Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 1st day April 3, 2012

Jayawardene century keeps England at bay

106

Sri Lanka 238 for 6 (Jayawardene 105, Samaraweera 54, Anderson 3-52) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mahela Jayawardene, an understated batsman in a world that long ago surrendered to overstatement, treated England to another gentle batting masterclass with a second successive Test century to ensure Sri Lanka maintained a position close to equilibrium at the close of the first day of the second Test.

Jayawardene exuded calm, recapturing the mood that brought him 180 in the first Test in Galle, with 105 stealthily assembled in more than five hours before Graeme Swann, straightening one from around the wicket, had him lbw, a decision upheld on review, and the slightest rustle of disbelief arose around the P Sara Oval at a rare misjudgement in an unblemished innings.

England dismissed Jayawardene with the second new ball imminent. They took it for the last nine overs and plucked out a sixth wicket when Steven Finn had Mahela's namesake, Prasanna Jayawardene, caught at the wicket.

It was a reward for another disciplined bowling display, in which an increasingly resilient Finn proved he can now share, but the pitch already has a mosaic of cracks and, even allowing for its stultifying lack of pace, there is already ample evidence of uneven bounce and turn for the spinners. That will be enough to keep England's sense of well-being in check.

Four successive Test defeats in Asia have encouraged ever-more defiant noises from England about how they must maintain their energy and trust their attacking instincts. Jayawardene showed them a different route, cajoling the Test gently towards him, displaying the virtues of patience and delicacy as his innings murmured along. He survived a drinks break on 99, removed his helmet to reveal his distinctive black head-covering and then clipped Samit Patel wristily wide of mid-on for his 31st Test century.

James Anderson gave England a flying start with three new-ball wickets in his first five overs, dismissing Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara in successive balls, but Jayawardene flicked the hat-trick ball to the fine leg boundary to get off the mark and, as determinedly as England tried to stem the flow of runs off his legs, settled in for the duration.

It was a sweltering day in Colombo with not as much relief from the gentle sea breezes that had been apparent in Galle; April, the month before the Yala monsoon finally breaks, when wealthier Colombo families head to the hills in search of relief and when to commit to any physical exertion was once regarded as akin to madness.

There was a time in his career when Anderson would have melted into insignificance in such conditions, cursing a slow pitch and the hot, viscous air, but these days he is a connoisseur of fast bowling and once again he rhythmically dismantled Sri Lanka's top order. There was enough inconsistent bounce to sustain him and he caressed the new ball with the recognition that once it softened life would become much more onerous.

England had taken three Sri Lanka wickets for 15 and fewer in Galle and still lost, a statistic that it has been suggested is unique in Test history. It has been the same all winter for England: skilful, disciplined bowling followed by comedic batting. Anderson took his wickets with the air of a bowler who had come to understand that it guaranteed nothing.

Dilshan briefly flared, driving Anderson for successive offside boundaries. But Anderson compensated, yanked his length back a touch, Dilshan dabbled outside off stump and Matt Prior took a neat catch.

Sangakkara fell first ball, just as he had in the first innings in Galle, Anderson producing a perfect line and the edge flying to first slip where Strauss fumbled by his midriff but clawed the rebound back with his left hand. Strauss has entered the Test under the most pressure since he was appointed England's captain three years ago: it was not the day to drop it.

Anderson's third wicket, an ungainly leave-alone from Lahiru Thirimanne, with the decision, this time by the Australian Bruce Oxenford, again upheld on review, fleetingly took his average in his 68th Test below 30 for the first time since his debut summer nine years ago. By the close, it had crept beyond 30 once more, but it was a statistical reminder of his development.

Jayawardene peacefully rebuilt the innings, in partnership with Thilan Samaraweera, but England had a lucky mascot to sustain them. Tim Bresnan, playing his first Test of the winter after England omitted Monty Panesar, has been on the winning side in ten previous Tests and he found a hint of reverse swing to have Samaraweera lbw.

England made good use of the bouncer against Samaraweera, on a lifeless but uneven pitch. He was struck on the side of the helmet by Finn as he ducked a short ball that failed to get up. He looked briefly disorientated and England might have benefited from one of several ill-judged singles when Finn's shy from mid-on could have run him out.

But tension at the end of an unsuccessful winter had been evident in the response of Andy Flower, England's team director, when Samaraweera, on 34, survived a DRS appeal for a catch at short leg as a short ball from Steve Finn struck his thigh pad and found its way to Alastair Cook.

The not-out decision by umpire Asad Rauf was upheld after a lengthy delay, and innumerable replays, by the third umpire, Rod Tucker. There was no concrete evidence to overrule Rauf's decision, however much there might have been suspicions of a hint of glove, but that did not stop Flower visiting the TV umpire's room for an explanation and the cameras caught that, too, with his ill grace apparent.

Flower is not averse to a visit to the umpire's room during play to press his case, although perhaps not as blatantly as his predecessor, Duncan Fletcher, whose psychological gambits can occasionally be of a style that would even make Sir Alex Ferguson take note.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2012, 21:44 GMT

    @ IndnCrktfan on (April 04 2012, 13:47 PM GMT) Problem is that these are such short series and all our batsmen have been mediocre at best but mostly awful throughout the UAE tests and the 1st test and I just think 4 test defeats in a row is too big a price to pay for trying to get the batsmen back into form and surely Monty deserved to start this match more than Bell and KP did if we're going on current form. I suppose it's not nice to drop a batsman but then surely it can't be that nice for Monty either - at least the batsmen can't say why me after I batted so well in UAE

  • StatisticsRocks on April 4, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    @Cannuck: Its funny that you mention as if you read carefully not only in this post but many other posts as well, it's many non-indian fans who like to bring India even when India is not playing. Further we all comment as fans of cricket and then respond to those who take pleasur in bashing us. I am sure u will agree that no one takes as much critic or negative comments as much as Indian cricketers do. It's natural for cricket fans to comment even when their nations are not involved. Take a look at all the comments that were posted by non Indian fans or non-ENG fans when India lost to ENG 4-0. Same when India lost to AUS 4-0, just look at how happy the world was. I am sure you were one of them as well. I can go back and dig those out. Its the case of people living in the glass house throwing stones at others and not expect others to do the same. Why r u not saying the same about other country fans who also have commented here as well. Check and see -ve comments rgrding IPL then tell me

  • StatisticsRocks on April 4, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    @JG: I agree with your comments but IMO Bell is a fantastic player and unfortunately in a short series like this it takes time for players, no matter how good they are, to get adjusted to the conditions. I also agree that KP is dur for a big score or else his position in the team should be questioned.

