Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day Five: First Test, England vs Sri Lanka

Day five started off in a blaze of glorious sunshine and... Na, I'm kidding. Of course it started off like this again:

The rain continued for a long time and it looked like the match was heading for a draw. People thought it was all over on day four, that the match was destined for stalemate and both sides may as well just head across to London now. Right? Wrong. Oh so very wrong. What happened next was just extraordinary and a sign that this England team is a tight knit unit, one that is capable of doing something special and one that is so different from the team it was two years ago...
After the morning session is washed out, England bat again. They defend a couple, but it soon becomes clear that the reason they are batting again is because Ian Bell is 2 away from a well deserved century.

Which he soon goes to by cutting the ball for four.

Amid the celebrations, he and Morgan run off to quickly change and it gives England a slim chance of victory.

The England balcony congratulate Bell on his ton. He finishes on 103* and England declare on 496-5.

The England team prepare to field. They are a bowler down, so it means three main strike bowlers, Pietersen and Jonathan Trott. Little did the few in the ground know what they were about to see...

Broad bowled a maiden first up and on came Chris Tremlett with the new ball for the first time in the match. Dilshan took a single and then...

Tremlett got Paranavitana's edge...

Which Strauss caught. Sri Lanka 1-1 after two. 

England celebrate Paranavitana's demise.

Dilshan soon follows Paranavitana back to the pavilion. 
He seemingly hits one back to Tremlett...

Who takes the catch. Dilshan is given out.

England celebrate, but Dilshan, perhaps realising he is one of the 'Big Three' Sri Lankan batsmen that really needs to stay in, decides to review the decision.

Replays show that Dilshan is on his way...

Dilshan departs to much English celebration. He has also wasted a Sri Lankan review. Sri Lanka are 10-2. They manage to survive until the tea break only two down. It is, however, the next session, that made this seemingly dull Test match become one of the most exciting finishes in the modern era. 

After tea, Tremlett strikes again, picking up the massive wicket of Mahela Jayawardene.

He edges Tremlett to Strauss at slip and Sri Lanka are 33-3.

England celebrate. If they can get Sangakkara, who knows what might happen!
Sri Lanka lose Samaraweera soon after Jayawardene.

He gets bowled by Swann and Sri Lanka are 36-4. 

Swann, so good against left-handers, manages to get the massive wicket of Sangakkara.
Sangakkara edges it straight to Strauss at slip and Sri Lanka are in disarray. They are 43-5 and their 'Big Three' are back in the pavilion.

Maharoof is next to succumb to Swann.

He edges it through to Prior, who destroys his stumps for good measure.

Maharoof is given out, but he's not happy so decides to review the decision.

Replays show that he's a goner and he heads off back to the pavilion with his team 43-6 and England only four wickets from a mind-blowing victory.
It doesn't get much better for Sri Lanka. In the next over, The Other Jayawardene gets one down the leg side.

Prior takes a catch and England appeal. The umpire says not out. 

Prompting England to use one of their reviews. 

The Other Jayawardene is given out by the third umpire, who may just be desperate to get back to his pond, as Jayawardene could be a tad unlucky. However, it doesn't stop Sri Lanka being 43-7 and staring down the barrel.
Herath is next. He misses one off Swann that hits him on the pad. 

England appeal and Herath is a goner too. Sri Lanka are 52-8 and searching for their own Jimmy and Monty to rescue them from such a massive heap of awfulness.

Perara and Mendis launch a counter attack, but they only add 30 runs before Perara departs  to Broad...

Ian Bell takes a superb, one handed, reflex catch at short leg to dismiss the threatening lower order batsman.

Sri Lanka are 82-9. England are one wicket away from taking a 1-0 series lead and winning yet another Test match by an innings. 

England pack the slips and put men around the bat. Broad bowls...

Lakmal can only hit it up in the air...

Cook, having dropped a couple of chances off of Broad in Sri Lanka's first innings, calls for the catch...

Which he takes. Sri Lanka are 82 all out and lose by an innings and 14 runs.

England celebrate their superb victory. With only three bowlers and the match seemingly heading for an incredibly dull draw, the match exploded into life with the fantastic, hostile bowling of Tremlett and Broad and the menacing spin of Graeme Swann on a fifth day pitch. 

England applied the pressure and Sri Lanka just could not cope, prompting an implosion of awfulness that England fans have had to cope with in the not too distant past.
And there you have it, that was the first Test between England and Sri Lanka down at Cardiff in what has been described as a "very surreal format". I'll probably take a break for the Lord's Test, as I have my exams on the 15th and 16th June so need to concentrate on revision, although having said that, I may well feel like doing this again at 1 in the morning or something. Rest assured though, once my exams are over, I'll be back for the Rose Bowl. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. When I'm back in Suffolk, I'll have a lot more rubber ducks to contend with, so watch out for the England vs India series... 

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