SL Development XI v England XI, Colombo, 3rd day

Patel pushes case for England after Bopara injury

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 22, 2012

Comments: 66 | Text size: A | A

England XI 272 for 4 dec (Trott 101, Strauss 100) and 360 for 6 (Prior 84, Patel 72) beat Sri Lanka Development XI 431 for 6 (Silva 163, Perera 85) and 199 for 4 dec (Perera 90*) by four wickets

Samit Patel played several attacking strokes during his innings, Sri Lanka Development XI v England XI, 3rd day, Colombo, March 22, 2012
Samit Patel pressed his case for an England Test debut after Ravi Bopara suffered a strain that will prevent him bowling © Getty Images

England won their second tour match in Sri Lanka against a Development XI by four wickets, overhauling their fourth-innings target at almost a run a ball with encouraging contributions from several members of the batting line-up. Samit Patel, in particular, pressed his case by scoring 72 and may have pushed himself ahead of Ravi Bopara in the selectors' thoughts for the first Test against Sri Lanka, which begins on Monday. Bopara made 66 but a side strain picked up earlier in the match means he is unlikely to provide England with a back-up seam option.

There were also half-centuries for Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior but Ian Bell's run of poor form continued. Opening the batting with Pietersen - first-innings centurions Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott sat out the chase to give their team-mates extended practice - Bell made 11 before edging to the wicketkeeper down the leg side. He has now scored just 130 runs at 10.83 from 13 first-class innings in 2012 and could find his place in the Test side under threat. Bopara and Patel, as well as possibly Tim Bresnan, were already vying to replace Eoin Morgan - who was dropped after the Pakistan series in the UAE - but Bell's struggles may open up another slot.

If selected, Bopara's medium-pace will not be an option, however. "Ravi Bopara strained his left side in the first innings and is unlikely to bowl during the Test series," an ECB spokesman said. "He will be available for selection as a specialist batsman."

Although England's bowlers ran through the Sri Lanka Board XI in their first tour match, they struggled this time around, albeit without the services of James Anderson and Monty Panesar. If England stick with their preferred four-man attack, the inclusion of an allrounder will be essential due to the heat and humidity; and Patel, who bowls left-arm spin, proved his form ahead of a potential Test debut with a buccaneering innings.

The Development XI, resuming on 44 for 1 overnight, quickly slipped to 77 for 4, as Bresnan, Graeme Swann and Steven Finn picked up wickets, but, aided by some declaration bowling from Trott and Bell, declared 15 overs later on 199. That set England 359 to win off 64 overs and Pietersen began in aggressive fashion by sending his second and third balls for four. After Bell's dismissal, Bopara was involved in partnerships of 69 with Pietersen - whose 52 came off the same number of balls - and 83 with Prior. The wicketkeeper was particularly dismissive of the Development XI bowling, striking 13 fours and a six in his 60-ball innings.

Thilina Kandamby, captain of the Development XI, said he had not expected England to chase down the target but that Prior's knock was crucial for the tourists.

"Because of Prior's innings we couldn't do anything. He was hitting each and every ball out of the park and that made the difference," he said. "I know as a SSC cricketer that it is not easy to defend a total on this wicket. Up to tea it was OK and they needed to score over 200 runs in around 30 overs. But the innings was changed course by Samit Patel and Matt Prior. They batted very well."

Patel kept the momentum going after Prior's departure for 84 but, having hit two sixes in three overs, he was bowled by Tharanga Lakshitha with 34 still required. That brought Swann to the crease, who perhaps chose to release some of the frustrations of a difficult match with the ball by walloping five fours and a six in the 12 deliveries he faced. Victory was welcome for England, but there were still one or two questions to be answered.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 25, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer - Actually I disagree totally. Surely net form will tell more if it's something technically wrong and it's only when you're out in the middle , when the pressure is on that the mental side comes in to it. I'm not totally on Village Blacksmith's wavelength here but there are similarities with Hick and you could also add that Bell has over the last year or so been playing alongside other guys who have made big runs and often when he has scored his big runs it's been after the likes of Cook,Trott,KP had already set the platform. Re Hoggard , I'd say there are 2 other things to consider. 1 - We have many decent bowlers coming through comp to batsmen 2 - I believe our batsmen get favourable selection treatment comp to our bowlers.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 25, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

