England v Sri Lanka Third Test Review

By Zaheer Haque
The Third and Final Test of the Series took place at The Rose Bowl which staged its first ever Test. It was also a historic Test for Alastair Cook who played in his 67th Consecutive Test Match a New England Record. Cook achievement is astonishing considering how much International Cricket is played.
In this Test Match almost two days of play were lost to rain but made for quite an interesting Test Match albeit a Draw in the end.
England won the toss and rightly bowled first considering the heavy rain that had fallen overnight and into the first day.
England bowled very well in large parts of Sri Lanka first innings thanks to Chris Tremlett brilliant bowling of 6-48 to bowl out Sri Lanka for just 184. However Chris Broad bowling was hugely disappointing and his loss in form showed in the first innings. He wasn’t able to make inroads when England had Sri Lanka at one stage 91-6 if he had done then Sri Lanka would have only managed say 110 to 120 runs at most.
England in reply lost two early wickets with the Captain Andrew Strauss making only 3 runs to continue his horrendous form managing a total of 27 runs in the whole series. The only reason no one is question his place in the side is because he is Captain of winning side over the past few years. Trott also fell cheaply.
Alastair Cook alongside Kevin Pietersen put on a 106 run 3rd wicket partnership with Pietersen scoring a valuable 85 before he was out. This innings helped him was vital for him and showed many signs of him returning to his best. Cook carried on his phenomenal run of form with yet another half century. Bell also scored a magnificent century and a quick innings as well ably supported by Morgan who also scored a half century.  England took everyone by surprise by playing really positive attacking cricket and made a bold declaration 377-8 a lead of 193.
England thought that this would enable them to push for victory on a pitch still very much favouring the bowlers but this didn’t materialise. It was largely to the resilience and brilliance of Sri Lanka Stand in Captain Kumar Sangakkara.
Sangakkara before this second innings had been in very poor form throughout the whole series. In this innings he finally scored a century in England for the first time which he richly deserved. He was very watchful throughout but the longer he stayed at the crease the better he became. He was eventually out for 119 with Sri Lanka 326-5 batting well to secure the draw when rain bought the match to a close with Sri Lanka on 334-5.
England bowling wasn’t very good in the second innings with Jimmy Anderson coming back from injury so still not 100% fit. Also Stuart Broad sustained an injury and also his carried on with his poor form. Graeme Swann also had match to forget as he wasn’t helped by conditions and the lack of spin in the pitch. Tremlett bowled well in parts in the second innings to continue his brilliant form from the first innings and was quite rightly named man of the series.
Overall the Series showed that England can no longer have a policy of four frontline bowlers and need to change to a five frontline bowlers immediately starting with the First Test versus India. Prior has shown great form in this series and the past series as well and should move from seven to number six to accommodate the fifth bowler. This means Eoin Morgan to drop out of the side even though he has been in great form. England were also wrong to play Broad in all three Test Matches I would have not played him in the first two matches due to lack of fitness. He should have played championship and twenty twenty matches to regain full fitness and rhythm in his bowling. The form of Captain Andrew Strauss is a concern and he should have made himself available for the upcoming ODI series versus Sri Lanka to regain his confidence and much needed form.
Sri Lanka would reflect upon this series as very disappointing in large parts because of lack of pace and depth in their bowling. This is because with Malinga opting out of Tests and the huge hole left by the retirements of Murali and Vaas before him. In terms of their batting they would have been well pleased with the return of form of Sangakkara and the continued good form of Dilshan. 


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