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An hour of madness wrapped inside a damp squib


It seems now that wherever Sri Lanka goes, rain follows and this series was no different. An average of 25 overs were lost per day thanks to the miracle of precipitation. Surprisingly this series did have a winner and the period that decided the series was an hour of madness in the last session of the 1st Test. There was still some action on the field although England could take some more positives than Sri Lanka.

England View :

This was a very satisfactory series for England. This series could probably have been more in their favour had the rain not intervened.

From the batting point of view, Bell and Cook had a simply magnificent series, both scoring over 300 runs and 2 centuries, Trott started with a double century but then walked on more mortal planes. Pietersen got out to the left-armer Herath twice but got 2 fifties though he ended up with a disappointing average of 40.5. Prior had an aggressive century to go with 2 single digit scores and a broken window while Morgan justified his inclusion over Bopara with 168 runs @56. The shocker was Strauss, just 27 runs in 4 innings while his opening partner was filling his boots. Not a good return from the Test specialist captain.

England’s bowling was exceptional and they have a slight problem of plenty (pun not intended) as far as their fast bowling is concerned with Tremlett being the pick of the lot, getting the only five-for of this series on his way to 15 wickets. Swann also had a good time with 12 wickets at 23.5 against batsmen known to play spin well. The decision to make for England now is whether to take Anderson or Finn as both had decent outings in this series. Broad’s figures were disappointing, averaging 19 with the bat and 49 with the ball, more reminiscent of Ajit Agarkar than Botham.

Sri Lanka View :

Not the best of series for Sri Lanka, although a bit more application in the 2nd Innings of the 1st Test and the spoils could have been shared. Would have had a far worse time if rain had not intervened.

Batting wise the seniors were disappointing, Jayawardene averaged 17 in 6 innings while Sanga scored only 75 runs in his 1st 5 innings before a century in his last innings helped Sri Lanka to a draw. Dilshan impressed with the bat if not his captaincy lighting up Lord’s with his 193. Prasanna Jayawardene and Samaraweera averaged over 50 with their middle-order batting. Both Paranavitana and Thirimanne got to starts but failed to carry on much.

Sri Lanka’s bowling remains their biggest worry. In this series, their bowlers picked up only 29 wickets at 57.1, compared to England’s 47 wickets at 31.3. Their best bowler was Welegedara with 7 wickets at an average of 37. The other bowlers averaged 50 or more with Maharoof the worst of the lot taking a solitary wicket for173 runs. The pacers were often expensive and had problems with no-balls, while Mendis now contains as much Mystery as a Sly Stallone movie.

Sri Lanka have not won a single one of the 8 Tests since Murali has retired and on the basis of this series, they have their work cut out for them.

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