@JG, yiu didn't quite get it, did you? They know from the nets if things really are hopeless. No one is suggesting that net form translates into middle form, only that it gives a really good read on mental state and whether or not a slump in form really is terminal or not. We never see a lot of things that go into selection and they don't get reported. Remember when Matthew Hoggart was dropped after one poor Test in New Zealand? The fans were furious that his career was ended, but the wiser heads kept saying that there must be something more behind it and boy were they right. I'm just suggesting that reading a scorecard doesn't always tell you the full story on a player, particularly on tour where the selection process is much closer to the team.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 24, 2012, 22:28 GMT)

Well done pac0pride for your well rounded constructive comments

Posted by JG2704 on (March 24, 2012, 22:27 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (March 24 2012, 09:10 AM GMT) Maybe , but hitting the ball out of the middle in the nets and doing the same when in the middle are 2 different things. Bell's net form isn't going to help us win anything.

Posted by pac0pride on (March 24, 2012, 12:52 GMT)


Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 24, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

@Zen, we only see the scorecards. The two Andys see Ian Bell in the nets and in the hotel. They know what his mental state is. Sometimes, like in KP's recent run of poor scores, you can see that there is nothing fundamentally wrong and the mentally the batsman is fine and ready to score big at any time. They can also see whether or not he is batting with cofnfidence in the nets: if he can't hit the middle of the bat there, they will know that he ain't gonna do it in a match! They can see if Ian Bell is up for it or not. We can't. So, in or out, it will be based on a lot more than the number of runs in the scorecard in the last match. I don't know what the vibes are here. Most of the correspondants have missed the warm-ups, so very lttle information has come out on the background. My guess is that the problem is more mental than anything. The management will know, if that's the case, whether or not he can get over it. We can pontificate all we like, but we don't have the facts.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 24, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

@zenboomerang - Totally agree there. Not sure about whether to go for Finn (who may be likely to take more wickets) or Bresnan (who would likely give more control and possibly add tome tail runs) . I suppose much depends on the pitch and Bres's fitness.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 24, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer - Hello. My point is that I agree with JBW in that the last match is extremely unlikely to mirror anything in the series. For a start there's no way they're going to be set such a huge total to get in 2 sessions , 2- the pressure will rise considerably against better bowling on what I hope will be more sporting wickets 3- India did it against a decent bowling attack who on their day could have bowled India out for less than 300. Yes it's better that we managed it but it was hardly a pressure situation as we were never going to get bowled out in 2 sessions on that pitch.

Posted by 5wombats on (March 24, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

@RandyOZ (March 23 2012, 23:38 PM GMT) You call Swann; the "Most highly overrated player in England". Is that the same Graham Swann who ran through Australia in the 2nd Inns at Lords 2009 (4/87), the same Graham Swann who ran through Australia at the Oval 2009 with match figures of 8/158. Or maybe you are talking about the Graham Swann who ran through Australia at Adelaide in 2010 taking 7/161. 10 times Swann has played Tests against Australia and in 3 of them he has turned in match winning performances. "Overrated", eh? @RandyOZ - you'd better make sure you have some good places to hide ready for next year because boy are you are going to need them. Please publish.

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 24, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

@JG2704 :- "(If) Bell is absolutely shot of form then it seems an ideal time to try 5 bowlers - esp if these are batting friendly wickets"... Oz toured with 5 strike bowlers... I consider Watson (average 28) as a bowler/batman these days... Along with part timers in Clarke & Hussey - they all bowled in SL... England should expect flat pitches... I'd drop Bell & replace with Bresnan/Finn - the top 6 batters should get all the runs you need with Broad, Bresnan, Swann handy in the tail if need be... Oz bowled out SL twice under 200, so can't see England having more difficulties than we did...

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 24, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

@Nutcutlet :- "Expect a bunsen at Galle"... lol... Why?... For Oz at Galle, Lyon 6 wkts (5 first innings); Harris 5; Watson 5; Johnson 2; sure wasn't a "rank" turner... & for the whole Test series it was pace & seam that proved the winner... Oz would have won the 2nd Test at Pallekele if not for over a day lost to rain - Harris 6 wkts; Copeland 3; Johnson 2; Hussey 2; Lyon 2... The Galle pitch was prepared for spin as SL didn't think Lyon could bowl a ball at the stumps... lol... I doubt very much that they will do that again against better spin bowlers...

