England vs. Sri Lanka – Day 2

TLG is now off on his travels and LCL is preparing for his holiday, so I’m afraid you’re stuck with me tonight!

Day 2 started off as looking like it could be a close contest, but the mid-afternoon gloom, always a decisive factor at Headingley, combined with some great bowling from Anderson and Broad means there is a very real chance that this could be a 3 day Test. Whilst we shouldn’t take anything away from the English bowling this afternoon, it was a pretty meek surrender by an admittedly inexperienced Sri-Lankan batting line up in alien conditions.

I thought Sri-Lanka bowled well in the morning aided by the odd brain fart by the English batsmen. Chameera looks a real prospect having bowled extremely well in New Zealand over the winter and again deserved his wickets today and Pradeep whilst not being incredibly incisive, managed to keep a lid on the run rate. They’re not the world-beaters that Sanath Jayasuriya proclaimed them to be, but in helpful conditions they’re not a popgun attack either.

The fact that we got to nearly 300 is mainly down to the exploits of Jonny Bairstow, who aided by the Watford Wall, launched a counter attack innings that reminded be of Matt Prior in his prime and took the game away from Sri-Lanka in the hour before lunch. Bairstow has had a stop start beginning to his Test career and didn’t necessarily convince to begin with, but it seems like he now feels he belongs in the International arena and is backing that up with some serious performances to match. There have been some interjections that England should move him up to number 5 to accommodate a specialist wicket keeper (me included), but in hindsight I think it’s probably right to leave him where he is for now. Batting at 7 with the tail and often against the new ball is a specialist position and Bairstow seems to thrive on having the licence to attack at number 7.

A small word too for Alex Hales who fell short of his century after what can only be described as a fairly ugly shot. Whilst he didn’t make it through to three figures, I think he deserves some credit for battling through on what looked like a difficult pitch to bat on. I would like to see some more attacking intent from him, but it does look like he has worked on his game since the South Africa series and his footwork when playing outside of off stump looked far more assured. Is he the opener that we’ve been looking for, I’m not so sure, but I think he deserves the rest of the summer to try and cement his place.

A final note is reserved for the bowlers and especially James Anderson. Anderson is now touching on 34, a youngster in my book, but a veteran in cricketing terms. He seems to thrive in conditions such as the ones served overhead today and he bowled with great control throughout the whole innings. The ball that got rid of Shanaka was a typical example of how to bowl with favourable overhead conditions and was a trademark Jimmy wicket. There doesn’t seem to be another Anderson type bowler coming through the ranks, which must serve as a worry when he finally decides to hang up his boots.

On a side note it also the start of the “mediocre” T20 blast tonight with Essex vs. the ‘South London massive’ live on Sky. Now whatever you think of the English T20 competition (there are those that think it’s great and those who want a Franchise competition to replace it), I’m not sure it’s great form for the Chairman of the ECB to label it mediocre, especially when the organisation he works for is far less competent than mediocre. I’m sure his friends from Sky will have called him last night and tomorrow it will be world beating again, either that or he’ll be locked back in his cupboard for another year!

Anyway Day 3 comments below and with any luck you may get LCL back tomorrow so you don’t have to put up with my drivel.

Have a good evening.

Sean B

Update – Day 3 Comments below….