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
39

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on April 5, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    @grizzle on (April 05 2012, 00:35 AM GMT) Fair play to you for your honesty and even though you - for whatever reason - want us to lose , you are giving us some credit for when we do play well

  • 5wombats on April 5, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (April 05 2012, 02:57 AM GMT) - absolutely right. Win or lose - if people were not able to enjoy and appreciate the 3 Tests in the UAE and the 1st Test @Galle and now this one - then they really have no business commenting at all. In our experience, win or lose there are no "bad" or "boring" Test matches. Can't say the same for some of the people who post comments on here though.

  • NaniIndCri on April 5, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    @brittop , hope that is the tactic. At least you make a relevant comment to what I wrote.

    @A_Vacant_Slip read your comment once again and you'll see who is more desperate

    @Riingo "You need not tell me what to watch, this is an open forum and every one can express their feelings. I got bored of this test match and that is what I wrote if you felt very exited by the day's play you can write that." - this is what I already wrote in reply.

  • jmcilhinney on April 5, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    @vk6848, I agree that Chandimal is almost certainly a future cornerstone for SL and really does need to be in the team. That said, you can't really fault Matthews effort in the first innings, which also showed the maturity missing from Chandimal's efforts last match. I guess most SL fans think that it should have been Thirimanne who was left out for Matthews rather than Chandimal, but then who opens the batting? Surely not Jayawardene. His doing so in ODIs is one thing but he's doing so well at #4 in Tests that I'm not sure you'd want to tinker with that.

  • vk6848 on April 5, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    It is nice to see England fighting back; going slow does not matter in this relatively low scoring game. Swan is flying again too, and an SL loss looks most likely to me. SL 'selectors' have done their bit too-- leaving out Chandimal who is the only future prospect for SL is unbelievable. But Englishmen, don't bank on Bresnan's winning record; apparently SL have won the last 4 matches where Sangakkara made a duck- he made another special one here!

  • jmcilhinney on April 5, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    I have to agree that anyone who thought that that day's play was boring simply isn't a Test cricket fan and shouldn't be watching in the first place. If you want excitement then Test cricket is not the game to watch. They can be exciting but generally only towards the end. Interesting, absorbing, enthralling and the like are more the words I'd use to describe Test cricket. It's kinda stupid to criticise England for scoring slowly when they'd have been roundly criticised for attacking and getting out. England's main objective is to not get out. If they do that and continue to pick up singles and put away the bad ball then they'll end up with a big lead and enough time to bowl SL out. They are very definitely not playing for a draw. England have batted themselves into collectively poor batting form and they are not going to get out of that by trying to score at 4 an over. They need to bat sensibly and that's just what they're doing. As an England fan, I'd say their approach is perfect.

  • on April 5, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Lords.Emsworth - I agree with you. I did not refer to Chandimal because in early part of the career this can happen. I guess even Brian Lara was overlooked after scoring 40 odd on debut if my memory is correct. Thilan was also left out of playing XI after averaging close to hundred in the early part of his career when Aravinda De Silva was recalled for the England tour.

  • grizzle on April 5, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    Well done England! As an Indian fan, I am cheering for Sri Lanka in the (vain?) hope that another loss in the subcontinent will demoralize England somewhat ahead of their Indian tour, but the England team will just not stay down. Good for them! I only wish the Indian cricket team would learn from the English, and not just about bowling.

  • aracer on April 5, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    To the Monty fans - I'm one as well - what you have to realise is there is more than just bowling performance to consider. I presume nobody is suggesting dropping Anderson or Finn? In which case Monty playing would result in a tail of Anderson, Finn, Monty - given how important tail end runs have been this winter, that seems very frail. Though I suspect the bigger reason behind him being dropped is his fielding performance in the last test - arguably he lost us it by dropping catches, whereas Swann is one of our best fielders. Of course you should select a bowler primarily for his bowling, but in the modern game you also have to select a balanced side for all aspects of the game.

  • Lord.emsworth on April 4, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Priyantha Gunaratna hits the nail on its head with his comments about the SL openers and Sangakarra and Thilan. Sangakarra especially has made it a habit to let down the side in the first or second test (Here its just 2 tests) only to come back and make a good score in the third when SL have already lost a series and there is nothing to play for. How Thirimanne made it as a Test opener is beyond me. Surely, surely, Tharanga is a better opener? If Thilan is victimized then so is young Chandimal....The poor lad is left out for been a consistent and attacking batsmen!

