Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Galle Test: Sri Lanka v England, Day 2

So, day 2 in Galle. After such an evenly contested and hard fought first day, there's not really much else I can do to introduce a day that saw 17 wickets fall, most of which were caused by such monumental brain farts that it made Brad Haddin's shot at Newlands in the 47 all out seem almost the Test cricket standard.
Mahela Jayawardene's superb unbeaten century as the others around him crumbled was one of the highlights of day 1, as was James Anderson's performance on a pitch not giving him much help. Here's the highlights of what happened on an eventful day 2 at Galle.

NOTE: Some of the ducks changed colour during the picture process because they are thermochromic and it's unseasonable warm in my corner of the UK. Once again, you probably don't care so I'm going to get on with it.

The first over of the day goes to Jimmy. Welegedara is on strike and ends up hitting it for 16, including heading one to the boundary.
But Jimmy has the last laugh by forgetting the short stuff for a delivery and bowling a slower ball, which deceives Welegedara
And hits his leg stump. Sri Lanka are 307-9.
Jayawardene's fabulous innings comes to an end. He nibbles at an Anderson delivery outside off...
And gets out for 180. 
Jayawardene is the last man out as Sri Lanka's total is 318. James Anderson is the hero of the England bowling attack, as he passes Brian Statham in the leading English wicket takers list and takes figures of 5-72.
And so begins the innings that will probably see England's sports psychologist wonder where their life is going. If you don't want to remember what happened and would prefer to live in blissful ignorance, then please close the tab now and instead watch  highlights of day 5 of the 2011 Cardiff Test on repeat.

England's reply begins badly. Quackmal (feel free to hate me for ruining your cricket watching experience. It's ruined mine forever) gets one to pitch on off and swing back in.
Cook is not able to get his bat in front of his pad. Quackmal appeals and Cook's given.
He consults his captain, but Strauss decides to save a review for Broad...
And Cook's on his way for a duck. England are 0-1. 
Strauss and England get off the mark. 
Welegedara strays onto Strauss' pads and he clips it through the leg side for 3.
Trott hits the first boundary of the England innings through midwicket and then hits another one through the covers.
England's UAE nemesis of spin comes on in Galle. Herath is the bowler. Trott decides that he's going to come down the pitch to a full toss, but he ends up missing...
And gets stumped.
In the celebrations, Trott decides that he'd quite like to forget this dismal dismissal and clashes with Prasanna Jayawardene's chest. 
Resulting in him lying flat on the ground. If Trott's a Futurama fan, I'm sure the quote from Bender of "I'm so embarrassed, I wish everybody else was dead." was going through his mind.
Trott manages to struggle off, pride wounded more than anything. England are 40-2.
And it gets a whole lot worse as Strauss decides to play a premeditated sweep shot...
Misses it and gets hit on the pad. 
Sri Lanka wait to see whether or not Asad Rauf reckons there was any bat involved.
He gives leg byes, so Mahela decides to review the decision.
Strauss is plumb LBW and it leaves England 43-3, but Strauss is not happy with something, presumably how "long" Sri Lanka took to review. He decides to take this up with the umpires before leaving the field and England in a complete mess.
Last year, Ian Bell striding confidently to the crease would be a common sight. But that's because even I could score runs off Steve Smith and he was in sparkling form. A poor series against Pakistan, where his average was 8.50, meant that even with his new mental state, he'd surely still have scars.
But Bell decides that his mental torment at the hands of Ajmal are not worth moping about and greets Herath with a six. 
England reach lunch with no further casualties. But they're in the mire and it's going to take someone to bog down and play a Jayawardene-esque innings to get them out of it. England are 57-3.
Welegedara comes round the wicket to Pietersen and gets exactly what he wants, a wicket.
Pietersen drags on and you can't really blame the Barmy Army for heading to the bar with England 65-4.
With the inclusion of Patel, it means a promotion up to number 6 for Matt Prior.
In this situation, he can be quite a dangerous player, because he plays a natural attacking game, including this cut for four off Herath.
Alas, he too succumbs to the left arm spinner. He plays back in his crease to a misjudged delivery and is struck on the back leg.
He's given out and decides to review the decision.
It was plumb. England lose a review and England are 72-5. Crack out the party poppers, kids.
Meanwhile, whilst an implosion of ineptness is occurring at the other end, Ian Bell is still in. 
And he plays a lovely shot through the covers for four off Welegedara.
Patel, on his Test debut, comes in and searches for his first Test run.
He gets it as one slips past Dilshan at cover.
There are to be no debutant batting heroics from Samit though. Like Prior, he misreads Herath's length, plays back, is struck on the pad...
And is out LBW.
Samit goes for 2, England are 92-6. So, that fort's quite lovely, isn't it?
Back to the cricket, Broad is the next man in and he decides to show the top order how to do it.
He sticks it to Quackmal by hitting him for a four, then a six, then two more fours. This and a few more runs allows England to avoid the follow on.
Broad catches the contagious "premeditated sweepitis" and is trapped in front.
It's Broad, of it's a review (Vic Marks reckons he's never been successful with one when he's batting) .
And it's an unsuccessful one. Broad goes, England are 122-7 and Herath has a 5fer. 
Ian Bell is still at the other end. And he reaches his half century with a boundary.
He has played well and will hope that someone can stick around with him. 
Swann isn't to be that man. After a bit of a cameo, Swann decides to go for another big shot...
Unsuccessfully. Dilshan takes the catch off the bowling of Randiv.
Cue nonchalant celebration and England being 157-8.
And Ian Bell follows Swann soon after. Herath beats him...
And Bell is bowled for 52. 
England are 157-9 and the hopes of the nation rest on the shoulders of James Anderson and Monty Panesar. It's like 2009 all over again, only without Marcus North. 
But then Monty's hit Murali for a six, so there's some hope for England.
He hits Herath up in the air and to the boundary for a four.
The look of surprise on his face is the highlight of England's torrid innings. 
And the England total soon ends. Monty misses one from Randiv.
And he's out LBW. His and Jimmy's partnership is the second highest of England's total.
Herath finishes with figures of 6-74. England are all out for 193 and Sri Lanka lead by 125. On the bright side for England, they lead Jayawardene by 13.
Well, that was fun. No wonder Jimmy ran off looking annoyed at Monty for the second day running. Anyway, here's Sri Lanka's second innings, which is nearly as fun as England's innings:

Dilshan is first to go. Broad bowls a full, swinging delivery. Dilshan falls over his stumps and ends up being bowled.
It's a good start for England, but then the bowling's not been the problem at all this winter. Sri Lanka are 4-1.
With two left handers at the crease, it's Swann time. And, not for the first time in his career, he strikes in his first over again.
Thirimanne is beaten and bowled on his off stump by Swann. It's 8-2.
In comes Jayawardene to join Sangakkara, for the umpteenth time in recent Sri Lankan cricket history. But the captain cannot repeat his first innings heroics. He tries to hide his bat behind his pad, but that doesn't stop Swann finding the edge...
And Anderson duly takes the catch. Sri Lanka are 14-3.
On the bright side for England, they've beaten Jayawardene by an innings and 8 runs.
Samaraweera comes in and, when compared to how long it took him get off the mark in the first innings, gets off the mark like a rocket. His first boundary comes off Broad.
Swann picks up the key wicket of Sanagakkara. He gets an edge...
And is caught by Strauss at second slip.
It's a big wicket for England as it means there's no danger of Sanga being in tomorrow and building a huge innings. Sri Lanka are 41-4. Swann has 3-16.
Samaraweera in still going though and hits Patel for a boundary.
But he cannot resist the temptation to go for a big shot against Swann. He, like Trott, misses...
And quick glovework by Prior sends Samaraweera on his way.
There's no headbutt with Prior, so Samaraweera walks off with 36 runs to his name and Sri Lanka 72-5. Randiv is sent in as a night watchman. 
Chandimal brings out his aggressive side...
And hits Swann for a four through the midwicket region. Getting him early will be crucial for England. 
Sri Lanka finish the day on 84-5, with a lead of 209.
Sri Lanka must be seen as being the favourites for this match. England, and its fans, will be hoping that the English batsmen do their bowlers justice and at least salvage some pride in this battle of "which batsman can play the premeditated sweep worse?" Bring on day 3. Maybe aliens will invade should there be a passage of play without a clatter of wickets, you know*, just to keep everyone on their toes.
*Tribute to Ian Bell.

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