers a bit of mystery but there aren't many of those around, come summer he'll be smashing the SA's around.

  • POSTED BY D.S.A on | March 21, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    Also, can the writers reconsider the use of the word, stillborn? I understand its implied meaning, but...99% of people wouldn't ever use it in that sense, rather the more frequent sense of it. Perhaps you could use "curtailed".

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | March 21, 2012, 22:29 GMT

    @yorkshire-86; looks like you are an Aussie posing as someone from Yorkshire. Why are Aussies taking so much interest in England cricket these days? They weren't taking much interest on Boxing Day 2010 - they were leaving the MCG in their thousands. What a great day that was - long will it be remembered.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 21, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    @5wombats on (March 21 2012, 14:42 PM GMT) Welcome back bud , although I think you'll probably disagree with my views on the England side.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 21, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 21 2012, 18:18 PM GMT) What's Australia got to do with this - or is it an attempt to dig at the usual suspects before they dig at us?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 21, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 on (March 21 2012, 19:10 PM GMT) Patel is primarily a batsman so really should not be entered into a debate on spin bowling.His overs are a bonus.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 21, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    I don't necessarily think it's a strange declaration in a 3 day warm up game. What I do think is that it is strange that the SL 11 did not declare on their overnight score if these declarations are agreed. Obviously we can't read too much into Trott or Strauss's 100s although I don't think Strauss has scored 100 for Eng for a while (albeit this one is on a flat pitch vs mediocre bowling). I'm not worried about Bell's form . What I am worrying about is England keep on picking him whilst his confidence is down being detrimental to both the team and the player himself. What I can see is he'll score in the 2nd inns which will keep him in the test side for the SL series and he'll fail in the 2 matches. Let's not also forget that KP has still not scored a 50 in a non T20/ODI this year although I have more faith in him and feel he prob got out trying to push the game forward

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | March 21, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    @mikey76 on (March 21 2012, 16:10 PM GMT) My 11 also would have had a 5 man bowling attack but with Finn as the extra paceman. It might lack a bit batting wise but I don't have much faith in Bopara and Bell - which is maybe a bit harsh on Bell for his contributions before UAE and a bit harsh on Ravi who I think has only had one full (non OD/T20) inns this year. I'm not sure about Patel either but at least he can bowl a number or useful overs if his batting fails although I do wish people would remember that he is a batsman who bowls a bit and not a specialist bowler (a la Bopara , Collingwood). Bresnan would be a good compromise as he bats better than Finn and can maybe hold an end up better than Finn if Finn isn't taking wickets. By the way I don't think England will do what is so obvious to you and me.

  • POSTED BY D.S.A on | March 21, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    Ridiculous decision to declare. Firstly, their lower middle order is prevented from batting in these conditions. My guess is that they don't want their English middle-order poster boy, Bell, being outplayed by Bopara and/or Patel. But hey, it is normal to bowl for 100 overs, bat an equal number of overs, that being 66 overs of course, because 100 = 66, and then bowl for potentially 90 overs on the final day, if the Sri Lankan team bat out the day, without being willing to declare. The situation here is England are going to be bowling potentially 190 overs in this match and bat 66 overs. If Sri Lanka Dev XI declare, are they going to open with those who didn't bat a lot or at all?...So Bopara and Patel to open, against a new ball which they are not likely to face against rested bowlers.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | March 21, 2012, 21:47 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge - we see that you are getting your retaliation in early.... Dead right - who'd be an Aus follower! No spin bowler, no bowlers in general, no wicket keeper, no quality coming through, no batsmen and an ex-captain who wouldn't even get into the Somerset second 11. We hear that Canon have outsourced the manufacture of their new photocopiers to Australia, they are calling it the "Fodder".

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | March 21, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 - your comments are always very unbiased. I enjoy your analysis.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | March 21, 2012, 21:44 GMT

    Bell and Swann continue to rpove how poor they are, yet continue to be picked, based on what? Midiocre records? Bell is the Shaun Marsh of England, and Swann the Jason Krejza, both well overrated! Good to see Strauss continuing his good non-test form, we all know when the real stuff begins he will revert to his average of 41 (haha).