  • JG2704 on April 5, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    @grizzle on (April 05 2012, 00:35 AM GMT) Fair play to you for your honesty and even though you - for whatever reason - want us to lose , you are giving us some credit for when we do play well

  • 5wombats on April 5, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (April 05 2012, 02:57 AM GMT) - absolutely right. Win or lose - if people were not able to enjoy and appreciate the 3 Tests in the UAE and the 1st Test @Galle and now this one - then they really have no business commenting at all. In our experience, win or lose there are no "bad" or "boring" Test matches. Can't say the same for some of the people who post comments on here though.

  • NaniIndCri on April 5, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    @brittop , hope that is the tactic. At least you make a relevant comment to what I wrote.

    @A_Vacant_Slip read your comment once again and you'll see who is more desperate

    @Riingo "You need not tell me what to watch, this is an open forum and every one can express their feelings. I got bored of this test match and that is what I wrote if you felt very exited by the day's play you can write that." - this is what I already wrote in reply.

  • jmcilhinney on April 5, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    @vk6848, I agree that Chandimal is almost certainly a future cornerstone for SL and really does need to be in the team. That said, you can't really fault Matthews effort in the first innings, which also showed the maturity missing from Chandimal's efforts last match. I guess most SL fans think that it should have been Thirimanne who was left out for Matthews rather than Chandimal, but then who opens the batting? Surely not Jayawardene. His doing so in ODIs is one thing but he's doing so well at #4 in Tests that I'm not sure you'd want to tinker with that.

  • vk6848 on April 5, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    It is nice to see England fighting back; going slow does not matter in this relatively low scoring game. Swan is flying again too, and an SL loss looks most likely to me. SL 'selectors' have done their bit too-- leaving out Chandimal who is the only future prospect for SL is unbelievable. But Englishmen, don't bank on Bresnan's winning record; apparently SL have won the last 4 matches where Sangakkara made a duck- he made another special one here!

  • jmcilhinney on April 5, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    I have to agree that anyone who thought that that day's play was boring simply isn't a Test cricket fan and shouldn't be watching in the first place. If you want excitement then Test cricket is not the game to watch. They can be exciting but generally only towards the end. Interesting, absorbing, enthralling and the like are more the words I'd use to describe Test cricket. It's kinda stupid to criticise England for scoring slowly when they'd have been roundly criticised for attacking and getting out. England's main objective is to not get out. If they do that and continue to pick up singles and put away the bad ball then they'll end up with a big lead and enough time to bowl SL out. They are very definitely not playing for a draw. England have batted themselves into collectively poor batting form and they are not going to get out of that by trying to score at 4 an over. They need to bat sensibly and that's just what they're doing. As an England fan, I'd say their approach is perfect.

  • on April 5, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Lords.Emsworth - I agree with you. I did not refer to Chandimal because in early part of the career this can happen. I guess even Brian Lara was overlooked after scoring 40 odd on debut if my memory is correct. Thilan was also left out of playing XI after averaging close to hundred in the early part of his career when Aravinda De Silva was recalled for the England tour.

  • grizzle on April 5, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    Well done England! As an Indian fan, I am cheering for Sri Lanka in the (vain?) hope that another loss in the subcontinent will demoralize England somewhat ahead of their Indian tour, but the England team will just not stay down. Good for them! I only wish the Indian cricket team would learn from the English, and not just about bowling.

  • aracer on April 5, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    To the Monty fans - I'm one as well - what you have to realise is there is more than just bowling performance to consider. I presume nobody is suggesting dropping Anderson or Finn? In which case Monty playing would result in a tail of Anderson, Finn, Monty - given how important tail end runs have been this winter, that seems very frail. Though I suspect the bigger reason behind him being dropped is his fielding performance in the last test - arguably he lost us it by dropping catches, whereas Swann is one of our best fielders. Of course you should select a bowler primarily for his bowling, but in the modern game you also have to select a balanced side for all aspects of the game.

  • Lord.emsworth on April 4, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Priyantha Gunaratna hits the nail on its head with his comments about the SL openers and Sangakarra and Thilan. Sangakarra especially has made it a habit to let down the side in the first or second test (Here its just 2 tests) only to come back and make a good score in the third when SL have already lost a series and there is nothing to play for. How Thirimanne made it as a Test opener is beyond me. Surely, surely, Tharanga is a better opener? If Thilan is victimized then so is young Chandimal....The poor lad is left out for been a consistent and attacking batsmen!

