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

Well that was about a one sided day of cricket as you could possibly have wished for. Sri Lanka undid all of their good work in the field on Day 1 by dropping 2 dolly’s in the opening hour and then unfortunately the wheels truly fell off. Mooen played beautifully for his century and Anderson & Woakes in particular bowled extremely well, but this was quite horrible from Sri Lanka. They looked like a beaten team going through the motions and wanting to be off the cricket field and back at the team hotel as soon as they possibly could. Whereas you could have some sympathy with the tourists at Headingley when the ball was swinging round corners, there can be no sympathy here, the wicket is flat, the sun was out and there was hardly any swing, just a procession of poor shots from their batsmen.

Angelo Matthews was synonymous of this laissez-faire attitude and he can’t have had too many worse days as captain. From the 2 atrocious reviews in the field (and the equally atrocious review when he had clearly edged it) to the quite baffling field placements when Moeen was batting with the tail. Matthews looked absolutely lost on the field and it brought back memories of Day 4 of the Headingley Test back in 2014 when Cook absolutely lost the plot against the very same opponents. The fact that this Sri Lankan team has regressed so quickly is a sad indictment of the lack of talent they have coming through their domestic system and also clearly shows how much they relied on the superb Sangakkara and Jayawardene. With this Sri Lankan team stripped of these two talents, it looks a long and arduous road ahead for them.

As for Moeen, it was genuinely pleasing to see him convert a score into three figures, which is something he hasn’t done enough based on the talent he has. There is something bewitching about watching him bat from the languid covers drives to the stunning straight sixes he unfurls. Yes, he is slightly inconsistent and yes, you always feel that he could quite easily get out next ball (I don’t think he knows the word leave), but one thing I do know is that he is an entertainer with the bat, and we don’t have too many of them in this current England team. It is interesting that he has made both his century’s from number 7 (which I feel is probably his best position) as he didn’t have to spend most of his innings batting with the tail, the only problem being where do you fit Bairstow and Stokes in this batting line up when they are all fit? I’ll leave that one to the selectors, but in a way it’s a nice problem to have.

It was also good to see Chris Woakes have a positive impact with both ball and bat, though the former was the most important thing in my opinion. I wrote in my preview that Woakes really had to stamp his authority on the game to avoid being branded a ‘county trundler’ and I thought he bowled with decent pace and good rhythm and deserved the wickets that he got. It is clear that he has bulked up from when he first came onto the international scene and he is was the quickest of our seamers today. One swallow doesn’t make a summer and he needs to kick on now and start performing regularly on the International scene, but it was certainly a good to step in the right direction.

The one worry in our bowling unit is Steve Finn, who again looked out of rhythm and un-threatening. When Finn is bowling well, he bowls around 86 mph and hits the wicket hard (I’m afraid the injuries coupled with a certain David Saker have meant that the 90 mph bowler we once had, is sadly no more); however today and to an extent at Headingley, Finn was operating around the 82 mph mark and the ball seemed to be looping out of his hand, making him totally ineffective against what was shell-shocked Sri Lankan batting unit. Finn does seem to be the ultimate confidence bowler and when on form he has the ability to be as good as anyone out there, as he showed with some extremely good bowling displays in the Ashes last year; however when he is slightly out of form or low on confidence, the bowling action seems to fall apart a bit and he becomes almost docile. What you do with Finn at the moment is a tough one for Farbrace & Bayliss, drop him and you risk denting his confidence further or stick with him in the hope he comes good at the risk of carrying a passenger in the field, it’s not a call I would particularly like to make.

As for tomorrow, if England roll out the final two wickets early, then you would expect them to ask Sri Lanka to bat again and there beckons another 3 Day Test, which will also ensure a hefty loss for Durham. Whatever your thoughts on this England team or on Test Cricket in general, days like today are not a good advertisement for the longer form of the game. The reason I fell in love with Test Cricket was the duels and sub-plots of the longer game, the fair battle between bat and ball, not to see a match where one side continues to absolutely hammer another side. Perhaps I am being ungracious and maybe I should be over the moon that England are so in the ascendency in this Test series, but I personally think that rather misses the point.

Anyway Day 3 comments below (and just for WCTT’s information, I have not been paid for this article)…..


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

  1. Mark May 28, 2016 / 6:31 pm

    Does anyone think either Ireland or Afghanistan could do any worse than what has been offered up in the first 2 test matches?

