England v Sri Lanka Second Test Review

By Zaheer Haque

The Second Test at Lords saw Sri Lanka yet again win the toss and chose to bowl first again as they did in the First Test at Cardiff. Sri Lanka made two changes in their line up and England the one enforced change.

Sri Lanka began really well with the ball reducing England to 22-3 with Strauss, Trott and Pietersen falling very cheaply. Then this brought Bell to the crease alongside Cook and built a great partnership of 108 before Bell was out for a good innings of 52.

Cook carried on with phenomenal run of form with 96 before he top edged and was caught in front of the wicket. Cook as well as all of us would have been very disappointed on the way he was out and missing out on a 100 after falling 4 runs short.

The lower middle order also contributed heavily to the total with great innings of 79 by Morgan 54 by Broad. The outstanding performance of the England innings was by Prior who scored a brilliant 126 of only 131 with some outrageous shot before he was finally out going for another big shot. England were all out for 486.

Sri Lanka in their batting response began with a sensational 207 run first wicket partnership which didn’t seem possible from their batting performance in Cardiff. This partnership was due largely to the exceptional batting of Dilshan the Sri Lankan Captain supported by Paranavitana who made a very watchful 65. England didn’t help themselves with the ball both bowling too short and being wayward at times and didn’t exploit their height advantage. The bowler who struggled the most surprisingly was Steven Finn considering this was his home ground with his line and also his wrist position dragging the ball wide of the stumps.

England finally got their act together with the ball only after Dilshan was out playing the innings of the whole test with a sizzling & magnificent 193. The wonderful part of his innings was he played his natural game and took the attack to all the England bowlers and was a joy to see his innings on the television. This was an innings fitting for Lords and the sell out crowd. He richly deserved a double hundred but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. This stage Sri Lanka with the loss of Dilshan after is 193 were 370-3.

England then managed to bowl out Sri Lanka for 479 with a great comeback by Finn who finished with 4-108. This left England with a lead of only seven.

Rain and bad light did play a part during Sri Lanka innings and overs were lost out of the game.

England second innings started disastrously with Strauss out for a second ball duck and he has had a very lean patch in both test matches. This meant it was the Cook and Trott show helped themselves to another century stand in the series of 117 before Trott was out for a well compiled 58. The spotlight fell on Pietersen who has been out of form and also the mode of dismissal to left arm slow bowlers. He started off very watchfully and grew into some confidence the longer he stayed at the crease. He reached 72 then made judgement of error and was bowled.

Cook had no such problems and batted in the same way as he had done in the first innings and went on to score a brilliant 106 to go alongside his 96 in the first innings. He had quick partnership with Bell who scored a 43 ball 54 Not Out.

England finally declared on 335-7 setting Sri Lanka an impossible target of 343. I believe that England should have set Sri Lanka 275 runs to boost their own chances of winning after overs lost due to rain during the match.

The match ended in a draw with Sri Lanka finishing on 127-3 Sangakkara yet again failed with the bat and must be concerning to him and the whole team.

The positives for England in the match were the large contribution by the lower order in the first innings. The negatives were poor bowling most part of the first innings and at times in the second innings as well. I have always felt that England should always be bold and play 5 bowlers every test match they play against any opposition anywhere around the world.

The positives for Sri Lanka were the form of both opening batsmen and opening bowlers performance at start of each innings. The negatives the continued poor form of their two best players Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.


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