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (April 04 2012, 04:20 AM GMT) Eng probably wanted to make provisions for the ball turning more that they thought it would on such a track. After dropping Monty you don't want KP to be your 2nd spinning option if Swann is doing something with the ball. Also is Ravi that much better (if at all) than Patel with the bat? All the talent is there but I don't remember him doing it when our backs are against the wall

  • brittop on April 4, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    @Rooboy: yeah shame we've only got Jimmy who couldn't bowl out your lot in the last Ashes, and you're lucky to have Harris, Hilf & Sid who ran through our line up.

  • UN_Jonty on April 4, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    Plat track or whatever Mahela is a master.

  • UN_Jonty on April 4, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    Rangana hereth once again gave his wicket away.When will he learn.He has only one shot,slog over mid-wicket.Please send him no 11 next innings.

  • on April 4, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    In 11 home Tests against England, Jayawardene has scored six centuries and averages 90.66. In ten Tests in England, he averages 34.11.....flat track master....

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on April 4, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Methinks RandyOz doesn't watch a lot of cricket. Certainly not over the last three years...LOL

  • zenboomerang on April 4, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    "If" SL get close to 300 then Eng will need a 400+ to be in control this game... The pitch looks like it will be cracking up by day 3/4, so the best batting will be day 2/3... The green from early day 1 has gone & Eng need to clean up this tail quickly... Just saw Swann get his 3rd wkt so the new ball hasn't help the seamers... Looks like the match is turning into a spinners wrestle...

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2012, 21:44 GMT

    @ IndnCrktfan on (April 04 2012, 13:47 PM GMT) Problem is that these are such short series and all our batsmen have been mediocre at best but mostly awful throughout the UAE tests and the 1st test and I just think 4 test defeats in a row is too big a price to pay for trying to get the batsmen back into form and surely Monty deserved to start this match more than Bell and KP did if we're going on current form. I suppose it's not nice to drop a batsman but then surely it can't be that nice for Monty either - at least the batsmen can't say why me after I batted so well in UAE

  • StatisticsRocks on April 4, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    @Cannuck: Its funny that you mention as if you read carefully not only in this post but many other posts as well, it's many non-indian fans who like to bring India even when India is not playing. Further we all comment as fans of cricket and then respond to those who take pleasur in bashing us. I am sure u will agree that no one takes as much critic or negative comments as much as Indian cricketers do. It's natural for cricket fans to comment even when their nations are not involved. Take a look at all the comments that were posted by non Indian fans or non-ENG fans when India lost to ENG 4-0. Same when India lost to AUS 4-0, just look at how happy the world was. I am sure you were one of them as well. I can go back and dig those out. Its the case of people living in the glass house throwing stones at others and not expect others to do the same. Why r u not saying the same about other country fans who also have commented here as well. Check and see -ve comments rgrding IPL then tell me

  • StatisticsRocks on April 4, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    @JG: I agree with your comments but IMO Bell is a fantastic player and unfortunately in a short series like this it takes time for players, no matter how good they are, to get adjusted to the conditions. I also agree that KP is dur for a big score or else his position in the team should be questioned.

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (April 04 2012, 04:20 AM GMT) Eng probably wanted to make provisions for the ball turning more that they thought it would on such a track. After dropping Monty you don't want KP to be your 2nd spinning option if Swann is doing something with the ball. Also is Ravi that much better (if at all) than Patel with the bat? All the talent is there but I don't remember him doing it when our backs are against the wall

  • brittop on April 4, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    @Rooboy: yeah shame we've only got Jimmy who couldn't bowl out your lot in the last Ashes, and you're lucky to have Harris, Hilf & Sid who ran through our line up.

  • UN_Jonty on April 4, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    Plat track or whatever Mahela is a master.

  • UN_Jonty on April 4, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    Rangana hereth once again gave his wicket away.When will he learn.He has only one shot,slog over mid-wicket.Please send him no 11 next innings.

  • on April 4, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    In 11 home Tests against England, Jayawardene has scored six centuries and averages 90.66. In ten Tests in England, he averages 34.11.....flat track master....

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on April 4, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Methinks RandyOz doesn't watch a lot of cricket. Certainly not over the last three years...LOL

  • zenboomerang on April 4, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    "If" SL get close to 300 then Eng will need a 400+ to be in control this game... The pitch looks like it will be cracking up by day 3/4, so the best batting will be day 2/3... The green from early day 1 has gone & Eng need to clean up this tail quickly... Just saw Swann get his 3rd wkt so the new ball hasn't help the seamers... Looks like the match is turning into a spinners wrestle...

  • zenboomerang on April 4, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    @vivek464... "Why do they call Indian and Sri Lankan tracks flat"... Just bad sports or very weak characters... Sri Lankan pitches aren't anything like most India pitches - usually a bit of grass to help all bowlers... Even the WI pitches have less grass than SL - so their logic doesn't follow... They also aren't "flat", they just don't bouce like most Oz, SA, Eng - so you could call them more even pitches... Re: the batting... Most batsmen will perform better at home [logical when you think about it :) ], look at Eng batters averages for home & away in the last 12 mths which is very stark... These same batsmen folded in the last WI tour in which they lost that series 1-0 over 5 Tests so it is the lack of bounce which unsettles them (that & sweep shots) & Aussies no better...

  • Rooboy on April 4, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    @5wombats - 'There is a huge gulf in class between England bowlers and Aus "bowlers"' - lol. Yes this is clearly indicated by the fact that the bowlers who will likely make up the Aus attack over the next few years, ie Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Harris, Pattinson, Cummins and Lyon, all have better test bowling averages than your boy Jimmy. All bar Lyon have better batting averages too. The fact that Harris has a bowling average about 8(!) runs better than Jimbo, and Pattinson is only about 12 runs per wicket better, really underlines your point. Don't understand the relevance of your comment to CricketFundas about being new here either ... you're not new and are living proof that the quality and intelligence of one's comments is not proportional to their time spent here. Not to worry, I get the feeling we'll be hearing less and less from you over the next few years. The way you gloat is ridiculous ... england's good performances hardly mitigate close to 2 decades of pathetic ineptitude

  • jmcilhinney on April 4, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    @Bruisers, I very much doubt that Patel was suppose to play but was included because he could provide cover for a batsman and a left-arm spinner. Now he is in and doing both. Purely on the basis of batting, I'm sure that they would have preferred Bopara to Patel but Patel can bowl and, because of injury, Bopara can't so that would have raised Patel's stock. They may also have been concerned that Bopara may aggravate the injury, although he's still fielding a bit as 12th man. Purely on the basis of bowling, I'm sure they would have preferred Panesar but Patel can bat and field and Monty's no great shakes at either, so that would have raised Patel's stock too. On balance, I can see why they chose Patel as the best all-around option. If the rest of the batsmen were firing then I'd say Monty would have been in but they want to give themselves as many batting options as possible.