Posted by   on (March 24, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

@RandyOZ,Ashes holder Swann is a world class off spinner...

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 23, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

Yet another dismal failure for Swann. The journeyman's journey is surely over now. Most highly overrated player in England, that is of course, after Ian Bell.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2012, 22:55 GMT)

@ jonesy2, considering the Ashes holders attack is far stronger than the West Indies that just beat Australia Id be quiet,lol

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 23, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

Australia have just fallen to a heavy defeat. Watch out for the Windies, they may not be the soft opponents that we have grown to expect come May.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 23, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

@JG, all reasoned opinions are valid. The case you quote is a marvellous example of a side pacing what looked like an impossible chase in the way England did yesterday... and we were the victims. Nothing wrong with the declaration, we just came up against a side that had the confidence to chase what probably no other team would have tried to. I would argue that being able to change the tempo to set a target with a declaration, or chase down a difficult-lloking target is essential skill for a side that wishes to turn bore draws into wins.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2012, 20:45 GMT)

@cricketing stargazer/James Badge Wing - Sorry CS - I'm more with JBW on this one. I also don't really see the comparison of when India chased down 387-4 (if this is what you are referring to). It was in a much different situation where the winning side would go up 1-0 in a 2 match series and more importantly Eng were 9 down when they declared with Anderson in and Monty to come so they were hardly likely to add anything much anyway. Obviously it might do our batsmen good but the easy batting conditions here might mean that we're in for a rude awakening. Re Bell or Patel - I'd actually fancy Broad and Swann to get more runs than Broad - the form he is in.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 23, 2012, 17:23 GMT)

@Front-foot-lunge, looking at the way his team is performing in the Caribbean you'd think that he might ask for her to be flown out there pretty quickly! That said, the Windies are our next opponents and so we should be keeping a close eye on that tour: some encouraging signs there for the Windies. Overall, there are a lot of permutations in the possible team for the SRi Lanka series. After the India ODis it became obvious that Samit Patel is never going to be a major wicket-taker at this level. The best he can do is spell Swann and Monty and, hopefully, keep things tight, so I agree, he is not a realistic 5th bowler. I'd love to get both Tim Bresnan and Steve Finn in, but be warned that Tim Bresnan is far from match fit still and we are not going to selecting him more for his batting, are we??? It's a tricky little poser. Is Samit Patel a better bet to get Test runs that Ian Bell? If we have 5 specialist bowlers - oh so tempting - will 7-11 get enough runs to win matches?

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 23, 2012, 17:10 GMT)

@James Badge Wing, you have short memory. Bangladesh, not so long ago. England had to force the pace in both games because they threatened to end up as draws on dead surfaces. It happens if you are serious about winning and the pitch is not a 3-day minefield. What about when India chased down nearly 400 at ODI pace against us a few winters ago when the game looked like a safe draw? Some sides play conservatively (we saw some examples when India toured the Caribbean last spring), but I've seen England in some stiff chases or assaults to set up a declaration more often than I can remember over the years. If you play to wn you have to be prepared to do it.

Posted by Selassie-I on (March 23, 2012, 15:42 GMT)

This should be interesting, I think we will perform better than in the UAE. I'm for patel or Bresnan in for Bopara as we need 5 decent bowling options in this heat. Especially if the pitches are going to be this flat.

Posted by pac0pride on (March 23, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

GO !! GO !! Sri Lanka !! i Am For U 2 - 0


Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

@Valavan - I have tried similar responses to the 3 you addressed and for whatever reason mine haven't been published but I'm pleased with your comms. There was another guy (Perera32) who was equally bitter for whatever reason but yet again his comms got published , my responses didn't.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith - My point is that it seems like it was such a batsmans paradise as a pitch that you have to be horribly out of form not to score runs on it , so I'm not even reading too much into Patel and Prior and Bopara scoring on it although I would still have more faith in the former 2 - Patel because he is unproven either way. I'm becoming more and more convinced by the 5 man bowling attack because unlike vs Pak we need to win these matches (draws are little use) and when I say 5 man bowling attack I mean 5 bowlers not 4 bowlers plus Patel. Patel's overs are a bonus. I said Finn , but I would also be happy with Bres.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

