England vs. Sri Lanka – 2nd Test, Day 1

I’m writing this with the caveat that I’ve only seen a few of the highlights of the day’s play, so it perhaps won’t be as comprehensive as some of the Test match reports on here!

I think England will reflect on it as a decent but not spectacular performance. Hales, Root and Bairstow all played well but no one was able to go on and make that big hundred that would have batted Sri Lanka out of the game. This is a criticism that I have had with the English batting unit for some time as they’re frustratingly consistently inconsistent. When looking back at many of our victories over the past couple of years, it has generally been our bowling that has won us the game with the odd decent support act from one of the front line batsmen (usually Root). If England do have real ambitions to get to the number 1 test position, then our batsmen will have stand up and be counted on a more consistent basis and that starts with converting those 60’s & 70’s into big hundreds.

Cook and Compton both failed again, with the latter falling to a fantastic catch and the former playing a fairly ordinary shot. I don’t like to ratchet up the pressure on any of our batsmen, but you do feel that Compton needs to score some runs in the second innings to prevent the ‘sack Compton’ campaign going into overdrive, however even then it may prove to be too late. It seems that England on average give our batsmen 15 games to prove themselves as an Test player – Morgan, Ballance and Buttler are all stuck on the 15 game mark (though I hasten to say the latter two still have realistic chances of representing England in the Test arena again). This is Compton’s 15th game today and unfortunately it seems it may be his last. As for Cook, the ‘all praise our hero’ media bandwagon has again had to be tucked away ready for another day.

As for Sri Lanka, they seemed to bowl fairly well as they did at Headlingley and the catches that they took to dismiss Compton and Hales were absolutely top drawer. The pitch doesn’t seem to be doing as much as it did at Headingley and if they can bowl out England for 350 and apply themselves sensibly, then we might actually have a fairly even contest on our hands. I think the morning session of tomorrow’s play will probably be the one that defines this Test Match.

On a final note, do try and listen to Jonathan Agnew’s interview with Graeme Fowler on TMS around cricket and mental health. I thought it was a truly superb interview and Fowler was extremely candid about his experiences of poor mental health. It was also heartening to see Monty Panesar coming out in the press about the challenges he faced with his mental health and how he feels in a better place now. The fact that he has been made an ‘Ambassador for Mental Health’ by the PCA hopefully shows that cricket is finally taking this issue seriously and that players will hopefully have the right structures in place should they find themselves in a similar position rather than being branded as ‘difficult individuals’.

I did say this would be a brief post – Day 2 comments below:


24 thoughts on “England vs. Sri Lanka – 2nd Test, Day 1

  1. sgtcookieblog May 27, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Thanks Sean. Botham’s involvement with Fowler (having the car waiting outside) sounds highly impressive. Aggers’ surprise that someone as well liked, confident, funny as Fowler could end up with depression highlights some of the ignorance out there. The brain is a complex piece of kit and it is little wonder it needs some help from time to time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mark May 27, 2016 / 10:32 pm

    I fear for Compton. Boycotts summery on TMS was exactly right. If England want a more dynamic player they should not pick him. But to ask a player who plays quite slowly to score his runs quicker will only lead to what we see here.

    There is a media campaign to get him out, and it has involved a plan to not allow him to play his natural game. How can he play his natural game if the media moan he is too slow? When a player is under pressure he needs to just play his own game. Compton is between a rock and hard place. If he bats slowly and scores runs he is told it’s too slow. If he tries to play some shots and gets out the media demand his head. The media just want him out, and seeing the media just parrot certain voices from the dressing room we can guess who really wants him out.

    In a team of stroke makers it seems to me a player who grafts is not a bad thing. But as ever in test cricket you have to score runs. Compton should just do it his way and if it’s too slow then let ENGLAND drop him.

    I think England are in a strong position. If they can add another 100 odd tomorrow it should be game over. The only issue will then be if SL can avoid the follow on and force ENGLAND to bat again. And we all know what that means.


    • LordCanisLupus May 27, 2016 / 11:53 pm

      I think only rain prevents an England victory and an 8-0 lead in the Super Series.

      Today was precisely what is wrong with cricket and why we need some more thought. I am a potential customer. I am on holiday but with a couple of days to kill. I would like to pay to watch England play, if there is a streaming video and reasonable fee. I found watching through a VPN last year an absolute pain. It fell 10 minutes behind, I had constant buffering and in the end packed it in.

      So I tried to log on to TMS. No. Not available in the US. Someone told me it was available on Youtube after the event, so I might give that a go.

      I’m not chancing illegal streams and their exotic viruses.

      So I want to watch cricket, or at least listen to it. I might pay for the former. But no. Nothing.

      I ended up listening to Guerilla Cricket. It’s a great service, it’s delivered by keen people, but it really wasn’t for me. I didn’t fine the jingles funny, I thought it didn’t quite cover enough of what was going on, and I heard two “greatest evers/ in the world” in the hour or so I listened to it (Joe Root – England’s greatest ever #4; Broad and Anderson, greatest partnership in world cricket at the moment – which might be true). As you know, as I’ve told the greatest ever blog audience, I hate hyperbole. I really do. But thanks to them, at least I could vaguely follow what was going on. Great work, people, you are a bloody decent service even if I’m a miserable old bear with a hayfevered sore head!

      Thanks to you all for keeping the blog going while Chris and I do our overseas thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark May 28, 2016 / 12:11 am

        I’m not the person to ask on this Dmitri because I am not a techie. But I understand there is a way of fooling BBC I player into thinking you are in the UK when in fact your are in the US.

        Many Americans listen using this method and so do Brits on holiday in the USA. Maybe this trick no longer exists, but I have have heard it certainly used to work. Don’t ask me I m just the piano player.