  • Sam_Praveen on April 4, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    Lanka have to score at least 300. This pitch will certainly help the spinners in Day 4 & 5. They will get the advantage of bowling on those days.

  • Lankanforever on April 4, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    @vertical Sri Lankans haven't won a test series outside the subcontinent? You haven't watched much cricket I guess

    1995 New Zealand Tour 1-0 1998 England 1-0 2006 New Zealan 1-0

    I have omitted matches in WI too. This is enough for us in 30 years of Test Cricket

  • cricconnossieur on April 4, 2012, 2:43 GMT

    Jayawardene and Sangakarra are easily among the greatest batsmen playing t0 game today. In fact stats prove that their exploits are even more impressive than Tendulkars, Pontings and Dravids.

  • on April 4, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    Terrific first day of Test cricket. Indian curators should take note of this pitch - provides turn, pace early, and some uneven bounce and movement - great for providing an interesting contest. England used the conditions well, especially Andersen and to some degree Swann (though he didn't reap too much reward for it), and Mahela played a sublime innings to bring up another century. Sri Lanka continue to be the dark horse of the cricket elite - there is some good genuine talent in players like Chandimal, Mathews and Dilshan, as well as an aggressive and courageous leader in Jayawardene. They are still lacking in the bowling department though (especially when it comes to test matches and seaming conditions). It will be interesting to see what happens when England bat, since the pitch has worn and slowed up, which will be advantageous to SL's spinners.

  • naveen1122 on April 3, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    WOW !!! It's almost like a Roebuck's report, and excellent compared to what was presented after the last game. Now the game is in a DEUCE WITH ADVANTAGE ENGLAND.

  • Harry_Kool on April 3, 2012, 23:07 GMT

    @vivek464 . Easy to answer. It's because they either prepare roads or rank turners. The roads don't help any bowler and ther chance of a result is never a reality by any imagination. Runs scored on those tracks merely inflate batting averages and drag down bowling averages. Australia got smashed last time did they? I must have watched another series for the games I saw, India won the first test when their last pair scored an unlikely 50 partnership to scrape over the line and the second test went late into the 5th day. But I guess the just completed series in Australia against India saw us JUST scrape through for close victores in all 4 games and India really did put up a massively impressive dogged effort and put up a seriously strong fight in all games. Ahh the joys of watching cricket with one eye closed!

  • yorkshirematt on April 3, 2012, 22:49 GMT

    Another day of good work from the bowlers. Would like to think the batsmen will back them up for once but can't see it. Need to finish the job of bowling them out first as well. It's game over if SL get close to 300. Funny really, England would be well on top if this was in England, would finish the job off early then bat for two days and rack up 600. just goes to show what "home track bullies" the batsmen really are.

  • SL_BiggestJoke on April 3, 2012, 22:34 GMT

    Why is no one mentioning the spirit of cricket? Looks like the spirit flies away as quickly as Andy Flower runs into either an opposition dressing room or into the umpires area to remonstrate and question their decision... ridiculous.

  • SL_BiggestJoke on April 3, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    Please update the ICC Team rankings!!... why are the stalled on 27th March?!!!

  • EvoRyder21 on April 3, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    Great Innings by Mahela again. Good change in dropping Chandimal. He was never going to survive in a Test Middle order with that kind of attitude in batting. Test match is always about containing pressure and grinding it down. Matthews has showed that he's got the right temperament. Two changes I would have liked to see is Eranga In and Dilshan dropped. On this type of surface the faster bowlers will get some un even bounce and can exploit these conditions. I am not sure of Lakmal is of any use here. Eranga has more pace, height and swing. With Dilshan I think its time for SL selectors to move this reckless person out of the test team of put him in the lower middle order. We keep losing early wickets within the first few overs and the way he plays will be affecting sangakara and hence we can see the effect of that on sanga's batting. Atleast Thirimanne tries hard so maybe worth another chance. I hope Sl selectors dont make the mistakes of indian selectors with keeping Shewag on.

  • on April 3, 2012, 21:58 GMT

    Wow, wombats is back after months of hiding under the covers. Your boys have been getting a beating, no doctored green tops here. Pakistan were a two man bowling attack and Sri Lanka a one man batting team still your boys have come up short. A mediocre team which would have had the shortest reign in world cricket had it not rained in New Zealand. England number one is like saying Panesar is the best batsman in world cricket.

  • shovwar on April 3, 2012, 21:37 GMT

    No matter what u all say I see another defeat for England...They wont be able to close down SL...SL would get another 100 odd runs maybe more on the board with the tail. I am sure SA would have done better in Sub Continents.....They already proved it. Its the results that matter. Not who did what. And SA has better results in overseas even in England.

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    @IndnCrktfan on (April 03 2012, 15:55 PM GMT) Re Bell - Thing is Eng's batting as a whole has been awful and until the last test , he was the only batsmen who hadn't score a 50 in (I Make it) 12 inns inc the warm up matches. Kp has also not scored a 50 in 8 test inns. I'd have made changes or at least a change after the 2nd test vs Pak. 4 test defeats in a row is very poor and if Bell or KP were both underperforming while we were winning matches (a la Cook a few years ago) I'd agree to keep them in there but IMO team results should be far more important than individual form. We don't IMO have much back up in the batting dept but we could easily so a 5//1/5 formation and try and look at outbowling teams rather than outscoring teams. BTW I'd only drop one of the 2 - Bell would be the man and he could be brought back in the next test if necessary so it would be more like resting him than dropping him..

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    @kitten on (April 03 2012, 17:51 PM GMT) Actually I said Bell should go. Patel would give us even more bowling options and although he didn't take any wickets today he bowled tidily and dried the runs up. With Monty (in my particular team) we'd have had Pstel as a 6th bowling option which has got to be better than using KP for a few overs. As I said in other posts , if Monty is not right for a particular pitch , then leave him out and bring him back for the next match or the game after that. I'm cool with that , always have been. On a seaming pitch you don't necessarily need 2 spinners - but why is it that they can't leave a batsman out for one or 2 games to change formation.

