Half a day of high drama at the Sofia Gardens, Cardiff on Monday means that the visitors go into the second Test 0-1 down, in what should have been a tame draw. England will be over the moon and they are currently playing like a team that can do no wrong in the Test arena and have a lot of momentum going into the second Test at Lords.
It is going to be very difficult for Sri Lanka to pick themselves up for this game. That said, the series is still alive and it will be up to the captain and the support staff to motivate the team. For starters, Dilshan needs to shoulder responsibility at the top of the order and bat long. Veterans Sangakkara and Jayawardene also need to buckle down and get down to business. With support from young Paranavitana, Samaraweera and the other Jayawardene, Sri Lanka does have the batting to get a huge total. Their bowling needs a relook as playing two specialist all-rounders does not seem to be a wise decision. They could bring in Welegedara for some more variety.
As for England, there will be only one change as Steven Finn will replace James Anderson. Jade Dernbach is also in reserve although I doubt he will get a game. Their batting looks rock solid and the Lord’s track is an ideal one for Kevin Pietersen to get a big score. Bell, Trott and Cook all got hundreds at Cardiff and will be looking to add more agony to the visitors. Trott was named England’s cricketer of the year, this week and looking at his impressive Test record, one cannot argue at all with that decision. Stuart Broad seems to be hitting the straps and Swann has always been the attacking spinner who will guarantee wickets. Added to this is tall, lanky and now accurate Chris Tremlett.
What will be most interesting to see is how the pitch plays and the weather. If there is a bit of grass on the pitch, then it will favour Sri Lanka more than England as sub continental attacks always need some assistance from the deck. Sri Lanka will also have to be varying of the short ball, used effectively against Perera on the final day, especially by Stuart Broad. England will want to wrap it up here, while the visitors will be looking for at least a draw to keep the series alive.