@Sayak Bhattacharyyaon (March 22 2012, 17:43 PM GMT - You're a ray of sunshine. What a pleasure it is that ESPN let's us share your unbiased and warm views. An Indian fan am I right? Being that India have just been whitewashed 4-0 in 2 away series in a row - many of the tests by whitewash - isn't it a little rich bitching about England's away form? Still I suppose you do specialise more in ODIs. Hang on a minute didn't India also miss out on 2 ODIs? Still I suppose there was a huge array of teams - as many as 3 and 4 teams in each competition. It's a good job your neighbours Pakistan who some of your fans were also sniping at didn't win the competition. That would be a real sickener. Please publish this time

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

@Sayak Bhattacharyya on (March 23 2012, 06:31 AM GMT) Do you not think it would be better to get your own house in order before you start coming on England threads making all these bold predictions? Even in the OD competitions which is your forte you've been poor. Pakistan was a poor series for England and SL may be the same - time will tell. But at least Pak had been on a run which suggested they would cause probs even if I did not see the greenwash coming.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (March 23, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@JG2704... I agree and think I said that... It cd easily become another asian bore draw, 600 plays 600 etc etc and both sides are capable of posting those totals on those kind of pitches... Irrespective of that it was a good effort in those sapping conditions for the mid/lower order to score those runs.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

@jmcilhinney on (March 23 2012, 01:50 AM GMT) Yes , If he was a Cook then risk him but to me Bopara is probably our 7th best batsman out there anyway.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

@landl47/VillageBlacksmith- Sorry but all the 2nd warm up game did was tell me that if was a very easy scoring pitch and emphasises even more just how bad Bell is at present. I don't even see it as a win like that because it must have been so easy (bordering on farcical) to score runs if 500+ were scored on the last day. If we have to play tests on pitches like that I don't see us winning either - certainly not with just 4 bowlers. If we can only take 10 wkts for 600+ runs against this 11 then on a similar pitch how are we meant to take 20 with 4 bowlers (albeit with slightly improved quality with JA and MP back) vs Sanga , Jaya and co?

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (March 23, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

crikey G.sri, if this was dominoes yr comment would be a double blank... it's difficult to understand such a statement, perhaps you should be pointed in the direction of the ICC and their rankings and then please take it up with them rather than this page....

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (March 23, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

@Jonesy2, ha ha ha we have the greatest bowling attack in the history of test match cricket, and humiliated Australia with THREE innings defeats IN Australia. But most importantly, we don't have any groundsmen in our starting XI. Ha ha, Lyon! What a joke!

Posted by Valavan on (March 23, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

@G.Sri, well said, fight between mediocre teams, One mediocre team sent so called champion team out of CB series, the other mediocre team presented a bag full of sour grapes to fans and complete annihilation in all forms during 2011 summer. @Priyantha gunaratna, first of all england declared with 100 runs below in the same game, so the match was played with good spirit, no point giving lame excuses eventhough this game will not have much impact further on. @Sayak bhattacharya, you always speak about ODIs when tests are played, that shows your complete knowledge, the so called champions were slaughtered by BD not so long ago. We expect a good Test series between Eng and SL, no need to bring stories about Team India or indian fans, since their WC2011 except windies series, we have seen their dominance in World Cricket, didnt qualify for finals in both ASIA and CB series, and a 8 - 0 rollover with 4 innings defeats. Lot of achievements by india, no need in here. cricinfo please publish

Posted by Hammond on (March 23, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

@G.Sri wow you must go for a non test playing side because if England are mediocre then everyone else below them can't even reach mediocrity.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

If Bell does'nt stepup his game, its difficult for him to find a spot in this series

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (March 23, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

Well, this is a tour of mediocre teams. England can't play spin while SL can't play anything. But i expect SL to whitewash England and win the battle between 2 very mediocre teams.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 23, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

@Richard Gauntlett, obviously you care or you wouldn't have gone to the effort of reading this story and commenting on it. Every real cricket fan is disappointed that the series is only two games but every real cricket fan still cares about those two games. Personally, I would like to see England do well so that, among other reasons, I can feel good about the fact that England would have been ranked #1 after this series even if SA had briefly wrested it from them in NZ, as they likely would have if not for the weather. The next England-SA series will likely be a showdown for #1 regardless but I'd like England to be the incumbent when that series rolls around.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

@Lmaotsetung : I was not mixing up tests and ODIs mate. I mentioned the ODI s as context. And Regarding the test scoreline, it's 0-3 against Pak, if SL wins both tests then it will become 0-5. And considering a 0-4 from England after that 4 tests against India(Though I am not sure, can you please confirm the no. of tests to be played in the upcoming India - England series?), wont it become 0-9? I am not getting how it become skewed? However you have full right to call it wishful thinking.