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    @Vijit Coomaraswamy on (April 03 2012, 19:31 PM GMT) good balanced comms bud

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @vivek464 on (April 03 2012, 19:49 PM GMT) Mate - it works both ways. Various fans also say about England and possibly Oz being green top bullies , implying that it's easy for our bowlers to take wickets on these pitches and the pitches are doctored so other teams can't score runs on them and so by the same token , if it's that easy to take wickets on why are the opposition teams finding it so hard to take wickets on these pitches and if it was that hard to score runs due to the conditions , why is it that Eng batsmen manage it? I do agree with you that folk do post stats on here which suits their team allegiances alot of the time

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @CricketFundas Don't hold back there. The game's a day old so it's anyone's at the moment.5W was only responding to a guy who he felt was disrespecting one of our players.If Eng don't win the next test then SA are number 1.If we win the test then we're all square.If we don't win the test then I will say well done SA for becoming number 1 but until the Pak series we had a much better record over the past 3 years.If-and I know it's a huge IF-we tie the series then stats will show that we have lost 1 test series (albeit 3-0) in 3 years.Would that be such a bad record for an equal number 1 side to have? BTW I make it that SA are unbeaten in only 7 series , 5 of which were at home and 4 of which were drawn , only beating WI and SL at home and Aus and NZ away - 3 of those results Eng have matched in the last 3 years.NZ we haven't but we haven't played them in that time

  • Cannuck on April 3, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    @IndnCrktfan: As I said my post was for "those" Indians who undermine Mahela every time he is mentioned on cricinfo. Let's be honest here bud, what is the reason you guys comment on articles that is not about INDIA??? We are not even playing against you guys, but you have to bring your country in & compare your players to ours all the time! Check your own post against mine: you are the one whose mentioned names of your players, not me! If that is not insecurity on your part then I don't know what is. All you need to do is read the rest of your countrymen's comment below yours. There are enough INDIANS with too much free time on their hands, commenting here with unwanted garbage. You guys need to get a life or concentrate on your IPL & leave SL players to us. We like them just the way they are, flat track or with an average of 40 outside SL. What we have achieved in 30 years is un-paralel to any other test playing nation. For some it's a hard pill to swallow.

  • vertical on April 3, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    @vivek its called name-calling to enforce an argument.Also a batsman who can play in seaming conditions is considered better like Indians cannot call them seam-track bullies which has a positive connotation.Also subcontinent tracks used to be spin friendly now they are just flat and its assumed any batsman can make runs there(which is kinda true subcontinent batsmen have higher averages from overseas ones with similar capabilities).So don't let them bother you even some lankans were calling Indians flat-track bullies while they have a poor home and overseas record in comparison to India(lankans have never won a series outside the subcontinent and India).Even Pakistan have never won a series in windies while India has done it twice.And no subcontinent team has ever won a series in Australia and SA. PS: England did draw the series under Flintoff remember the mumbai test

  • 5wombats on April 3, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    @CricketFundas on (April 03 2012, 19:41 PM GMT) - South Africa "number 1" - really? Do you mean the team that only just managed to win a home series for the first time in 3 years? Sure - that looks like a top team doesn't it. SA got rolled at home by Australia and Sri Lanka too. Any team that gets rolled at home by an outfit like the current Aussies can't really be taken seriously. @CricketFundas - you are new here. And it shows.

  • vivek464 on April 3, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    I need some help from English and Aussie fans. Why do they call Indian and Sri Lankan tracks flat and any runs scored there by Indian batsmen or Sri Lankan batsmen or Pakistani batsmen as useless. Australia got smashed the last two times(they were in India), and I don't think England has won a test in India for a while. England also got destroyed by Pakistan. Sri Lanka also boasts a healthy record at home. For example, Ricky Ponting (just behind Sachin and Lara and Dravid and Kallis as the best of our generation) averages just 26.08 in India. Just wanted to know.

  • CricketFundas on April 3, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    @5wombats I suggest you lay off the Aussies and focus on the poor state of the English test team mate. England are going down again in this test. That will be five straight losses against sub-continent teams.

    I guess the only icing on the cake (for England) is that England isnt playing India in India next, or else this sorry record would have gotten worse. not that anything is going to change in the abilities of the English batsmen over the year- even if they play in India in Nov/Dec, we'll probably see the same poor performance from the English batsmen.

    South Africa is really the only team that deserves the #1 test mantle at this point. I'm sure even a hardened English fan will agree to that!

  • on April 3, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    I think day one had no winner or loser. England was on top but SL wrestled the advantage back with the partnership of Thilan and Mahela. On the contant comments about England being an overrated at #1, that is nonsense. Like India, they earned it, but then have been struggling to stay on top. Give them a break, staying on top is very hard. We have been used to two very dominant #1 teams, which were the West Indies and Australia. That kind of dominance is not going to happen again for some time.

  • landl47 on April 3, 2012, 19:27 GMT

    Another very good innings by Mahela- he has picked the right time to remind everyone how good he is. Sri Lanka has made good use of winning the toss again and are probably a tad ahead on today's play. If England can get the last 4 wickets cheaply tomorrow they are still in with a shout, but anything over 300 is going to mean a very difficult task ahead. I find it hard to believe that people are suggesting that England should have played Monty instead of Samit. Bresnan has hardly played any cricket recently and to have him coming in at 7 with Finn, Anderson and Panesar at 9, 10 and 11 would have been ridiculous.

  • StatisticsRocks on April 3, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    @MENDIS_Forever: I wonder why that is the case and SL does not get a 5 match series. I believe 2 match series is not the right yard stick. Hionestly I am not sure what the thought process is when it comes to scheduling these test matches. ICC should look into it and make it always a 5-test match series to have a similar frame of reference to rank nations.

  • StatisticsRocks on April 3, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    @Cannuck: No Indian in the right mind would claim pitches in India are fast and pacy. Yes, Indian pitches are slow, flat and turning wickets to give us the home court advantage just like it is in SL. Why do you think we don't produce world class fast bolwers. Only PAK can claim that among the subcontinent nations, as they always produce quality fast bowlers. Yes, Mahela is a great batsmen but 71% of his 31 centuries have come when playing at home. Sachin, Dravid etc. who many have claimed as flat track bullies (including u at some point) have infact scored more than 50% of their centuries outside of India, and mind u those r not agnst minnows. Mahela always scores agnst India, no matter where he plays us, whether in subcontinent or outside. There is no hatred but we r just citing facts. We like Mahela, Sanga, and off course the great Muruli, so don't try to blow this out of proportion. Lets keep it civil and comments to cricket only.

