England Vs Sri Lanka: 1st Test Review




Jonathan Trott

Jonathan Trott

The long English summer cricket season, got underway at the Rose Bowl in Cardiff, where Sri Lanka took on England. The English were coming into this Test with some rest after their long winter which ended with a quarter-final defeat to the very same opponents here. However, the Sri Lankans came into this match with many of their players fatigued, after a gruelling World Cup and the IPL.

On an overcast English morning, Tillekeratne Dilshan, the new Sri Lankan skipper elected to bat first. The subcontinent giants went into the game with one spinner in Rangana Herath and the all rounder’s spot went to Thissara Perera. England went with three seam bowlers and one spinner in Greame Swann. Both the Lankan openers got their side off to a solid start once play got underway on Thursday and notched up half centuries. Due to bad light and rain, only 48 overs were bowled as the visitors ended the day at a comfortable 133-2. The second day was the only day where a full day’s play was possible and while Mahela Jayawerdene fell early to Anderson, his namesake Prasanna Jayawerdene notched up his third Test century as Sri Lanka finished with 400. To add to England’s woes, James Anderson pulled up with a side strain that would rule him out of the rest of the game and possibly the rest of the series. England also lost Captain Andrew Strauss early to end the day at 47-1.

The third day belonged entirely to England, particularly to Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott who quashed any hopes of a Sri Lankan win. Both men ended the day with unbeaten centuries as England ended another rain curtailed day at 287-2, 113 behind the visitors. All hopes of England pushing for a victory were soon nullified as Trott carried on his merry way, Cook was removed early and Pietersen fell again to his nemesis – left arm spin. Ian Bell and Trott stitched together a 160 run partnership. Trott fell after his second double century for 203, and he is now second in the list of all time Test averages, only behind Sir Donald Bradman. Another shortened day, the fourth of the Test, ended with the Poms 491-5 , 91 runs ahead.

Rain lashed Cardiff through most of the final day, thereby negating any real chance of a result. But there was drama when play resumed at 3 pm local time with about 50 overs to be played. Strauss allowed Bell to completely his century and declared at 496-5, 96 runs ahead. With just three frontline options, Tremlett began by removing both openers before tea and Sangakkara and Jayawerdene took the visitors to 33-2. Swann and Tremlett would then combine and remove the next six Lankan wickets for 19 runs as they slumped to 52-8. Perera and Mendis realized that England was not that far ahead but the realization came too late. Stuart Broad bounced out the last two batsmen bringing the curtain down on an exhilarating season opener. This was a game, that was in the balance until Strauss declared on the last morning. England struggled to bowl Sri Lanka out, while the visitors’ bowling attack looked absolutely toothless. England will also look for a replacement for James Anderson. Looking ahead to the second Test, it is hard to see Sri Lanka coming back, as for England they will be over the moon.

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