  • Test-is-the-best on April 4, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    Still long way to go. But England holds the edge after 2nd days play.It seems the pitch is still so good to bat on. Lack of bounce & pace would not be favour on bowlers. Credit should goes to execellent bowling performance by Anderson on these wickets.

  • brittop on April 4, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    @NamiIndCri: Don't believe England are trying to draw. Tactic is to bat once and bowl SL out again, and there's plenty of time to do that. They can be more aggressive if they do get into a good lead. Also, I don't think many England fans were thinking we were as good as the WI and Oz teams you mention. Some media guys started talking about the possibility, but it's their jobs to write stuff.

  • A_Vacant_Slip on April 4, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    @NaniIndCri on (April 04 2012, 20:55 PM GMT) - funny comment. No England follower here on cricinfo EVER compare current England team to great West Indies team or Australia 1995-2005. Only people who do this are India fan so that they can then ridicule England. This only show how desperate India fan are. Here finally (oh my God, finally....!) England batting showing that they can adapt. It has taken far too long, but finally England showing they are not complete bunny Vs spin. This can only be a big bad sign for India. Trouble is brewing for India now. England have shown many times that they can bowl team out twice on any surface. They will bowl India out in India no doubting it. Sri Lanka and Pakistan both have better bowler than India. In fact - India don't really have any bowler at all, certainly no-one like Herath or Ajmal. There is some hope for the future then as when England beat India in India Test the India fan like maddy20 might finally be quiet. Well, maybe.

  • The_bowlers_Holding on April 4, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    @NaniIndCri: This is a test match and they are played over 5 days, if you want men in nice shiny costumes with fanfare and a parade of legends with stat after stat saying how they are living gods then watch the IPL. I will happily watch a match between 2 test nations with careful batting on a gradually deteriorating pitch, where judgement and tactics are paramount , this is what makes test cricket the very best of sporting contests, if you don't like it don't watch it as your team isn't playing.

  • on April 4, 2012, 21:14 GMT

    Well said ZsZs!! You have used the exact terms that should be used.

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2012, 20:58 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (April 04 2012, 12:35 PM GMT) I too am pleased that Swann has now delivered a couple of inns in a row and like you , I always had a certain amount of faith in him. However the truth is that Monty has outbowled Swann for much of the tour and I wonder what Monty might have done. To me , it seemed that Eng wanted to find a way to revert to a 3 paceman attack and as they were loathed to go against the batters union and make a tactical change at the expense of an underperforming batsman , the only way was to drop a spinner and it seems to me that they felt wrong about Swann being the man to make way and then as soon as Monty doesn't take wkts he's out? Glad we're on top in this test but on the down side - if we win I feel we'll keep playing the same formation and I truly believe with the players we have 5/1/5 would be our best formation. I know we may still have lost 4 in a row but I strongly believe we'd have won 2 or 3 of those tests with 5/1/5

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    @Spelele on (April 04 2012, 13:22 PM GMT) Maybe when you write a balanced comment we'll take you a little more seriously. Since SA's last defeat (as I have posted before) they have played 7 series - 5 of which has been at home - drawn 4 and only won 3 of them and the only series they won by more than a solitary test was vs West Indies where they won a 4 test series 2-0. So that would suggest they are not exactly steamrolling sides the way you like to put it. The pitch is slow scoring and even SL scored at less than 2.5 and it's their conditions. I'm not going to slate SA just because one of their fans keeps hissy fitting on here but the stats don't back up your bold claims. And if this is/was so boring , why watch/comment on it? The last sentence also applies to NaniIndCr

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2012, 20:56 GMT

    You have to laugh at these anti Eng comms. Give them their due , they are persistent to knock us no matter what. They saying stuff like "Doesn't matter though. Remember what happened in the second innings of the first test? They were 190/2 at one stage and next thing you know they were 212/7" like we are boasting about what a good day we had - unless there's a hidden comments section where is all this coming from. It was a better than expected day although as we've been here before only to be disappointed but today was as good as we could have hoped for. Having said that , with Swann's wicket taking you just wonder if Monty might have helped us bowl out SL quicker and cheaper. PS what make's Maddy's comms even more warped is that Eng were never 190-2 and never collapsed to that degree either. Maybe there's a hidden test to go with the hidden comments?

  • NaniIndCri on April 4, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    @IndnCrktfan one need not slog to get 3 to 4 per over. Eng batman are trying to prove that they are not weak against spin by not playing shots at expense of drawing the match. No offense in trying to draw, but when you do that you should stop comparing yourselves with the mighty West Indies and Aussies. At this rate do Eng. can set a good lead only at end of 4th day.