    Thanks a lot ICC and ECB. Your model stinks. Thanks Giles Clark, and Mike Selvey for helping to create un competitive cricket. I’m sure it will be a great seller.

    Liked by 2 people

    • d'Arthez May 28, 2016 / 6:42 pm

      I do.

      They’d have to pay the ECB millions for the “right to tour”, to the point that they can’t afford to send the actual players over. That would result in 0-Day walkovers. It is certainly not beyond the greed of Giles Clarke.


  2. northernlight71 May 28, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    I think even the ECB-ites over at the Guardian might have trouble enjoying this one-sided rubbish. It’s positively painful.
    It’s all good fun when we’re rolling the Aussies over for less than 100 every few years. But to do it to SL for the third time in just over a week surely tells us all something?
    What’s that Westcork? Oh, yes, it’s all just going swimmingly isn’t it, why can’t we just enjoy a bit of success? Right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pktroll (@pktroll) May 28, 2016 / 6:47 pm

      I admit to having preferred watching England v Australia in football last night. England were markedly better than the crims but at least there was a semblance of a contest. Like Sean I really couldn’t fathom Angelo Mathews captaincy and saw a lot of Cook at Headingley two years ago, and that is before their care crash batting.


      • Mark May 28, 2016 / 7:00 pm

        They were banging on about a test match championship on Sky this morning. Good f****** luck with that. I’m sure it will be a belter of a competition. By the way, we are about to go 8-0 up. Is anybody following that?

        This non competitive test match cricket is an interesting idea. Last year although the Ashes ended 3-2 all the matches were one sided. Cardiff was the only one where the Aussies nearly got a draw because it rained all day on the 5 th day. If they had managed to last about another hour they might have avoided defeat.

        What troubles me is I have a suspicion this exactly what they wanted. This was always the outcome of taking the lions share of the money. Flag waving rather than competion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • pktroll (@pktroll) May 28, 2016 / 7:44 pm

        Agree entirely Mark, however there won’t be much money coming their way if that’s what you get as an excuse for test cricket. What tv company worth their salt will pay millions to watch that? Despite some fine bowling by Broad and Anderson and some good performances from Ali and Root with the bat, this was no contest.


      • Mark May 28, 2016 / 8:56 pm

        It is an interesting point how much the new Sky deal will be worth. How much would you pay for more like this? Tuppence?


  3. nonoxcol May 28, 2016 / 6:52 pm

    Some people are going to pipe up with “it’s no more one-sided than when England were being regularly beaten by the 80s West Indians or 90s/00s Australians.”

    Number of three-day Tests between England and the West Indies in the 1980s:

    1980 – nil
    1980/81 – nil
    1984 – nil
    1985/86 – 2
    1988 – nil

    Number of three-day Tests between England and the Australia, 1989-2002/03:

    1989 – nil
    1990/91 – 1 (which was a very tight low-scoring game until the fourth innings)
    1993 – nil
    1994/95 – nil
    1997 – 1 (which England won, by 19 runs, i.e. it was some match)
    1998/99 – 1
    2001 – 1 (which was a very tight low-scoring game until the fourth innings)
    2002/03 – 1

    In other words, come the end of the Bank Holiday weekend (and weather permitting, of course) you might well have seen as many utterly embarrassing, three-day, one-sided thrashings in the space of a fortnight as you saw in eight years against the West Indians of Lloyd and Richards, and in fourteen years against the Australians of Border, Taylor and Waugh.

    Regarding major (top eight) opponents who have stunk the place out in the 21st century, three spring to mind: the 2004 West Indians capitulated in three days once and the 2011 Indians not at all. Which leaves the 2014 Indians, surely this decade’s benchmark for staggering ineptitude and bloody awful Test cricket: they did so twice, and in a manner the likes of which I never saw from a major opponent in 33 years prior to 2014. So this is two home seasons in three during which England have hosted such dire Test matches, and in the middle were five of the least competitive Ashes Tests I’ve ever followed. No wonder everyone wants you to cast your mind back to the New Zealand series of 2015, is there?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sean B May 28, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      The 2014 Indian team had to be the most spineless of the lot. I went to Day 4 at the Oval and they were basically on the plane. Gambhir running himself out 1 delivery before they went off for rain was a personal favourite. At least in 2011, England were somewhere near their prime, though i still remember laughing at Yuvraj and Raina floundering against the short ball, in 2014 they had no excuses, we were a poor team carrying a Captain.

