Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 5th day April 7, 2012

Short-leg problems, and Strauss' nemesis

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fifth day of the second Test in Colombo

Third time lucky of the day
England created plenty of chances during the first half an hour of play but Alastair Cook grassed two chances at short leg offered by Angelo Mathews off Graeme Swann. Neither was easy, short leg catches rarely are, but it is what all the practice is for. However, at the third attempt Cook held onto one when a delivery from Swann spat at Mahela Jayawardene and he gloved it in the air. Cook had to dive forward and pouched it safely, although Matt Prior did watch it go into his hands.

Haul of the day
Swann produced another fantastic display on the final morning and when he bowled Prasanna Jayawardene round his legs it secured his second ten-wicket haul following the one he claimed against Bangladesh in Chittagong. However, he was denied a career-best innings tally of seven when Samit Patel and Steven Finn claimed the last two wickets.

Duck of the day
Tillakaratne Dilshan is turning into a bit of nemesis for Andrew Strauss. He caused him no end of problems in the World Cup quarter-final last year and removed him again in the first innings here. Then, handed the new ball in the second innings, it took him just six deliveries to work over the England captain and bowl him with a lovely ball that turned and knocked back off stump.

Statement of the day
England were criticised for the way they went about the chase in Abu Dhabi against Pakistan and could have gone into their shells again here after Strauss' early loss. Cook, though, ensured they didn't. The first boundary of the innings came in the seventh over when Cook clumped Dilshan through mid-on. Another four followed two balls later and England had the early momentum they wanted.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on April 10, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    @puroniks - .Ind had most of their team playing for the Eng series but admittedly they were awful as in Oz but you say ageing - the team which drew in SA would have been 6 or so months younger than the side Eng beat.Eng have not played tests in Ind for over 3 yrs but granted SA are better in SC than Eng.We can all give stats which say one team is better than the other.You say that Oz was going through transition Did they come out of transition to bt SL and D in SA and then go back into it for the NZ HD?I could be one eyed and say the Pak side which drew with you was in transition and would also have beaten you 3-0. I'm not trash talking SA as they have quality in their side and Eng and SA are dead level from the last 6 series they played and I expect a tight series and I'm not going to respond to your player comparisons.BTW don't remember AB or anyone massacring our bowlers last year in the WC-A fluke yeah? Please publish this time

  • Eranga on April 9, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    @Darshan Said before. Mendis is injured. hasen't played a match since january.:(

  • nikhil on April 8, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    @JG2704 I respect u a lot since ur a regular on cricinfo.... but come on u hae to admit that SA has performed better than englans all round.... we are the only team to give India some fight in both tests and odis over the last 7-9 yrs.... england hve been abysmal in asia... u'll won 4-0 against an injury ravaged, zaheer khan-less aging indian team(some bastman past their best), u'll beat a rebuilding aus team which in aus ye which was great, but one swallow dont make a summer, england has been so bad in india and sri lanka forever! tERRIBLE compare sa's results in India to that of ENGLANDS'S! come on!:) Go ahead! Dont feel shy! admit to the fact that none of ur batsman(with the excpetion of the dour,tedious trott) average 50and trott's ave is falling rapidly too.. anderson is better than de lange and on par with morkel but as i said we have kallis who is the best bastman after sachin and steyn who is a true great. vernon miles better than finn, better keeper-batsman in boucher.

  • nikhil on April 8, 2012, 23:14 GMT

    @valavan. sorry mate ur england team cant be dependant on luck forever! Rather optimistic you england fans are Ha! We have steyn who is miles ahead of anderson, morkel who is miles ahead of broad, boucher miles ahead of prior,philander lightyears ahead of finn! The only thing u gys have is a spinner better than us (SWANN, who will be massacred out of the park by de villers) our openers are better, our captian smith is tactically sound, and in kallis we have the best modern batsman after tendulkar and lara. @JG2704 kindly respond to my above hypothesis.. regarding one on one....cook's technical flaws will be found out by a rampaging SA pace quartet(akward agnle). ur no. 6 is unstable too! Please dont tell me patel/bresnan will be filling in there! thn eng's tail would b too long(starting from no. 5) BELL HAS PROVEN HE CANT BE CONSISTENT, he is one dimensional too... KP is too brash and his ego is greater than his talent... trott is the key for england(the only good batsman). thank u:)

  • John on April 8, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    @puroniks on (April 08 2012, 07:16 AM GMT) aww - you sound a little sad there. I suppose the SL side wasn't going through transition when they won a test in SA a few months previously? If we're talking Mediocracy - look at SA's test results from the last couple of years.Before their 1-0 (away) and 2-1 (home) thrashings of NZ and SL there were 3 drawn series in a row (2 of which were at home). England have mediocre players as so many have said so SA must have been grossly underperforming over the years with their star studded line up.

  • Valavan on April 8, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    @Puroniks, well said fluke win for England, england will continue this fluke to win the unpredictable SA by 3 - 0, the trophy is ours mate. SA will return empty handed this time. We will win by fluke all matches against SA this summer. cricinfo please publish.

  • John on April 8, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    @mikey76 on (April 07 2012, 13:23 PM GMT) - Said this before , Hildreth has had an awful 2011 and is out of the mix unless he rediscovers his form - and I'm a Somerset fan.

  • nikhil on April 8, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Fluke win by england . they have nothign to cheer. they will be blown away by saffer shortly. They dont haave a single batsman averagin the fifties and it was a fluke KP inns that got them over the line this time... I am going for a 3-0 win to sa who have better openers, a better alrounder, better new ball bowlers, a better keeper! Th mediocracy of this england team is for all to see,,, thy are jumping with joy after one win in 10 yrs against a transitonal sl team! Ha! SA will trample them with ease go proteas!!!!(GO a bit light on the poor poms though hahah) eng--overhyped!!!!!!!

  • Johnathon on April 8, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    @mikey76 400 wickets I agree, but 3000 runs is a little too much for a number 8. Judging by his runs/match, it would take him around 90 more matches to get to his 3000 run landmark. The guy is only 33 years old, and though England are playing Test matches by the dozen every year, I find it hard to believe he can score 3000 runs

  • michael on April 7, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Strauss did ok against Warne in 05, got a couple of tons so he's not a mug against spin, its just he's not in top nick. There are actually some pretty good prospects too behind Bell. James Taylor is the obvious one. Hildreth at Somerset. Root and Sayers at Yorks, Tom Maynard and Ben Stokes. We have talent coming through in the batting as well as bowling depts. Would be nice if England blood a couple against the Windies next month.

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