  • 5wombats on April 3, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    @Mervo on (April 03 2012, 12:09 PM GMT). Your post is a joke right? You say; "Anderson who seems to have eventually made the transition, although with a Test average of over 30, he is good, not very good". Anderson had been a permanent fixture in the world top ten Test bowlers for years now. And if Anderson is "not very good" to use your words - what does that say about Australian "bowlers"? There is a huge gulf in class between England bowlers and Aus "bowlers", and you know it. Get your excuses ready mate, you are going to need them.

  • on April 3, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    well said CANNUK, very well said...

  • BustIPL on April 3, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    The quality of England number one test ranking is consistent with the quality of team the had beaten to achieve it. India were highly overrated at that time during the home series where they lost the honors to England. India had veterans in the team plus plucky younsters like kohli. Panesar got his chances as English wanted to utilize arch rivalry factor between India and Pakistan and it worked a little bit. Furthermore, he is a poor batsmen. Patel on the other hand is expected to be better with the bat but his credentials outside the ODIs are not very popular. Patel will be the next man to go after Panesar.

  • kitten on April 3, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly with the comments of @JG2704. If indeed someone had to be dropped then it should have been Patel, and certainly not Monty. Just because he played one bad game, and Swann played well in the second innings, was no reason to drop him. I guess the dropped catches, and all the publicity it received, even though Prior and Anderson dropped some as well, played a role in his omission. Even some of the commentators were baffled that he was omitted, because they all felt that he had outperformed Swann when in the UAE, against Pakistan. However, the deed has been done, and if England don't win this game, we will all know why. The wicket will only get better spinwise, and Swann will have to bear the full burden. Let's hope Strauss, KP and Bell start performing and making this test an interesting one.

  • jb633 on April 3, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Sri Lanka are in such a dominant position here. I think this wicket looks worse than the one at Galle, with uneven bounce coming into play mid way through day 1. England need to wrap up the innings for under 280 if they are to stand any sort of chance. They must, must score big in their 1st innings. Would not fancy chasing anything over 190 in the 4th innings. Great knock again by Mahela, he really is a class above. I love the manner in which he scoes too. So much better to watch than a blaster like Sehwag or Gayle. England have bowled so well all winter, I really do feel they have one of the best attacks going. Can hurt you with conventional swing, reverse, spin and seam. The only problem is this batting line up. Someone needs to stand up and emulate MJ. They need a 1st innings ton. Fact. Still backing SL on this track.

  • on April 3, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    It goes without saying that the DOOSRA cannnot be bowled with legal action and that is shown by history. Saqlain,Ajmal.Murli,Harbhajan and some others who claim to have a variation called doosra have been called for chucking...at one point of time or other and this just shows that bowling doosra cannot be achieved withour bending the rules (read arm).

  • on April 3, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    master class from mahela once again.. but he needs assistance from the other top order batsmen..

  • Herath-UK on April 3, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    Another superlative innings by Mahela given the situation he was brought in. Jimmy has probably become the number one bowler,so impressive even in these testing conditions. Ranil Herath-Kent

  • StatisticsRocks on April 3, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    All those who are questioning Bells inclusion, he is by far the best player of spin in this Eng squad along with Trott. He has shown the right approach towards spin by using his feet. I am sure he will score a century in this match to prove his selection. He is far too good of a player and I hope Eng show some patience and show confidence in him. Later when Eng tour India I am sure he will be their best batsmen as India do not have quality bowlers (both medium pace and spin).

  • Cannuck on April 3, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    To all INDIANS who keep stating that Mahela can't score out side of Sri Lanka: True he averages 63.5 in Sri Lanka. But his best average out side of SL is in INDIA, 62.80. So now what do you say. If you say he only scores on flat tracks, you will have to admit that INDIA has FLAT TRACKS! BTW his total average outside of SL is 40.11, which is not peanuts either. The great Aravinda has an average of 36 outside of SL, & yet most of you criticize Mahela. He has also scored 6 of his 31 centuries against INDIA, which is the second highest against any team (he has 7 against ENG). So no wonder "MOST" of you hate Mahiya passionately. No one hates a bad player. Everyone hates someone good, on top, in form, scared of. By consistently attacking & undermining Mahela, you guys prove that beyond any doubt for us. It's the insecurity in some of you, & it's easy to hate someone else than your own players. For that we thank you & feel sorry for your hatred!

  • MENDIS_Forever on April 3, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    @ IndnCrktfan : A very good comment from u sir.Hats off to u! But I don't think Sri Lanka are that lucky to play a 5 match test series.This is the 30th year of our Test cricket, but we are yet to play a 4 match series.

  • Nampally on April 3, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    The top order of SL failed again. Thanks to Mahela, SL is still in it. If Mathews & the rest of the batting can carry SL to 350, Sl have a fighting chance with the advantage of batting first.The game is interestingly poised with both teams having a good chance to capitalize.At this stage England has a slight advantage. If they can push it with running thru' the last 4 wkts. of SL for <50, then they would have an upper hand.This is a batting wkt. at the moment & will take spin from 4th day onwards. So SL will try to occupy the crease as long as they can on Day 2. England have a strong batting but it remains to be seen which 2 of the top 5 will have patience to stay at the crease & counter the spin Randiv & Herath will be handful with Dilshan adding to the spinners. If Prasad & Lakmal can do what Anderson did for England, then England will be on the backfoot. The first session of Day 2 is crucial to both the teams in terms of match tilting either way.

  • ranga_s on April 3, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    I see lot of people, I guess mainly English supporters are somewhat dissapointed that Panesar is not playing...But I believe England have given them the best chance of winning the test with this team...Even with SL hanging around 238/6 I guess still the game is on par..Provided SL could reach 300 England will need batsmen to score big collectively. If England are to win the game they need to score over 400 runs and get a minimum of 100-125 lead from their 1st Innings. 400 runs on this pitch with this heat takes some batting hence 2 bowling all rounders are very well justified..Unless England really screw up in first innings this match will be a classic test where 300, 425, 400 and about 275 needed on a tough 5th day pitch with turn and bounce...Really look forward for the game...

  • on April 3, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    @Mervo. Anderson's overall average of 30 hides the fact that he had a pretty rough start to international cricket but has been averaging under 25 for the last 3 years. So while its fair to say that his overall career has been merely good, if you're facing him right now he's very good.