      • Rooto May 28, 2016 / 6:22 am

        I live abroad and pay C$5 a month for something called Tunnel Bear. Unlimited access and you can choose the country to tunnel into. I’m sure other systems are available. Channel 5 and iPlayer open up. It was worth it’s weight in gold during the snooker… I don’t feel bad about getting round the geo-restrictions because I do pay a licence fee back in the UK.
        Delete this if I’ve broken any rules by naming it.
        On the other hand, search for tms live on YouTube because that’s how I was listening yesterday.


      • Rooto May 28, 2016 / 6:23 am

        Slightly embarrassed about that rogue apostrophe.


      • Ian May 28, 2016 / 2:27 pm

        I always found the idea of Test Match Sofa or Guerilla Cricket better than it actually ends up being but good on them for trying. They do seem to get a lot of their listeners from people in your position at the moment.


  3. nonoxcol May 27, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    The ever-charming wctt has officially accused several of us of being sock puppets, and declares that “the comments section is a much better place these days” without all that those frightful dissenting views.


    • LordCanisLupus May 27, 2016 / 11:42 pm

      I’ve just had to fork out a fortune at Urgent Care over here after reading that. It’s for bruising on my cranium from being patted on the head repeatedly in a patronising manner.

      Were we paid? Fuck me. Does he actually have a fucking clue? If I was paid, I’m sure the money got lost in the post somewhere.


      • nonoxcol May 28, 2016 / 8:04 am

        There’s a follow-up in which Clive points out where all the real people are and why they left. Of course, wctt takes the opportunity to imply that, because he seems to know a lot about them, Clive may actually have *been* those people…

        I don’t think his argument is all that dissimilar to the likes of Selvey and Smith, who could not believe all the plebs had strong opinions and put it all down to an “organised campaign” or “the mob”.


      • Mark May 28, 2016 / 8:21 am

        The Internet we want………

        Or rather the Internet the establishment want. and their blithering idiot fans.


      • Zephirine May 28, 2016 / 10:45 am

        Ah, the soldier for truth explains why it was his sacred duty to ‘challenge’ (= personally attack/patronise/ harass) so many commenters. They were paid mercenaries. That of course is the only possible explanation for why people could, in defiance of all sense and logic, disagree with him. Thus, he is retrospectively justified and all’s right with the world.

        Liked by 1 person

    • fred May 27, 2016 / 11:57 pm

      Now I’ve got your number Lord Canis Lupus, westcork has exposed you. No wonder you spend so much time in the US, it’s all a big conspiracy, you’re paid for this seditious blog, probably by the CIA, to undermine the English establishment.
      I’m going to check the Panama Papers for any reference to canislupus.

      Liked by 1 person

      • fred May 28, 2016 / 12:24 am

        Ah, that’s where you hide those wodges of cash they pay you!


    • Sean B May 28, 2016 / 9:00 am

      Wow, I know the guy is a clueless halfwit but he has surpassed himself with that comment. How does us folk have different opinions to our glorious leader Mike Selvey!!!

      What a tool…


  4. sidesplittin May 28, 2016 / 6:16 am

    Like most, I don’t really care if Compton is a good bloke, a bad bloke, kind to cats, or not kind to cats.

    What’s of interest to me is whether he’s one of the best six batsmen in England and merits his place in the team ? Discuss.


    • Northern Light May 28, 2016 / 7:40 am

      I don’t even care about that, to be honest. I care that even if he were one of the six best batsmen (which I suspect he isn’t) he still wouldn’t get a decent run in the team because he’s upset the wrong people at the wrong times.
      That’s how the team is run these days. It hasn’t changed and it still stinks.


    • Mark May 28, 2016 / 8:11 am

      Who are the best six batsman in England? Is Vince? Is Compton? Cook and Root are the two best established players. Bairstow has been in and out of the team over the last 4 years, but is now trying to establish himslef. No one doubts Hales ODI and 20/20 skill, but is he one of the best six test players? Is he one of the two best openers in England?

      They have decided to dispense with Bell, and Ballance, and Various openers. Taylor has retired through illness. But as Northern Light says it’s not about that. Someone or some people in the set up who are very in with the cricket media don’t want Compton in the team. He is held to a different standard to other players. (A road we have been down before with this team) If he fails, he is cricicsed, if he scores runs as he did in SA he is told they are too slow.,(we may need someone who can bat slow when we are in India in the winter.)

      The issue is why are powerful people in the dressing room trying to undermine a certain player? and why do we have a selction panel if these people in the dressing romom think they should pick the team? We have seen this movie before. Compton may well have played his last innings for England. It’s a shame he has tried to change to fit in with the critics. He would have been better off just batting his own way, scoring runs, and if they want to drop him for speed then force them to do so. Now he is dammed if he does dammed if he doesn’t.

      Asuming the England coach and selectors want Compton in the team, who are the upstarts who think they should be able to overrule this?


  5. thelegglance May 28, 2016 / 11:18 am

    Good stuff Sean. I’m only online periodically so it’s great to catch up on the report and comments.

    For those idly interested and in the spirit of rampant self promotion, I’ve posted a few articles on this trip over at my travel blog now, so if you are vaguely interested in Laos feel free to wander on over so I’m not just talking to my marketing department!



  6. nonoxcol May 28, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    Angelo Mathews inexplicably paying tribute to Cook’s lowest captaincy moment…


    • Sean B May 28, 2016 / 3:49 pm

      It was absolutely baffling to say the least


  7. nonoxcol May 28, 2016 / 4:59 pm

    I used to pay £46 per month for this.



  8. d'Arthez May 28, 2016 / 5:20 pm

    Will Sri Lanka bother to make even one fifty this Test series?


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