Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Galle, 1st day March 26, 2012

Anderson's milestone on sell-out day

Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test in Galle

Record of the day
Now a complete Test bowler, James Anderson became the sixth England cricketer to reach 250 Test wickets when he had Lahiru Thirimanne caught at second slip in the third over of the match. Next ball he added No. 251 when Kumar Sangakkara played loosely and later trapped Prasanna Jayawardene lbw to go level with the most famous Lancashire fast bowler, Brian Statham, on 252 Test wickets. Anderson should have quite a few years ahead of him in Test cricket and can become the fourth Englishman to reach 300 scalps after Fred Trueman, Bob Willis and Ian Botham.

Touch of the day
Another wicket also had Anderson's name attached to it when he got a fingertip on Mahela Jayawardene's straight drive shortly after lunch to deflect it into Thilan Samaraweera's stumps at the non-striker's end. It is an awful way for a batsman to be dismissed, but there is a school of thought that perhaps players are becoming lazy with the way they back up especially with the speed the ball races of the bat these days. Clearly, though, it wasn't Samaraweera's day.

Statement of the day
Mahela Jayawardene was a class apart in Sri Lanka's batting. He is one of the most elegant and graceful batsmen to have played the game and times the ball with barely a push, yet he isn't afraid to take the attack to the bowlers when he feels the time is right. His slog-sweep for six off Graeme Swann's third ball was a shot of intent, both to try and wrestle some initiative off England and also to target a slightly under-pressure bowler. There is just the odd murmur developing about how untouchable Swann is as England's No. 1 spinner and Jayawardene was determined not to let him settle.

Drop(s) of the day
Just when things were looking up for Monty Panesar, he gave people a reminder of his fielding reputation of old. Twice in the space of six balls he gave Jayawardene lives with catches that should be swallowed at Test level. The first was a hook off Anderson which Panesar spotted early at long leg but his hands were in no position and the ball burst through. In the next over, from Stuart Broad, Jayawardene tried to drive and gave Panesar another chance at mid-on. This time the drop was worse because he was completely steady under the catch. The bowlers were fuming, but at the end of the over Matt Prior offered a consoling pat on the backside.

Sell-out of the day
The stadium was full for the opening day, with mostly England fans, but talk of a mass exodus over ticket prices did not materialise. There were plenty of England supporters on the ramparts of the Fort, but with the ground officially a sell-out that was a necessary alternative spot to watch the action. There were not many locals, although more did filter in during the day and a lively atmosphere bubbled up with music playing and trumpets sounding. Sri Lanka Cricket got their wish of making as much money as they could.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on March 27, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge - hmm "high standards"? Where does Patel come into this? LOL!

  • John on March 27, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    @landl47 on I suppose the consolation is that those drops were late in the day. Had they happened when MJ was early in his inns it would have felt a whole lot worse@Shan156 on Was it MJ who Jimmy dropped off Swann - albeit a hard chance? I think Monty is worth is place in the side for his bowling alone even if he's a liability in the field. To me a guy who takes more wickets in 2 matches than any of the other bowlers (and decent bowlers at that) did in 3 is worth his place

  • Andrew on March 27, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    @landl47 - ahh England, the land of Phil Tuffnell & Monty! LOL! == == == I actually don't know why Monty drops so many catches, he has the longest fingers in world cricket!!!!

  • John on March 26, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    @landl47 on (March 26 2012, 13:26 PM GMT) I suppose the consolation is that those drops were late in the day. Had they happened when MJ was early in his inns it would have felt a whole lot worse

  • j on March 26, 2012, 19:45 GMT

    Time and again Anderson proves lethal on flat dry pitches. His lethality on flat decks as well as green tops is beyond reproach. As for Monty's dropped catches: It's a given that England, the best fielding side in the world, have persisted with Panesar for his bowling only, and rightly so, and have long sought to hide him in the field. But to drop two skiers that would have seen Sri Lanka dismissed for under 250 is criminal. With standards in the side the highest in the world, Panesar has severely damaged his reputation in the side today. And I've been a Monty fan for years.

  • Jem on March 26, 2012, 19:45 GMT

    @TATTUS - can I suggest you look at the Cricinfo stats before making such comments. In India, Anderson has a Test bowling average of 29.30, better than his career average and better incidentally than Zaheer Khan's average in his home Tests in India of 34.42. He bowled exceptionally well against Pakistan in the UAE without much luck though his average at 27.66 was still better than his career average. It's too early to judge him in Sri Lanka though 3-56 is not a bad start, especially as his own drop and Monty's comical effort cost him a well-deserved 5-for. The author here, Andrew McGlashan states that Anderson is NOW a complete bowler and his stats of 190 wickets at 27.43 in the past 4 years back that statement up. He has responded to every challenge thrown at him in that time (remember how the Aussies said he couldn't bowl there with a Kookaburra ball?) and I'll back to continue to do that in this series. Personally, I just wish he'd lose the temper and be more of a gentleman!

  • Johnathon on March 26, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    I'm amazed. Was thinking the SLC was crazy to be charging such a high price, but it actually worked in their favor. I just hope they don't become money crazed like the BCCI. The last thing ICC needs is another BCCI

  • Philip on March 26, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Sell out day. Premium rates for tickets. I hope the money actually goes back in to cricket. Monty never lets us down does he. Always true to his nature. Excellent innings by Mahela. The benchmark that he has set as a captain and run getter is awesome. Anderson has been a consistent performer for England and needs to be respected.SL are short by 50 runs at the moment. Any score over 340 will be a good challenge.

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    Shane Warne had a very mediocre record in India so I suppose he was never a complete test bowler? Come TATTU credit where credit is due, he's just taken 250 wickets, he's the second best fast bowler in world cricket and leads the attack for the current number one side in the world....

  • joel on March 26, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    Absolute quality player , he just gets on with it . Theres no need for him to shout his mouth off , his stats speak for themselves . Your up there with the best now jimmy , keep going lad . Bothams record is in sight .

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