    @Trickstar You need not tell me what to watch, this is an open forum and every one can express their feelings. I got bored of this test match and that is what I wrote if you felt very exited by the day's play you can write that.

  • landl47 on April 4, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    England's best day in test cricket this year, although there is still a lot of work to do. Keeping SL's score down to 275 was a good achievement, thanks to Swann. There's been a lot of talk about Swann not being at his best, but in his last 6 tests (including this one) he's taken 32 wickets @24.46 and has taken at least 4 wickets in every game. There are a lot of bowlers who would love to have those figures when in their best form! Nice to see Strauss and Cook put together a good partnership and for Trott to carry on where he left off in Galle. It's been slow going, but England must get a substantial first innings lead with the pitch likely to deteriorate. They need as little to do in the second innings as possible.

  • RashadBanna on April 4, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    In the other article here in espncricinfo, I read that Matt Prior lost 3.5 kgs after the end of the first day's play. This is what test cricket is all about. It tests your skill and patience and there's no short cut to success. You have to play well for five days.

  • A_Vacant_Slip on April 4, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    @Spelele oh! - man you haven't got a clue. And you aren't afraid to show it. Your magnificent South Africa sure has good record at home though. How many series win at home do SA have in the last 3 year? Not many. Why you talk of Steve Waugh? he retire years ago. What are you @Spelele? history teacher or something? Stick to history - real facts today are lost on you.

  • StatisticsRocks on April 4, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    @NaniIndCri: Seriously, how can this be boring? This is why test cricket is so good, testing your temparament, technique, patience, and will to survive. Where's fun is slogging like a mad bull.

  • ZsZs on April 4, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    It's a great test! This is what was needed, and this what the pitch offered. If people find it boring then they can always turn to the mindless short form that is taking place in a few hundred miles north of this test's venue.

  • Shan156 on April 4, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, Not much worried about KP and Bell. Prior is fine despite his low scores in the first test; he topped the batting average in UAE. Not sure about Samit Patel and the rest. Bresnan is a fighter but I suspect this track won't suit his style of batting. Swann will be his usual self but I don't expect more than 50 runs from the last 5. This partnership - Cook and Trott - is crucial. If they stay till England are within 50 runs of SL's score, then we should build a handy lead.

  • Shan156 on April 4, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    It is still early days but England's edge so far in this test is probably due to the "Bresnan Factor":-) Remember, England have won all 10 tests that he has played. This test is still far from finished and England will have to bat out of their skin in their first innings to ensure a lead of around 150 to ensure that they won't lose again. But, that won't be due to the strength (or lack) of Sri Lanka's innocuous attack; rather, due to the cracks in the pitch which seem to be widening. Come the fourth day, and it will turn square. Go England!

  • on April 4, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    Sri Lanka have got into this mess due to their own faults + media hype, player agents as well as certain local so called expert commentators backing up non performing players at test level. As I have repeatedly pointed out we have been 3 down for nothing in all 3 innings of this series and once out of 6 innings against SA. That is 4 out of 9. Out of other 5 occasions only once we crossed 100 before the fall of 3rd wicket. Still one "hit or miss opener" get plenty of praise from Tony Greig & Co. The opener at the other end is a total disaster. Sanga whenever he walks out early walks back to pavilion immediately. No. 3 batsman is supposed to be as good as an opener in test cricket. Openers have to face tough bowling conditions but they should be equipped to handle those. When Dilshan fails that is the way he plays. Mahela failed in last 3 overseas tours, then he is excused. When Sanga fails he is out of form. When the ever reliable Thilan fails once or twice he is unceremonily dumped!

  • maddy20 on April 4, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    Well well. Doesn't matter though. Remember what happened in the second innings of the first test? They were 190/2 at one stage and next thing you know they were 212/7. The middle order is very fragile and SL has nothing to worry about!

  • Trickstar on April 4, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    @NaniIndCri How is a team getting bowled out for 270 on a sub continent track boring, you must get bored at a lot of test matches, you're best off watching Twenty/20 mate that will suit you more. Only thing England have to is bat long and bat once, scoring rate doesn't matter one bit after bowling SL out fairly cheaply, as long as you're putting away the bad ball and keeping out the good. What would be the point of going at 4 rpo and only getting 200 on the board, that's been England problem in one or two games this winter, in fact the 1st test they went at 4.2 rpo and were all out for under 200. England has the always do when they've put big scores up gradually increase the scoring rate when the batsmen have a decent start, against a tiring attack, Prior and KP are masters at it.