  • Bruisers on April 3, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    I don't understand the need of an all-rounder like Samit Patel in this side. You could accommodate a pure batsman instead of him.. Looks like England are running out of good Test batsmen....

  • Supa_SAFFA on April 3, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    Watching this game with some mild interest. Whatever the outcome, it will be a victory for a bunch of South Africans, the only question is which lot.

  • Salil-Mishra on April 3, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Mahela, with all his class is a flop outside. Of his 31 centuries 22 are at home. So, also Ponting: of 41 he has 23 at home. Look at Tendulkar and Dravid - they have more away centuries than centuries scored at home. Tendulkar has 29 away centuries and 22 at home centuries and Dravid has 21 away and 15 at home centuries. Both are way ahead of Ponting and Mahela. And you call them flat track bullies with out realising their exploits on those away juicy pitches of Australia, S. Africa, New Zealand and England.

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    @Meety on (April 03 2012, 04:35 AM GMT) IMO batsmen biased thinking. I think they have this mentality where they will not change the formation under any circumstances. We may go numerous tests where we lose/don't win but then when we win our next test they'll give themselves a pat on the back for staying patient and backing the batsmen and saying they were right all along. I have always been a big fan of the Flower/Strauss regime , but right now I'm starting to doubt them. Not because of losing 4 tests in a row but because they are not prepared to go down all avenues to stop the rot.

  • samincolumbia on April 3, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    Good to see SL batsmen playing so well against swing bowling in their own backyard...lol. They have one good test batsman in Mahela and one good test bowler in Herath. They should thank their stars that they are playing against England who have no clue how to play against spin.

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    @yorkslanka on (April 03 2012, 08:41 AM GMT) Are there sharks and piranha fish as well?

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    @Perera32 on (April 03 2012, 12:39 PM GMT) It's a good job you are so humble and becoming yourself otherwise your comms might seem a little rich

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    @Selassie-I on (April 03 2012, 13:33 PM GMT) I don't totally agree with Patchmaster but I don't totally agree with you either. Bell and KP have been awful in the tests. I was hoping KPs OD form would rub off on his test form but it was not to be. Bell scored a 50 in his last test and probably should have seen the inns out but he didn't and he was unlucky in the last inns. But "the current players, with the exception of patel, have all earned themselves a little time to be out of form" I don't agree with at all. Ok (like Cook) when you're still winning tests but 4 defeats in a row seems too big a price for hoping the batsmen pick up. As said before , if in all those defeats the batsmen were setting big scores which the bowlers were unable to defend - would the bowlers be given that many chances?

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Much depends on tomorrow morning 1st of all. I'd say that if SL get past 300 we have very little chance of winning. If we can restrict them to under 275 , I feel we have a fair chance. Between 275-300 and the game is in the balance. From what I saw today I thought MJ looked a bit streaky but credit to the guy once more. Jimmy will bowl worse than that and get a 5 for.

  • pom_don on April 3, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    @RandyOZ Drop Swann what games have you been looking at over the past few years he is pure class & he can field well & he can bat a bit too....so why drop him in favour of Monty? You wait 'till we meet the Aussies again.....should be fun!

  • rahulcricket007 on April 3, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    @DAVIDC1984 . WELL , MOST OF HIS RUNS IN LAST 12 MONTHS CAME AGAINST POOR INDIAN BOWLING ATTACK .AGAINST QUALITY BOWLING SIDE LIKE PAKISTAN HE FAILED TO MADE 100 RUNS FROM 6 INNINGS .

  • on April 3, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    Mervo, Anderson's average might still be a shade over 30 but over the last three years he's averaged closer to 23. His first few years were pretty hard going but England perservered because they saw his potential. He's about as complete as he can be right now.

  • on April 3, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    Tony Greig should at leasl go through a bit of recent test matches played by Sri Lanka before coming to do commentator's job. He said it was rare to see Sanga getting out first ball. In last 9 innings against world's top opposition SA and England, apart from a single hundred in second innings at Durban in which he was very lucky to be dropped by Boucher's interference with a definite catch he has got out very early and very cheaply on numerous occasions. Same is true for Dilshan who has fared miserably as a test opener. But the local commentator does not want to utter a word about that for obvious reasons. As I pointed out in my pre match comments now in 9 consecutive innings we are 3 down for nothing. Those responsible for such performances retain their places in the team due to media hype behind them and by ODI performances which have nothing to do with test cricket. In the end poor Chandimal becomes a victim. I am sorry to say, Mahela you are also responsible for this.

  • on April 3, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    Regardless of our batting problems I think there can be no doubt that James Anderson is a seriously class bowler these days, in all conditions. Currently only Dale Steyn and possibly Vernon Philander (you can't go against those stats) are better.

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    I'd say that that's a fairly even day's play in the end, with the start and end to England and the middle to SL. Another lovely innings from MJ, who is in some really good form at the moment, with his ODI performances in Australia and now two hundreds here. Of all the people to give a let off he was not the one, but at least it didn't cost England as much as last time. I'm a bit ambivalent about Monty being dropped. Quite a few people said that England shouldn't play two spinners in Galle either. If they were only going to play one front-line spinner then it was always going to be Swann. Yes, Monty bowled well in UAE but the figures suggest that, had they bowled an equal number of overs, Swann may well have taken more wickets anyway. He did in Galle. If England had batted first they may well have missed him in the fourth innings but batting last they may be glad they went with the a better batsmen. Then again, the batting could fold again and it won't matter a jot.

  • mikey76 on April 3, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    ....and how you can say Panesar is the best spinner is beyond me. The facts just dont bear it out. Swann has 172 wickets in 41 tests at 28. In anyones book they are superb figures for an orthodox finger spinner who doesnt posses a doosra. He bagged a six -for in the last match so I dont really disagree with Monty's dropping, he needs to learn changes of pace and improve his cricket brain, something Swann has in spades.

  • mikey76 on April 3, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    Another fine bowling display by England on what looks to be a pretty flat deck. Jayawardene is almost Bradmanesque in home conditions so its just as well we've been keeping Sanga quiet. If the batsmen dont back up the bowlers again then I think Jimmy and co have every right to line them up and throw rotten tomatoes at them. If we could unlock the key to batting in the sub-continent we would have one hell of a side, but as it stands we wont go beyond also rans. Gooch and Flower have some work to do.