  • POSTED BY brittop on | March 21, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    @TheHoneymonster & @5wombats: My first thought was that it was a strange declaration and that England have gone too far the other way i.e. trying to win warm-up games now completely overtaking the need for players to acclimatise/have enough game time. However maybe their thinking is that the DevXI will return the declaration and they will find out more about the batters when they have to chase a target in the fourth innings.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | March 21, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    Hi, 5wombats! Nice break? Yes, I'm concerned about Bell too. There are two tests in S-L and the Andocracy must be concerned. Ideally, they would want to play the same XI in both matches and it seems to me that Bell may have run out of chances. That means Bopara @5 & Prior @6.Then I'd have Samit #7, Broad # 8, Swann #9, Jimmy #10 and Panesar#11. I'm also concerned about Swann, but the inclusion of Finn, who has done nothing wrong, would make for a very long tail. That is not Flower's style. Swann's all-round skills just shade it, but really he doesn't look like a wicket-taker at the moment, does he? My confidence level is at 55%!

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | March 21, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    Honeymonster, I think that the Test XI was known before the tour started. The declaration had to be agreed because otherwise England would have been asked to follow on! There has been an agreement on a target for tomorrow to give England a second chance to bat with a chase on. I must admit that was not surprised by the declaration - it is consistent with England trying to make something of warm-up matches over the last few tours - save that it was not made half an hour later to give Bopara and Patel a bit longer at the crease. Had the declaration been declared though it might have made the chase unfeasible in terms of time to build a lead. Incidentally, road *does* need overs as he missed the first match and Tim Bresnan is coming back from injury and far from match fit, which means that if England are serious about using him he needs overs.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | March 21, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Bell has had his year or so of exceptional form and is back to what he always was and is - an average player at this level. Bopara is nowhere near good enough and should not keep getting life after life to fail again. As for Patel and Tredwell, a couple of very mediocre players, all their presence is doing is keeping the far more talented Rashid and Biggs stuck at home.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | March 21, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    Doesn't that last Strauss hundred send a shiver through any Australian fan though? What a thrashing England gave Australia last Ashes, and with England's superiority over the Aussies these last few years beyond question, it looks like yet another thrashing is possible next year seeing that Australia's test side is famously terrible right now. Bad times if you're an Australian fan.

  • POSTED BY cricketman123 on | March 21, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    Play Upul Tharanga as opening batsman. Do not classify him as a specialist one day batsman.

  • POSTED BY mikey76 on | March 21, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    With the obvious heat and humidity it would be foolhardy for England to go in with just 4 bowlers. I think the selectors are going to have to bite the bullet and move Prior up to 6 and play Bresnan at 7. The Sri Lankan top order will probably not be too upset by spin therefore their needs to be a concerted effort with pace and that requires 3 quicks. The batsmen have no excuses now, SL don't have anyone remotely as good as Ajmal and their pace attack is pretty friendly to say the least.

  • POSTED BY Long-Leg on | March 21, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Top three looking good for England, but two three day matches is simply not enough preparation for a test series. How is Bell going to bat himself into form? Also it should be a three test series not two.

  • POSTED BY allblue on | March 21, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    "...his (Strauss) first (100) in first-class cricket since the first Test of the 2010 Ashes". This is incorrect, he made 4 FC 100s in 2011: 14/5/11 151 Middx v Sri Lanka 19/5/11 103 Middx v Glamorgan 15/7/11 109 Somerset v India 31/8/11 241* Middx v Leicester So the good news is that the top three have all made tons so far, the worry is Bell continuing his poor trot. Swann made little impression again, but it was clearly a road where all the bowlers struggled. The thing is, what sort of surface will the Tests be played on? High scoring draw variety, or ball turning square on day one?

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | March 21, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    What a perculiar declaration. Obviously management feels that there is no chance of England losing this match - so - an opportunity in Eng second Inns for Bell/Bopara/Patel/Prior to come in before Strauss & Trott who are are now clearly in form. That would be interesting and a positive move to get something out of this fixture. Is anyone else starting to worry about Bell?

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | March 21, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    One gets the impression that this is a pretty easy pitch! Hard work for the bowlers, which will do them no harm at all and will have done the confidence of the batsmen some good. Any illusions that things may be easy have been blown away, which will also do the side some good on the first morning of the Test series as they will need to come out at 100%. All in all, better preparation than beating overmatched opposition on a minefield.