  • simon_w on April 4, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    This was a proper day's Test cricket. I feel a bit sorry that those whose tastes are too superficial to appreciate it feel the need to sound off, but I won't be wasting too much sympathy on them! The draw looks really very unlikely still, and we have three more days of fascinating cricket to look forward to. Given the way this winter has gone, as much as I'd like to say England are in the driving seat, I think you have to say the game is in the balance still. Like @Spelele, I too predict a collapse of Eiffel Tower-esque proportions. Unlike @Spelele, I am aware of the fact that the Eiffel Tower has never collapsed in it's 120+ year history... (The willingness of some people to come on here and make themselves look like churlish idiots never ceases to amaze me!)

  • samincolumbia on April 4, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    Not many SL fans here today :-)

  • NaniIndCri on April 4, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    what a boring day of cricket, couple of matches like this and the test matches will be history.

  • tests_the_best on April 4, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    For all you know, the slow rate might just have ensured a draw. Assuming Eng don't get bowled out on the 3rd day, they might add another 250-275 runs for a lead of around 150. If they bat a further session or so on the 4th, sl basically have to last around 4 sessions in their second outing which is quite probable. But if eng get bowled out sooner with a lead around 100, things get interesting with both teams in with a chance and eng slight favorites. All in all, england's day and match seems set to last 5 days, should be an abosrbing next 3 days.

  • Lord.emsworth on April 4, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    Good for Strauss. Cricket fans and selectors are fickle. It must be rembered that Strauss took England to the nr.1 position in the first place. Now after 4 defeats they want him out! England have a good chance to win from here. A score of 450 odd will put pressure on SL's weak, wobbly 'top' order batsmen sans MJ. Chandimals dropping makes the cubboard even more bare.

  • mikey76 on April 4, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    All you can say really is that our batsmen are slow learners. They can use this winters trevails as a solid platform for next winter and beyond, play the ball on its merits, take the ones and twos and leave the sweep alone. Also its very true that class is permanent and form is temporary, Swann looks to have his nip back. Watch out South Africa.

  • Spelele on April 4, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    A very boring and laboured display of some of the most uninteresting batting to have ever been seen in the 20th to the 21st centuries. What a waste! Shows that this average team can never be considered to be the real number one. While the Australian classy batting line-up of the famous Waugh Aussies would have attacked this military Srilankan attack, this average English (and South African - whichever way you look at it) line-up is busy huffing and puffing while going nowhere slowly. Lol, how they wish they could have batsmen like AB, Amla and even Petersen and Rudolph who know how to put spinners in their place. I predict a collapse of Eiffel Toweresque proportions tomorrow. Srilanka will then come in and bat horribly (like they've done all tour - save for Mahela), only to set England a moderate total of 150 odd. England will then get rolled over on a cracking pitch on Day 4 - 5. Watch this space!

  • jb633 on April 4, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    Aplogies to the Sri Lankan public for the mess some of our fans have created. Time and again I feel the constant pain of embarassment when I see the behaviour of my fellow natives. Please do not judge all Englishmen like this. As for the game, the media have given a poor reflection of proceedings. Yes, England have scored slowly but what do they expect, slow pitch and out of form players will not produce 4 r.p.o in a test match. England have done brilliantly here, much to my suprise, and have proved me wrong. I still do not think SL are out of this game and at 5/1 with the bookies I think it could be an astute bet. I think England will have to get a lead of 150 as I don't think chasing anything over 170 will be easy. From an entertainment perspective, I would like to see KP nad Bell get going. Still feel there will be a few twists and turns in this game. Btw to SL fans do not be too annoyed with the day's play, our pre season has been cancelled due to snow.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on April 4, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Just ask the Australians about Cook and Strauss.

  • jmcilhinney on April 4, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Finally, the day that we England fans have been waiting all (English) winter for. He was never really gone but Swann is back after 6 and 4 wickets in the last two innings and the batsmen finally looked resilient. They just seemed to be playing normally, which is really what we've all been asking for all this time. They didn't seem to have a rigid plan that they were going to stick to no matter what but rather played the ball on its merits. Maybe Strauss could have left that ball but the cut has been very productive for him over the years and it was there to cut. It was a good innings, even if it would have been nicer if it went on, and should give Strauss enough breathing space to allow him to regain his confidence and form. Cook is looking ominous because he usually either gets very little, as in last game, or very many. He's capable of batting all day tomorrow. Trott could also be around for while after showing that he had learned his lesson last innings. What of the rest though?

