Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day Five: England vs Sri Lanka, Third Test

After the forecast predicted a wash out on Monday, it was good to have some cricket. Unfortunately for England, they didn't really look all that interested and they came across the reluctant captain of Kumar Sangakkara in a determined mode. The day and the series fittingly ended with rain, as the British summer well and truly arrived. So long as it stays away from Headingley on July 1st, Chelmsford July 2nd and a playing field in a village in Suffolk on July 3rd (cricket weekend!) I'll be happy. Anyway, enough about that, here's day five of duck cricket from the Rose Bowl and the last in the England vs Sri Lanka Test series. 
England's day doesn't follow the script that Strauss would like it to. The night watchman Herath edges a Jimmy Anderson delivery into the slip cordon, at a decent enough height for Strauss to catch.

Unfortunately for him and England, Graeme Swann tries to claim the glory, presumably desperate for a hug off Jimmy. The chance goes down and Herath, on 5, goes on to play an innings highly uncharacteristic of what we've come to know of him on the tour.

Down at the other end, the Reluctant Captain hits a sweet on-drive off of Tremlett.

Which goes to the boundary, handing Sanga a half century, his first of the series. 

Herath survives a close appeal from Swann.

The appeal from the England team is to no avail. England decide not to review, but replays show that if they had, Herath would've gone as it was pad first.

Jonathan Trott comes onto bowl, as England get desperate for a wicket and the new ball.

But Herath greets him by cracking him to the boundary and the Trott experiment is soon over.

Soon Herath finally cannot resist going for a slog off Swann. He misses and Swann traps him in front LBW.

Herath considers a review, but Sanga is having none of it.

Herath departs and England have their breakthrough. Sri Lanka are 185-4. 

Sri Lanka take the lead with a beautiful drive from Sanga off Tremlett. If England can take the wickets, then they'll have to bat again. At lunch, Sri Lanka reach 226-4, but their job is far from over.

Samaraweera joins his captain with a half century. He glances one for two off of Tremlett.

And raises his bat to the small Rose Bowl crowd.

Sangakkara, on 99*, gets a single off of Broad.

He sets off, as Broad goes after the ball, and reaches his maiden Test century in England. It is a captain's knock, no matter how reluctant he was to take it, and even though it's not the most fluent century he'll ever score, it's one that has helped his team. 

Samaraweera decides to take on Swann...

Hitting a four that bounces a couple of times before hitting the ropes. Sri Lanka have a 119 run lead and England's chances of victory have all but disappeared with rain on the way.

Sangakkara, deceived by a slower ball from Jimmy, gives England a wicket. 

He's caught by the substitute fielder, Rouse, for 119. 

Sanga is distraught, but he and Samaraweera have played well and with the weather on the way, has saved the match for his country.

Sanga walks off to warm applause from the Rose Bowl crowd.

At tea, Sri Lanka reach 326-5, with a lead of 141 runs. But, fittingly, the weather has its final say in what has ultimately been a damp squib of a series, apart from an unbelievable batting collapse in Cardiff.

England, therefore, win the series 1-0.

Chris Tremlett is England's Duck of the Series, here interviewed by Mike Atherton. 

The Other Jayawardene, or Prasanna Jayawardene, is Sri Lanka's Duck of the Series.

Mike interviews Andrew Strauss before handing over the beautifully crafted series trophy. 

England celebrate the series victory.

Strauss and man of the series Tremlett savour the damp success.
So, that's the Test series over. The true duck of the series is really the weather. It had its say in all three Test matches and pretty much ruined a series I was excited about. Sri Lanka, ultimately, paid the price for a terrible batting display on the last day in Cardiff and in the end, England deserved their victory, having out-batted and out-bowled their counterparts.

I hope you've enjoyed it, because I certainly have. I'll be back on Saturday, probably, for the Twenty20 and at least the first ODI. I go away on 6th July and like I said earlier, I've got a very busy weekend the weekend of the second ODI. Be aware that once I'm home in Suffolk that some of the players will magically transform into other ducks, as my collection returns to full strength. Hope you can join me then for more duck cricket fun and frolics!  

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