  • Jazman on April 3, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    @Atifkhan3489. Technically, England have already lost their No1 spot. The only way they can retain it, is by winning the test. Not even a draw will salvage.

  • rahulcricket007 on April 3, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL FLOWER TO STOP VISITING TV UMPIRE 'S ROOM FOR SOME SMALL MISTAKES . HE DID THIS IN DUBAI TOO WHEN THERE WAS DOUBT OVER STRAUSS DISMISSAL IN FIRST TEST . ALSO GOES TO REQUEST TO DHONI TO WITHDRAW THE RUN OUT APPEAL OF BELL .

  • nickydude on April 3, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Initially, thought, was watching highlights of the first test, seriously! Ha Ha

  • Selassie-I on April 3, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    @ Patchmaster - "WHy have we picked Bell and KP - the two most under performing batsmen in Test Cricket in the last year or so" I think you missed out on Bells average of 118 last year and KPs of 73, not exactly underperforming. the current players, with the exception of patel, have all earned themselves a little time to be out of form. Strauss is a bit worrying now but to be honest the only people who seem to be calling for his head are the press, i've not seen to many fans out for him. Hopefully Cookie can get a daddy in this match and put us in witha chance of winning. I am fed up of this horrible dissapointment, at least 10/15 years ago we knew that we were going to be rubbish.

  • on April 3, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    Mahela ! The century of classy batting which came on excact time where it is very badly needed by the team and Angelo proves that his selcetion is very worthy and this is undoutedly sensible knock. slight dissappontment that Snaga could not able to retain in the crease little longer.

  • StatisticsRocks on April 3, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    Once again Eng took 3 early wickets and then came Mahela. Back-to- back centuries for Mahela. Such a Great Player. He has always tormented us be it Test Match or ODI. Now it seems captiancy has not affected his batting at all. Well done Sir. I am confident that Bell and Trott will score centuries and will make this a game. I wish this was a 5 test match series.

  • RandyOZ on April 3, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    @JG2704 - I totally agree. Monty was unrightfully dumped after just ONE bad game yet somehow Bell and Swann get multiple chances? How is that possible? This smells exactly like the favouritism policies that have plagued Oz until recently - see Mitch, north and Haddin........@satish619chandar - could not agree more. Dropping Chandimal was an utterly stupid idea. The guy is a future star, and at least 10 year players, and should get a game at every chance. His performances in the ODI series in Oz were amazing.

  • davidc1984 on April 3, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Patchmaster - Ian Bell averages 63 for the last 12 months, with four centuries (including a double century five matches ago). If that's under-performing...

  • popped on April 3, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    methinks that the SL selectors & eng both got it wrong here , monty should have been picked in place of patel because there are enough batters with bresnan playing and SL made a major blunder by not playing chandimal, yes he wasnt patient enough but he is a terrific fielder and he can open ,and what has dilshan & thirimanne contributed?? one of those should have been dropped , but a good day of test cricket nevertherless

  • on April 3, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Mahela.....You Beauty....Most of the hundreds of yours came when the team needed you the most...Brilliant player...Congrats Mahela.

  • Perera32 on April 3, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Well played Mahela. Bob Willis and some other commentators said Samaraweera cannot play FAST BOWLING. He got 2 hundreds vs SA in SA against Steyn, Morkel ect about 3 months ago. I also didn't like the way the Sky Commentators made fun of the Sri lankans after Mahela did an Honest interview about how they did in the 1st day. He must've been exhausted after that innings and was nice enough to do an interview for them, but I guess Bob Willis has dementia or something. Also well done to Jimmy and Finn.

  • on April 3, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    With all due respect to DPMD Jayawardene , his test batting average outside of Asia is very ordinary.He has an ordinary average against the best teams, namely South Africa and Australia.

  • on April 3, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Jaya as usual is back in form in Lanka..22 hundreds out of 31 in Lanka....Imagine that....

  • Spelele on April 3, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Very poor bowling from ENG after they had Srilanka 3 down for not too many. They got a chance to bowl first on a green-top sort of wicket, but failed dismally. There sure won't be any green on the pitch to work with in the second innings.........Where are all the naysayers who were criticizing the selection of Mathews? But for his intervention, Srilanka might well have been bowled out today. If Srilanka hang on for any score over 300 (they should do so if Mathews is still out there), then I don't think that England can win this. They can, at best, hope for a draw. I don't see Sangakara failing again in the second innings. With a longish tail, England will be bowled out pretty cheaply (a familiar site this season) in their first innings. Batting last will also be a HUGE challenge on this pitch which is already showing signs of uneven bounce. Hoping for a really good game here.

  • nzcricket174 on April 3, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Can't believe Monty is not playing!

  • on April 3, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Both Mahela and Sachin are good players anywhere. If at all SL should have dropped Thirmanne and moved Sangarkar to open as he is not keeping wickets. Chandimal shouls have played plus Matthews. Could have thought of another spinner - maybe Ajantha Mendis?

  • loki897 on April 3, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Another Mahela master class innings. Wished Thilan and P Jaywardene score centuries as well. Sri Lanka need an opener who's natural game is to bat out the whole innings not like at Thrimane. You could see Warner-Cowan partnership at work. Sri Lanka batsman to support Mahela. Matthews and Randiv can be dangerous to England and hope that partnership last until 320-7.

    Well done Mahela Jaywardene!

  • Mervo on April 3, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    I am always concerned about how poor Swann is on wickets that should really suit him. In India, Sl and Australia. He is not yet a world class bowler. Unlike Anderson who seems to have eventually made the transition, although with a Test average of over 30, he is good, not very good. Mahela was, however, great, as usual.

  • ShreJ on April 3, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    i must admit...despite being indian i see jayawardene as one of the TRUE best batsmen in the world. especially with his habit of scoring hundreds when the team needs it. Its only my view though

  • randikaayya on April 3, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    @Venki_indian: Also at Lords in 2005, a masterful second innings Hundred that staged the greatest rearguard seen in tests! Now focus on your IPL

  • Black_Rider on April 3, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    Mahela.....You Beauty....Most of the hundreds of yours came when the team needed you the most...Brilliant player...Congrats Mahela....@Venki_indian:::Jealous...

  • on April 3, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    @Venki_indian.....yes it may be...but it's worth than tendulkar's selfish hundreds...

  • maddy20 on April 3, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    Dropping Monty was a ridiculous decision. They should have dropped Samit Patel if they wanted to bring in Bresnan whose medium pace is more or less useless on subcontinental wickets. England have dug their own grave here and I predict that they will lose by an innings!