However, I must admit that you guys still hold the upper hand and no ODI series be it 5-0 or 10-0 can not avenge the whitewash in tests. Only a 'brown-wash' in tests can avenge what happened in England last summer.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 23, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer: You beat me, and a billion other people to it! Someone should kindly inform our irrevered dear friend that an innings defeat is 'Aussies Rules football' equivalent to a 100-0 thrashing. Oh,these are golden days!

Posted by hotcric01 on (March 23, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

Warm up win makes a positive mind setup for England.I think Samit Patel should play at No.07.Bowling line up should be Finn,Anderson,Broad and Swann.Unfortunately no place for panesar,even though he is in best form.If he plays,patel should be out.Bell will find his form in first test,he is a great batsman.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 23, 2012, 1:50 GMT)

It seems risky to include Bopara if he's injured, even if he technically can still bat unhindered. If he was in fantastic form then maybe you'd risk it but the injury would potentially hinder him in the field and he might aggravate it throwing. Patel showed as much or more with the bat and is a bowling option so I'd have to give him the nod over Bopara. I don't really see either as a long term option though. England's consistency of selection policy has it's advantages but it does beg the question when they are likely to blood a new young batsman and who exactly that might be. I really can't see Bell being left out and I feel that he's capable, although by no means assured, of making runs. Even if he doesn't I reckon he'll still get the next home series because there's noone absolutely banging on the door. If he fails again at home, then he'll be on the block for sure, but I don't see it happening.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

Its nice to win the warm up but these declarations give such contrived targets that I do wonder if its good practice. The tempo of the second innings meant it was more like an ODI, its unlikely we would bat like that in the test so perhaps its not good practice for a test match.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (March 22, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

Great inns from Prior... And Patel... And nicely finished off by Swanny. And with Cook, Strauss and Delboy in the runs and the bowlers able to trouble the ooposition on anything but a road (in which case it will be a typical asian bore draw) things are looking up...

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 22, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

@Nutclutlet, I would not be distressed if that were the side for the Test save that Ravi Bopara's injury means that we would have to use probably Trott as 3rd seamer. It would be a real gamble unless we bat first and the pitch turns a lot.

Posted by landl47 on (March 22, 2012, 21:52 GMT)

The two warm-up matches at least proved that England can win either type of game. On a difficult pitch in the first game they bowled out the opposition for 169 and 119 and won by an innings. On a road in the second game they chased down 360 at 6 an over with #s 1,2, and 3, the three century makers on the tour so far, not batting. However, other than showing that this is a good England squad, which everyone except jonesy knew already, it doesn't help with the selection much. I suspect that they'll keep Bell in the side, go with 4 bowlers (Anderson, Broad, Swann and Panesar) and Bopara's injury means Patel will get a game. That line-up gives them the best chance to win whatever the pitch is like. I hope it's not like this one, though- there was no chance of a result on this pitch without sporting declarations by both captains. That's what we DON'T need for the tests, where neither captain will risk giving the game away.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (March 22, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

@Sayak Bhattacharyya - LOL, another Indian fans mixing ODIs and Test result to prove his point. Here is a clearer picture mate...ODI result in Asia since English summer stands at 4-5...Test result in Asia since then 0-3...NOT 0-8 (yeah not 0-7 so please do research before you write - 0-5 ODI in India and 0-3 Test in UAE, so if SL wins 2-0, that's be 0-10....not 0-9 in your view) as you'd like to think but carry on with your skewed analysis if it makes you sleep better at night.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

If Bopara is partly injured and Bell is absolutely shot of form then it seems an ideal time to try 5 bowlers - esp if these are batting friendly wickets where I feel we could struggle even with our 5 best bowlers. We'd also have Patel as a 6th option. Surely better than having 4 bowlers with Trott as a 5th option? Bresnan could come in (instead of my orig choice Finn) and I actually feel that he is as likely to get runs as Bell and Bopara right now anyway - as I do Broad and Swann

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2012, 21:15 GMT)

@ButWhatDoIKnow on (March 22 2012, 16:16 PM GMT) Got to be honest I thought the SL 11 side's declarations were very strange , I mean why bat into the 2nd day at all if you want to move the game forward ? And by the same token why not give Perera a chance to get his 100 - esp at the rate he was scoring?

