Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 2nd day April 4, 2012

Openers stand and deliver

Plays of the Day from the second day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England in Colombo

First of the day
There are many statistics that show how difficult it has been for England's batsman in 2012 and another is the fact that when Alastair Cook nudged Rangana Herath off his hip in the 21st over it took him and Andrew Strauss to their first fifty opening stand of the year. They had ended the English season with a brace of good contributions against India - 186 at Edgbaston and 75 at The Oval - and carried this effort past three figures during the final session to lay a solid foundation.

Catch of the day
Kevin Pietersen occasionally attracts attention for the wrong reasons in the field but England were grateful that it was him stationed at a deep-ish mid-on when Suraj Randiv tried to launch Graeme Swann down the ground. Pietersen had to backpedal to keep the catch within range but still needed to be at full stretch to grab hold of the ball and did well to ensue it did not fall out as he rolled on the ground.

Classic dismissal of the day
Graeme Swann was at his best on the second morning, teasing the batsmen with flight and keeping the scoring rate down. He wrapped up the innings with the perfect offspinner's dismissal as the ball spun through the forward defensive push of Suranga Lakmal to hit the stumps. But seeing a ball turn square will not have been the memory England's top order will have wanted to take off the field with them.

Painful throw of the day
Lahriu Thirimanne is having a tough time with the bat but he is excellent under the helmet at short leg. He was close to snapping up a couple of early chances against England's openers but could not quite cling on as he had in the second innings in Galle. What he did not need, though, was a painful blow on the ankle from a team-mate as Cook scampered for a single. The throw flew past the wicketkeeper and clonked Thirimanne below his protective padding, leaving him hopping around in pain.

Unfulfilled innings of the day
Strauss did so much right during his innings and his half-century was greeted by a standing ovation from the England fans. He would not have had time for a hundred on the second evening but he would have been nearing the milestone come the close. But then the chance went begging when he edged a cut against Tillakaratne Dilshan. It was a good innings from Strauss and showed his fighting qualities. They were never in doubt but the century wait continues.

Pre-season training of the day
Back in England the County Championship is set to begin on Thursday and, as if on cue, it has started to snow in parts of the country. Some of England's squad players in Sri Lanka, who haven't had much to do on this trip, will probably slot straight into the second round of matches next week. As the Test was going on, James Tredwell and Steven Davies made use of the net facilities at the P Sara Oval to do some work ahead of the domestic season and were later followed by Monty Panesar and Ravi Bopara. It was certainly a few degrees warmer than the weather their county team-mates will have been experiencing.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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