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  • jmcilhinney on April 4, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Finally, the day that we England fans have been waiting all (English) winter for. He was never really gone but Swann is back after 6 and 4 wickets in the last two innings and the batsmen finally looked resilient. They just seemed to be playing normally, which is really what we've all been asking for all this time. They didn't seem to have a rigid plan that they were going to stick to no matter what but rather played the ball on its merits. Maybe Strauss could have left that ball but the cut has been very productive for him over the years and it was there to cut. It was a good innings, even if it would have been nicer if it went on, and should give Strauss enough breathing space to allow him to regain his confidence and form. Cook is looking ominous because he usually either gets very little, as in last game, or very many. He's capable of batting all day tomorrow. Trott could also be around for while after showing that he had learned his lesson last innings. What of the rest though?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on April 4, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Just ask the Australians about Cook and Strauss.

  • jb633 on April 4, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    Aplogies to the Sri Lankan public for the mess some of our fans have created. Time and again I feel the constant pain of embarassment when I see the behaviour of my fellow natives. Please do not judge all Englishmen like this. As for the game, the media have given a poor reflection of proceedings. Yes, England have scored slowly but what do they expect, slow pitch and out of form players will not produce 4 r.p.o in a test match. England have done brilliantly here, much to my suprise, and have proved me wrong. I still do not think SL are out of this game and at 5/1 with the bookies I think it could be an astute bet. I think England will have to get a lead of 150 as I don't think chasing anything over 170 will be easy. From an entertainment perspective, I would like to see KP nad Bell get going. Still feel there will be a few twists and turns in this game. Btw to SL fans do not be too annoyed with the day's play, our pre season has been cancelled due to snow.

  • Spelele on April 4, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    A very boring and laboured display of some of the most uninteresting batting to have ever been seen in the 20th to the 21st centuries. What a waste! Shows that this average team can never be considered to be the real number one. While the Australian classy batting line-up of the famous Waugh Aussies would have attacked this military Srilankan attack, this average English (and South African - whichever way you look at it) line-up is busy huffing and puffing while going nowhere slowly. Lol, how they wish they could have batsmen like AB, Amla and even Petersen and Rudolph who know how to put spinners in their place. I predict a collapse of Eiffel Toweresque proportions tomorrow. Srilanka will then come in and bat horribly (like they've done all tour - save for Mahela), only to set England a moderate total of 150 odd. England will then get rolled over on a cracking pitch on Day 4 - 5. Watch this space!

  • mikey76 on April 4, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    All you can say really is that our batsmen are slow learners. They can use this winters trevails as a solid platform for next winter and beyond, play the ball on its merits, take the ones and twos and leave the sweep alone. Also its very true that class is permanent and form is temporary, Swann looks to have his nip back. Watch out South Africa.

  • Lord.emsworth on April 4, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    Good for Strauss. Cricket fans and selectors are fickle. It must be rembered that Strauss took England to the nr.1 position in the first place. Now after 4 defeats they want him out! England have a good chance to win from here. A score of 450 odd will put pressure on SL's weak, wobbly 'top' order batsmen sans MJ. Chandimals dropping makes the cubboard even more bare.

  • tests_the_best on April 4, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    For all you know, the slow rate might just have ensured a draw. Assuming Eng don't get bowled out on the 3rd day, they might add another 250-275 runs for a lead of around 150. If they bat a further session or so on the 4th, sl basically have to last around 4 sessions in their second outing which is quite probable. But if eng get bowled out sooner with a lead around 100, things get interesting with both teams in with a chance and eng slight favorites. All in all, england's day and match seems set to last 5 days, should be an abosrbing next 3 days.

  • NaniIndCri on April 4, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    what a boring day of cricket, couple of matches like this and the test matches will be history.

  • samincolumbia on April 4, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    Not many SL fans here today :-)

  • simon_w on April 4, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    This was a proper day's Test cricket. I feel a bit sorry that those whose tastes are too superficial to appreciate it feel the need to sound off, but I won't be wasting too much sympathy on them! The draw looks really very unlikely still, and we have three more days of fascinating cricket to look forward to. Given the way this winter has gone, as much as I'd like to say England are in the driving seat, I think you have to say the game is in the balance still. Like @Spelele, I too predict a collapse of Eiffel Tower-esque proportions. Unlike @Spelele, I am aware of the fact that the Eiffel Tower has never collapsed in it's 120+ year history... (The willingness of some people to come on here and make themselves look like churlish idiots never ceases to amaze me!)