      The NZ Tests in 2015 were some of the best i’ve seen in terms of two teams matched equally, who both both played good cricket and played in a great spirit. It seems like the exception rather than the norm these days.


    • northernlight71 May 28, 2016 / 8:05 pm

      One of the things I really really love about you NOC is that you supply all these handy facts which I’m too stupid/lazy to work out for myself but which demolish most of the nonsense we read on certain other internet sites to do with cricket.
      Well, that and the Nye Bevan profile picture 🙂


      • nonoxcol May 28, 2016 / 8:10 pm


        I see you’ve got wctt going again this evening…


      • northernlight71 May 28, 2016 / 9:55 pm

        Wctt is like my eczema.
        I know I shouldn’t scratch it, but it’s just too irritating to ignore.


      • nonoxcol May 28, 2016 / 9:59 pm

        I re-hashed the above post for the Guardian thread.

        I bet the guy who thinks sides containing at least two of Gooch, Stewart, Gower, Atherton, Thorpe, Trescothick and Hussain were regularly bowled out for 91 & 119 ends up with more recs though.


        • LordCanisLupus May 28, 2016 / 10:34 pm

          I’ve been on a brewery tour of New Jersey. Well, three in south jersey. I loved the name “Bringing Sexy Bock”. However most US brewers aim for maximum ABV. The result is maximum ABV at expense of quality taste. Trying to link this to English cricket.

          Let me recover first. Hic.


      • nonoxcol May 29, 2016 / 11:17 am

        wctt is one thing, but you’ve even brought the mighty Mike Daniels out of hibernation to make the same point! Nice work.

        Has anyone ever seen wctt and Mike D in the same room?


        Liked by 1 person

      • Sean B May 28, 2016 / 8:13 pm

        Full respect for those sticking with the Guardian’s BTL, I left that a couple of years ago due to the presence of a few lovely individuals who would shout me down for daring to question our ‘Dear Lord of Cricket – Mike Selvey’.

        And those were the posts that made it past the mods (generally one in four). In the end I decided to stop wasting my time and energy on that site.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. jomesy May 28, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    Well there it is. The greatest of sporting contests, IMO, reduced to off-the-shelf gratification.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather May 29, 2016 / 12:02 pm

      So sad,so true….. and now the death knell tolls for Tests…. and 50 over ODI’s aren’t loved…well, let’s do both….looking forward to the 50/50/50/50 two-day, two innings ‘Test’, which to appease the purists, will be played in whites…(sponsored by a white cement company)


      • Mark May 29, 2016 / 12:05 pm

        Or how about One day 20/20 20/20 Test matches?

        Best of 25 over the summer.


    • Mark May 28, 2016 / 8:59 pm

      They have drunk deep at the well of the Kool aide.

      A Cook reference is baked into the cake.


    • nonoxcol May 29, 2016 / 7:27 am

      Clive makes rather good snowflake-baiting one-line joke about Cook, chief snowflake modded. Just another day BTL…


  5. Sean B May 28, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    You can’t spell England Test team without Alastair Cook…


  6. Grenville May 28, 2016 / 11:43 pm

    From http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/1020047.html

    Once they reach 10,000 regular participants, which should be within a year, the GCB will become eligible to receive funding from the German Olympic Committee. And if cricket becomes an Olympic sport, the GCB would stand to receive €1 million a year from the government: about four times its total revenue currently. It would be enough to buy copious amounts of cricket equipment, and to build good-quality new grounds, which are badly needed: every week more teams can’t organise matches because there are no grounds free.

    But no, cricket at the olympics is a non-starter.


    • d'Arthez May 29, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Now, the ECB may be persuaded, for merely 900 k / year in “consulting fees”. See, cricket in the Olympics can be beneficial for the ECB …


  7. Benny May 29, 2016 / 12:28 am

    I agree with all the sentiments here. If we want England to thrash a weak team, why bother with an international side. Anyshire 2nd XI will do.