  • on April 3, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    mahela once again on the rescue act

  • yorkslanka on April 3, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    I am disappointed that prasad was picked ahead of eranga for us, and as I have said before, what is the big hurry to get mathews back into the team?Heaven forbid that he gets enough time to recover from an injury properly...

  • yorkslanka on April 3, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    as a SL supporter, i have to agree with JG2704, Monty's bowling would have been useful but then again what's new?Monty always seems to get less chances thatn other and I think that's down to his poor fielding...as for swimming back home..good luck, rough seas around our islan nation- or is that the point?lol...

  • Patchmaster on April 3, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Patel must feel pretty lucky to be selected in ANY test match ! Great to se Bressy back. WHy have we picked Bell and KP - the two most under performing batsmen in Test Cricket in the last year or so.

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    Again , England selectors lacking ambition in their selection. Surely you have to play the side which gives you the greatest chance of bowling a side out twice in these circumstances even if it weakens the batting somewhat. It is surely better to lose going flat out for the win than to play this safety first formation which has failed 4 tests in a row so hasn't turned out to be at all safe anyway.I'm not against them dropping Monty if they'd tried dropping one of our out of form batsmen first but it almost seems to me that they've waited for Monty to have a game where he has looked unthreatening and a game where Swann has suddenly looked good again to justify dropping Monty after all he did in UAE. Sorry but I'm a little sickened and if Eng don't win then the batsmen should be made to return from tour on a rubber dinghy and Flower/Strauss and whoever choses the team should be made to swim back and take their chances

  • on April 3, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    According to selectors....Reckless chandimal being droped after scoring 27 & 31 in the first match...So what is the basis of selecting Dilshan & Thirimanne...So can not we say that reckless brand to Sanga also....So selectors paid the penalty straight way...another reckless display by first three...Why can not they play chandimal as a opner..he is a genuine opner who drfted into middle order due to circumstatnces...For me..Shamindra Eranga is the number one fast bowler we are having...So it is unfortunate the way he has been left out for Mr.De mels buddy useless Lakmal..It is fair to give at least one chance to dhammika Prasad since he had not been named for the Asia cup by saying " Dhammika needs to be rested becase he need a break before tsts against England".

  • satish619chandar on April 3, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    So sad to see Chandimal and Panesar dropped.. Now way i would have dropped Chandimal who showed good temperament in all the games he played from SA to include Mathews as a batsman.. Surely would have continued with the winning team and allowed Mathews more rest.. And, Swann though took 6-for last game, is not that effective against right handers which Panesar can do.. You don't need all rounder like Swann at 9 always.. Why can't they drop Patel and include Panesar with Bresnan at 7, Swann at 8, Finn, Anderson and Panesar to follow..

  • on April 3, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Why Matthews for Chandimal when Matthews can't bowl? Am not sure Prasad is ideal - aren't there any other fast bowlers?

  • jasif on April 3, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    disappointed on monty being dropped. he is the best spinner england have

  • on April 3, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    what happen to ravi bopara ,he has more skill compared to patel,why they didnt take bopara

  • priceless1 on April 3, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    Mathiews is not a Test match type player

  • Atifkhan3489 on April 3, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    England have chosen their best X1 but their batting in asia is not upto the standards.slow turning pitches which are very helpful to spinners creat problems and they will lose no 1 spot soon

  • Meety on April 3, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    The side England have selected means there is a lot of pressure on the specialist batsmen to perform. Also lots of pressure on patel & Bresnan to score runs. Time will tell - IMO its muddled thinking.

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  • Meety on April 3, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    The side England have selected means there is a lot of pressure on the specialist batsmen to perform. Also lots of pressure on patel & Bresnan to score runs. Time will tell - IMO its muddled thinking.

  • Atifkhan3489 on April 3, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    England have chosen their best X1 but their batting in asia is not upto the standards.slow turning pitches which are very helpful to spinners creat problems and they will lose no 1 spot soon

  • priceless1 on April 3, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    Mathiews is not a Test match type player

  • on April 3, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    what happen to ravi bopara ,he has more skill compared to patel,why they didnt take bopara

  • jasif on April 3, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    disappointed on monty being dropped. he is the best spinner england have

  • on April 3, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Why Matthews for Chandimal when Matthews can't bowl? Am not sure Prasad is ideal - aren't there any other fast bowlers?

  • satish619chandar on April 3, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    So sad to see Chandimal and Panesar dropped.. Now way i would have dropped Chandimal who showed good temperament in all the games he played from SA to include Mathews as a batsman.. Surely would have continued with the winning team and allowed Mathews more rest.. And, Swann though took 6-for last game, is not that effective against right handers which Panesar can do.. You don't need all rounder like Swann at 9 always.. Why can't they drop Patel and include Panesar with Bresnan at 7, Swann at 8, Finn, Anderson and Panesar to follow..

  • on April 3, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    According to selectors....Reckless chandimal being droped after scoring 27 & 31 in the first match...So what is the basis of selecting Dilshan & Thirimanne...So can not we say that reckless brand to Sanga also....So selectors paid the penalty straight way...another reckless display by first three...Why can not they play chandimal as a opner..he is a genuine opner who drfted into middle order due to circumstatnces...For me..Shamindra Eranga is the number one fast bowler we are having...So it is unfortunate the way he has been left out for Mr.De mels buddy useless Lakmal..It is fair to give at least one chance to dhammika Prasad since he had not been named for the Asia cup by saying " Dhammika needs to be rested becase he need a break before tsts against England".

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    Again , England selectors lacking ambition in their selection. Surely you have to play the side which gives you the greatest chance of bowling a side out twice in these circumstances even if it weakens the batting somewhat. It is surely better to lose going flat out for the win than to play this safety first formation which has failed 4 tests in a row so hasn't turned out to be at all safe anyway.I'm not against them dropping Monty if they'd tried dropping one of our out of form batsmen first but it almost seems to me that they've waited for Monty to have a game where he has looked unthreatening and a game where Swann has suddenly looked good again to justify dropping Monty after all he did in UAE. Sorry but I'm a little sickened and if Eng don't win then the batsmen should be made to return from tour on a rubber dinghy and Flower/Strauss and whoever choses the team should be made to swim back and take their chances

  • Patchmaster on April 3, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Patel must feel pretty lucky to be selected in ANY test match ! Great to se Bressy back. WHy have we picked Bell and KP - the two most under performing batsmen in Test Cricket in the last year or so.