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2012, 21:15 GMT)

@Priyantha Gunaratna on (March 22 2012, 15:37 PM GMT) You're absolutely right. The full team were losing to Bangladesh. Don't think anyone is reading anything into beating a side in the warm up games - esp this one which was a contrived result.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2012, 21:15 GMT)

@Sam Carr on (March 22 2012, 18:04 PM GMT) Yep - leave out our form bowler Monty and keep our form batsman in there. Sounds like a great plan to me.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 22, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

@SamCarr (must be nice to have the name of an old England Captain!). No, you're not just courting controversy - insanity more like! (1) Panesar is absolutely certain to play; he is England's best wicket-taking spinner on these surfaces. (2) Expect a bunsen at Galle. It always is - even Nathan Lyon got a bag-full there. England needs to consider playing Monty, Swann & Samit on a horses-for-courses principle. I hope that Broad is really 100% because he and Jimmy will be the only quicks in the side. I could be wrong, but I don't think I will be. I wouldn't be surprised if Trott gets a few overs either. Galle is very, very uncomfortable, with temperatures about 31-33C and humidity at 80%+. I've watched a test there!

Posted by MrBrightside92 on (March 22, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

There was obviously an agreement in regard the declarations before ENg declared the first time. Obviously, not too much can be celebrated from warm up wins but if the pitches are similar then it has a benefit. I bet the Aussies wish they had a few more warm ups against the WI. Saying that, if the 1st test is a rank turner this game may actually be it seems ENg were practising their boundary hitting. It's Bell vs Bopara, Bresnan v Patel. With Bopara restricted and Broad having a question mark, it's a risk with only 4 should be interesting...which is the main thing..

Posted by voma on (March 22, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

Well its good to win , and it did seem almost an impossible position for England to pull it off . But these games really mean nothing , we have been here before . Winning warm up games , then getting well beaten in the real ones . @jones2 , i fancy England to beat AUSTRALIA home or away these days mate ! ,

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 22, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

Jonsey, as we never will tire of reminding you, this "weakest attack in the world" subjected Australia to 3 innings defeats in 5 Tests in the last Ashes series. Puts Australia's batting in its rightful context, doesn't it? And that was with one of the main strike bowlers injured and unavailable. Anyway, we'll see what Sri Lanka provide in the way of pitches next week; that will probably be the deciding factor in the final makeup of the XI for the 1st Test.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

Personally, I don't like 4 front line bowlers, and I do like Samit's bowling therefore I am going to court controversy and drop Monty...Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Patel, Broad, Swann, Finn, Anderson. If it looks like a rank turner though, could leave Finn out for the Monster...

Posted by allblue on (March 22, 2012, 17:54 GMT)

In these two games we've seen the two Sri Lankan pitch stereotypes - the big turner and the road, but which will we see in the Tests? Presumably SL will overrate Swann (everyone else does apparently according to commenters here) so might be tempted to prepare surfaces that allow their big guns up top score plenty and settle for two high-score draws. Let's hope we get good cricket wickets instead. But for Bopara' side-strain, I'm sure the team would have been as the last test with Ravi in at 6, but without his 8 to 10 overs a day it complicates things somewhat. I doubt this England management will jettison Bell yet, but he'd better make runs soon or they might be tempted. @ButWhatDoIKnow I disagree. By declaring the SL XI gave themselves a chance of victory. 360 in 60 is a tough chase, and their bowlers would have got better experience trying to defend it in a competitive situation than their batsmen would playing out a dead afternoon against joke bowling. Good cricket by both captains.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2012, 17:43 GMT)

I remember before the ODI series in India England won both the warm up matches and still lost the 'actual' series 0-5. Don't see any reasons for the result to be different this time. Only one batsman in their team can dominate spinners, and even that guy KP has a known weakness against left arm spin. Go on SL, keep the slate clean , so that after we give them a drubbing at home, they can return with a 0-9 result against all the subcontinent teams combined.