    If we want to attract more people to come along to cricket ……………


  8. d'Arthez May 29, 2016 / 9:25 am

    Meanwhile the most inept cricket board to actually organise fixtures (thus holding of competition from ZC) struggles to be competitive with a local side…


    Now, I know these are only warmups, but it is not like the Barbados side was full strength either. Sure the West Indies may up their game a bit. Batsmen who averaged <20 in the domestic one day competition get picked, while the best opener in that competition was not. I am not sure how much of "upping their game" some of these players can actually do.

    Oh, and over the last decade, West Indies were already the only major side who can play at home with a W/L record of less than one at home against major opposition. West Indies basically win one game for every two they lose at home. Pakistan are on 7/8, but they played their last ODI at home more than 7 years ago.


  9. CRICKETJON May 29, 2016 / 9:27 am

    Just listening to Selvey on CWOTV taking about Cook and the 10,000 runs that is no longer a milestone but become a millstone. Where does this rainbow end? This will be the same Selvey that has been banging on about Cooks 10k antecedent to the struggle that Cook has had in getting there. They just make this **** up as they go along

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 29, 2016 / 9:45 am

      It was priceless. They were not in the tv studio, but sitting on a balcony. CWOTV Alfresco! Selvey looked like he was dressed for the Winter Olympics, not a test match.

      It only lasts 30 minutes these days. Sky have managed to dump half an hour. Selvey claiming the 10,000 runs was a statistic irrelevence will Iam sure not be appearing in his article when Cook finally falls over the line and gets the runs.

      What gets me is they reeled off all the things we have been saying on here for the last few years. The allocation of test matches is not good. Durham didn’t know they were getting this test match in relation to the Leeds one a week ago. They were bidding blind. Selvey claimed that you have to grow the game through 20/20. Fewer test matches each year. Perhaps grounds like Durham and Southampton should only have 20/20 matches.

      They touched on Compton and it was all played with a straight bat. “We must not write him off” they said that with a straight face. Interestingly they were clueless who might replace him.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. d'Arthez May 29, 2016 / 10:44 am

    So follow on enforced. Anyone hopeful this will last to tea?

    Follow on enforced for the second time this series. Last time England did that was against Bangladesh at home in 2010. Bangladesh got rewarded with a decade of not playing England in any bilateral series. Will the ECB show the same courtesy to Sri Lanka? It certainly would free up the calendar for more Aus – England ODIs and T20s ….

    I honestly would not be surprised if England scored more from wickets 6 through 10 this series, than Sri Lanka for all their wickets, despite probably going to bat twice as often. That will probably be a first for a three-match series.

    Sorry if I sound cynical, but I am sure Leicestershire would have given England more of a game than this Sri Lanka side. The standard is extremely low from Sri Lanka, and as such, this is more akin to a public flogging than anything resembling competitive sports.

    Any news on the attendance figures over the past few days?


    • Mark May 29, 2016 / 11:18 am

      They were boasting it was nearly a full house yesterday. Seeing as this is a bank holiday weekend and this may be the last test match at this ground that may be why. Looks quite a good crowd in today.

      I see dear old Beefy is getting irritated.,he wants us to praise ENGLAND for being very good rather than blame Sri Lanka. England can only beat what’s put in front of them true, but this is not very good opponents. I’m glad I haven’t bought a ticket for this. Anyway maybe they will score 500 second time round.


    • Escort May 29, 2016 / 3:06 pm

      It’s past tea now.


      • Mark May 29, 2016 / 3:20 pm

        They will be hoping it will last into tomorrow so an extra days revenue will be earned.


    • d'Arthez May 29, 2016 / 5:49 pm

      Finally some resolve from Sri Lanka. Pity it is at least 2 innings too late to actually make much of an impact on the series. An you cannot help but feel that part of the reason that Sri Lanka are doing reasonably well, is that the pressure is basically off. Sri Lanka will need a lot of rain to save this one, especially with the tail they have. So the intensity is probably not as high from England, while at the same time Sri Lanka know that the only thing they’re batting for is pride. The series had already been lost with their first innings shambles.

      I don’t blame England for losing intensity – because the gulf of class in these conditions is enormous.
      It is now 410/15, vs 271/4d (England’s total for the last 4 wickets this Test). In the last Test it was 210/20 vs. 215/5 (England’s total for the last 5 wickets in the previous Test). That makes 620/35 vs. 486/9 for the series thus far. Or in terms of averages 17.71 / wicket vs. 54.00 / wicket.

