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Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test in Galle
March 26, 2012
Report : Mahela Jayawardene resists England push
News : Sri Lankan fans could be priced out by ticket hike
News : Barmy Army maddened by ticket hike
Matches: Sri Lanka v England at Galle
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Sri Lanka
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 ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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