Posted by Herath-UK on (March 22, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

Winning the side games prior to the series is not a good omen;it takes the focus away.Sri Lanka did the same winning tour games though lost in the proper series in England. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by   on (March 22, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

Who cares? 2 match series are pointless.

Posted by Aussiesfalling on (March 22, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

Unlike UAE, England have ensured all their squad, bar Davies, have had a run out in the 2 warm-ups, which must mean that many places were up for grabs. So, quite how Bell can logically be picked ahead of both Patel and Bopara when form thnkfully seems to matter more now to the Andies, must be the conclusion. I would have stuck with Bell had their been no alternatives, but there are.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

If they are going to be flat pitches why not play Tim Bresnan ahead of Bopara and Patel as a bowling all rounder? We know Bresnan can score runs but it if the top order do their job it does mean you have an extra bowler as taking wickets will be hard work.

Posted by ButWhatDoIKnow on (March 22, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

I wonder if an England Development XI would ever declare at 199/4, especially with a young player batting 90 not-out gaining priceless experience?! Practice matches should be afforded to visiting teams to acclimatize to the conditions, and not for handing down "good-form" on a silver platter... 'declaration bowling' or not!! This was a "first class match". But the skipper of the Development XI must have forgotten the fact... Very disappointing!!

Posted by jonesy2 on (March 22, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

strong bowling? england have the weakest bowling in the world. they could do with ellyse perry on their team

Posted by   on (March 22, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

This'd be my 11 - Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bopara, Prior, Patel, Broad, Panesar, Swann, Anderson, with Finn for Broad if not fit. Bells not adapting to the sub-con plus Patel gives an extra bowling option since Ravi's now out on that aspect.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

Hello Vacant_Slip, the match was not against Sri Lankan test team. Therefore do not draw any conclusions based on that and remember that SL Development XI declared in both innings.

Posted by SDHM on (March 22, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

A_Vancant_Slip - you'd hope not for the sake of excitement and interesting cricket. Sri Lanka must have seen how badly England played spin in the UAE and be tempted to prepare a couple of turners, but a few factors may keep them from doing so; the result of the Galle pitch inspection (however ridiculous it was, they won't want another one), the way they played spin themselves on such a track and the fact that their spin attack isn't quite the same quality as Pakistan's (although I think people underrate Herath to be honest) seem to suggest we might get a couple of flat ones. On this actual game, it's good to see the majority of the batting in form; Bell is a worry, but for me he has time to re-establish himself after such a good couple of years. I'm not sure if Patel now goes ahead of Bopara - I doubt England would have used much of his bowling anyway. It does complicates the issue further that they both scored runs though! Just play Bresnan and make it simpler :P

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 22, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

If these warm-up matches are to mean anything, then Patel has made a very strong case for inclusion in the first Test. What more could he have done? Bell, on the other hand, will be lucky to hold on to his place; he failed in the UAE, and has begun his tour in SL showing very much the same lack of form. Flower and Strauss must now be thinking about including Bopara at Bell's expense. Ravi is not everyone's cup of chai, but he does deserve to be allowed the opportunity to show what he can do. So, for me, it's Bopara at 5; Prior at 6; Samit 7; Broad 8; Swann 9; Jimmy 10; Monty 11. Would anyone like to disagree?

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (March 22, 2012, 14:53 GMT)

This is Ok England performance but it proves only that pitch determine result in sub-continent. I think 2 game test match series will be a draw 0-0. No result would be possible if pitches produced are like this one. England would be slight favouites due its strong bowling however.

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Tour Results
Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (PSS) - Apr 3-7, 2012
England won by 8 wickets
Sri Lanka v England at Galle - Mar 26-29, 2012
Sri Lanka won by 75 runs
SLC Dev XI v England XI at Colombo (SSC) - Mar 20-22, 2012
England XI won by 4 wickets
SL Board XI v England XI at Colombo (RPS) - Mar 15-17, 2012
England XI won by an innings and 15 runs
More results »
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