      In terms of bowling averages, Jimmy’s “poor performance” this innings, means that his series average is now a touch above 8, making it by far the best series he has ever had with the ball (in terms of average). Which is the 8th-best return for an England bowler who has taken 5 or more wickets (and 9th best from all nations), and bowled in 4 or more innings – with 5 of those better returns occurring in the 19th century (Lohmann, Peel and Briggs 3 times).


  11. Grenville May 29, 2016 / 12:37 pm

    A little thought, Sri Lanka were off their game yesterday. England were ruthless about it. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen a ruthless England team. That is something. I was also very impressed with Ali. I’d drop one of Vince or Compton, move Ali up to 6 and bring in Woakes (I’m assuming that Stokes is fit again at some point soon) or Jordan or Rashid. I’d also make him Captain. Cook is still a clueless, poor skipper. I reckon Ali has the right combination of intelligence, bloody mindedness and not giving a shit about whether Anderson likes him to make a good captain.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Grenville May 29, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Also, do people fancy a trip to Brighton for a game of cricket at some point this summer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather May 29, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      If you’re desperate… I can offer a left-arm once pacey-ish swing bowler who hasn’t turned his arm over for 20 years, a late order left-hand swish and hit (or more often not, but can block well),batsman, a fielder who could never chase a ball, nor catch in the outfield, but can slip-catch, and throw hard if banished to fine leg….and, most importantly, a real ale expert! 😉


    • CRICKETJON May 29, 2016 / 6:57 pm

      up for a game in the summer or at the very least an “Outside Cricket” meet up


    • Grenville May 29, 2016 / 9:03 pm

      Cool, I’ll keep agitating for it.


      • Sean B May 29, 2016 / 9:14 pm

        Sussex isn’t a million miles from where I live and I do like Hove as a venue, so calendar permitting, I’d be up for it.


  13. thebogfather May 29, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    Just posted this on the latest Selvey/Cook love-in…

    And the point of this article is?
    Nothing more than a stenographer’s kiss
    To team ECB/Sky, as Sheep is still a boundary plus shy
    Of all the ‘greatest ever’ diatribes stagnating in supply
    For however momentous an achievement it is
    This continued puffery just takes the p!ss
    From true cricket lovers who understand the wider view
    Where quantity over quality is the Big3 monied pursuit
    And as long as the supporter has a wallet to be stolen
    Then reporting blind eyed is the reality as bank balances are swollen
    By greed above the good of the game
    Dear press, hang your heads in shame
    For you do not ask the questions or dig deep
    Alas, my Arlott, my Cozier, my Game… I weep…


    • thebogfather May 29, 2016 / 4:09 pm

      My comment is still there and ignored…. I presume the usual sussed-pects and all are at the match….
      posted a response to the non respondees anyway! lol

      ‘And yes… I do mean ‘diatribes’ as opposed to eulogies, as each puff piece (and I’m not aiming this purely at those relating to Cook), is disingenuous to those of us who see the wider picture of our game being ripped apart buy money minded oafs and complicit journalists’.

      (I’m damn good at talking to myself, here, there or anywhere! 🙂

      Time to recline with some fruits of the vine…. have a great day all!


      • thebogfather May 29, 2016 / 4:17 pm

        Oh, apparently it’s the IPL final today… Sunrisers 208-7 v RCB at the halfway stage….it may finish after this ‘Test’….


      • d'Arthez May 29, 2016 / 6:22 pm

        Really Can’t Bowl lived up to their billing. Did not bowl too well, and despite a serious onslaught by Gayle and Kohli fell short chasing 208/7.


  14. TheVickster May 29, 2016 / 4:59 pm

    It’s not going to happen, but it would be very amusing if the Lankans managed to stagger over the F/O line leaving Cook to have to come out to bat just to get his 5 runs. No big hoorah at Lords but a few people who had bothered to turn up to see the final rites clapping politely in the stands.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. quebecer May 29, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    I was wondering where you’d all got to…


    • fred May 29, 2016 / 6:20 pm

      Hello!!! I’m far less grumpy over here (because I have no reason to be).
      I was wondering when you would turn up.


    • Zephirine May 29, 2016 / 6:45 pm

      Hey quebecer!! You took your time getting here. I was thinking we might have to send out a rescue team of huskies.


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