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | March 21, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Really odd decision to declare - I can see why they'd want to get a few more overs into Broad before the test series and give Swann more time to find a bit of rhythm, but I think they already know the bowling attack for the first test and it's the batting that needs work. I'd have given Bopara and Patel more time to bat to have a proper look at them, unless like with the bowling, Flower and Strauss already know who they're going with.

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  • POSTED BY SDHM on | March 21, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Really odd decision to declare - I can see why they'd want to get a few more overs into Broad before the test series and give Swann more time to find a bit of rhythm, but I think they already know the bowling attack for the first test and it's the batting that needs work. I'd have given Bopara and Patel more time to bat to have a proper look at them, unless like with the bowling, Flower and Strauss already know who they're going with.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | March 21, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    One gets the impression that this is a pretty easy pitch! Hard work for the bowlers, which will do them no harm at all and will have done the confidence of the batsmen some good. Any illusions that things may be easy have been blown away, which will also do the side some good on the first morning of the Test series as they will need to come out at 100%. All in all, better preparation than beating overmatched opposition on a minefield.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | March 21, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    What a perculiar declaration. Obviously management feels that there is no chance of England losing this match - so - an opportunity in Eng second Inns for Bell/Bopara/Patel/Prior to come in before Strauss & Trott who are are now clearly in form. That would be interesting and a positive move to get something out of this fixture. Is anyone else starting to worry about Bell?

  • POSTED BY allblue on | March 21, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    "...his (Strauss) first (100) in first-class cricket since the first Test of the 2010 Ashes". This is incorrect, he made 4 FC 100s in 2011: 14/5/11 151 Middx v Sri Lanka 19/5/11 103 Middx v Glamorgan 15/7/11 109 Somerset v India 31/8/11 241* Middx v Leicester So the good news is that the top three have all made tons so far, the worry is Bell continuing his poor trot. Swann made little impression again, but it was clearly a road where all the bowlers struggled. The thing is, what sort of surface will the Tests be played on? High scoring draw variety, or ball turning square on day one?

  • POSTED BY Long-Leg on | March 21, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Top three looking good for England, but two three day matches is simply not enough preparation for a test series. How is Bell going to bat himself into form? Also it should be a three test series not two.

  • POSTED BY mikey76 on | March 21, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    With the obvious heat and humidity it would be foolhardy for England to go in with just 4 bowlers. I think the selectors are going to have to bite the bullet and move Prior up to 6 and play Bresnan at 7. The Sri Lankan top order will probably not be too upset by spin therefore their needs to be a concerted effort with pace and that requires 3 quicks. The batsmen have no excuses now, SL don't have anyone remotely as good as Ajmal and their pace attack is pretty friendly to say the least.

  • POSTED BY cricketman123 on | March 21, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    Play Upul Tharanga as opening batsman. Do not classify him as a specialist one day batsman.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | March 21, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    Doesn't that last Strauss hundred send a shiver through any Australian fan though? What a thrashing England gave Australia last Ashes, and with England's superiority over the Aussies these last few years beyond question, it looks like yet another thrashing is possible next year seeing that Australia's test side is famously terrible right now. Bad times if you're an Australian fan.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | March 21, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Bell has had his year or so of exceptional form and is back to what he always was and is - an average player at this level. Bopara is nowhere near good enough and should not keep getting life after life to fail again. As for Patel and Tredwell, a couple of very mediocre players, all their presence is doing is keeping the far more talented Rashid and Biggs stuck at home.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | March 21, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    Honeymonster, I think that the Test XI was known before the tour started. The declaration had to be agreed because otherwise England would have been asked to follow on! There has been an agreement on a target for tomorrow to give England a second chance to bat with a chase on. I must admit that was not surprised by the declaration - it is consistent with England trying to make something of warm-up matches over the last few tours - save that it was not made half an hour later to give Bopara and Patel a bit longer at the crease. Had the declaration been declared though it might have made the chase unfeasible in terms of time to build a lead. Incidentally, road *does* need overs as he missed the first match and Tim Bresnan is coming back from injury and far from match fit, which means that if England are serious about using him he needs overs.