England vs. Sri Lanka – 2nd Test, Day 3

Day 3 finally saw something that has been missing from this entire series, a bit of fight from the Sri Lankan tourists. After we took the last two Sri Lankan first innings wickets in the morning, it could be genuinely feared that this contest wouldn’t last until Tea, such has been the fragility of the tourists batting line up, however thankfully there was no such repeat of the first innings.

The Sri Lankan batsmen did the basics well, left the ball outside off stump, moved their feet better, didn’t go lunging after the ball on a fifth stump line and scored runs when the loose deliveries came. As I said yesterday, there are absolutely no demons in this pitch, nor has there been any swing throughout the whole 3 days, which just shows how meek their first innings performance actually was. All of the Batsmen pretty much got a start except Karunaratne, who doesn’t seem to know where his stumps are, and Silva, Chandimal and particularly Matthews all looked good on a docile batting surface. There will be hopes in the Sri Lankan dressing room that Chandimal in particular can kick on tomorrow, as no doubt he is a decent batsmen, but in my opinion, he was batting two slots to high in the batting order in the first innings.

As for England, it was a frustrating kind of day. I think the bowlers almost expected Sri Lanka to roll over again and they seemed to lack the nip that they had in the first innings. They all bowled fairly tidily against a much-improved batting performance on a fairly placid pitch, but there wasn’t the same intensity as there was yesterday afternoon. . It could just be that being out in the field for 5 sessions has jaded them somewhat, however you guess they will want to remove Chandimal and Siriwardana fairly early with the new ball in the morning; otherwise another frustrating session tomorrow morning might be in order. I thought Moeen bowled well, including an absolute peach of a delivery to get rid of Thirimanne and Woakes again was the quickest of the seamers, but all in all it looked like a day for batting

As for the match situation, England are still massive favourites to win the game tomorrow from here; however if Sri Lanka can eek out another 200 runs or so then England might face a tricky chase as you would expect this pitch to start to deteriorate at some point over the next couple of days. Amusingly, Sri Lanka also have the opportunity to ruin the Cook 10,000 runs party penciled in for his mates at Lords, indeed the cynic in me would quite like to see him stride out to the middle chasing a target of around 12 or so in front of a half empty Chester-Le-Street, but that’s just my cynicism getting the better of me!

Day 4 comments below….


25 thoughts on “England vs. Sri Lanka – 2nd Test, Day 3

  1. jennyah46 May 29, 2016 / 7:00 pm

    Re Cook.

    From all accounts it seems that he is as keen to get it over and done with as anyone else. Told Aggers he is fed up with people asking him about it.

    He has never been happy in the spotlight. I have little doubt that he would love to make his 10.000 in front of nobody and get the interviews done and dusted ASAP.

    You are being uncharitable Sean and it’s not like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sean B May 29, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    Hi Jenny,

    Perhaps I am being slightly churlish about Cook, as you are well aware I’m not his biggest fan (neither am I his biggest critic either), I just can’t stand the media hype that surrounds and hails him as our ‘King of Kings’.

    I wrote a piece on Cook and the ECB/MSM hype earlier on in the year, which better sums up my feelings on the matter – https://beingoutsidecricket.com/2016/01/29/guest-post-dont-blame-it-on-the-sunshine-blame-it-on-the-ecb/

    Whatever happens, I will congratulate Cook when he gets to 10,000 runs, but it won’t be as overhyped compared to what we’ll see from the MSM & Sky.


    • jennyah46 May 30, 2016 / 5:58 am

      Thanks for the link Sean. It was very interesting to have a second reading of ‘don’t blame it on the sunshine’ now that time has passed and we are into another season.

      You were onto something with your analogy of the battle of Pharasalus. ‘They wanted this’. That very same question was posed the other day in the light of the current decline in attendances and problems arising from the May test matches being played in freezing conditions at grounds not more than 100 miles apart. Not forgetting the bidding process which has left Durham up the financial creek without a paddle.

      It grieves me that ECB mismanagement is seen to reflect on Cook in a personal way because as with the MSM there is nothing he can do to make anything different.

      He always was a doubtful captain! I thought so even before he was appointed.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) May 30, 2016 / 7:30 am

        One thing I’m happy to say is that when Cook reached his 25th century at Headingley in 2013 v New Zealand, he had played but 92 tests. If he had continued at a similar level he would have been up there with the contemporary greats in terms of century per test conversions. However it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he’s done the opposite of that since that time. Not only that but we’ve then had the utter idiocy in the MSM that completely overlooks that to the point that you get the impression that we are not allowed to mention it. To me, little of this is the fault of Cook but at the same time some of his petulant behaviour in the media from the Headingley test 2 years ago until that time when he had a not too subtle did at Morgan just can’t make me warm to him.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. sgtcookieblog May 29, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    I haven’t seen the channel 5 highlights for the last two days so appreciate these reports Sean. I started reading this fearing the worse so enjoyed reading there’s been a contest and your appraisal of the 10000 situation, many thanks.


    • Sean B May 29, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      Many thanks SgtCookie. Today was a pretty turgid day if I’m being totally honest, hence the shortened entry. The pitch was pretty lifeless and the bowlers seemed to a bit jaded. It was good to SL apply themselves properly with the bat, 3 day walk overs are simply not good for the game.


  4. Zephirine May 29, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    Thanks for your match reports, Sean, all good stuff.

    I don’t feel any particular need to be ‘charitable’ to the wealthy and successful Alastair Cook, but I imagine he will be glad to get the 10,000 runs over with now. There’s been quite a bit of criticism of his captaincy in this match, he obviously needs to regain some focus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Quebecer May 30, 2016 / 12:58 am

      Well, hello there. 🙂

      You know, I am desperately please for anyone to reach such a landmark. I can’t help but have all the things I admire about Cook come to the fore regarding this one.


      • Quebecer May 30, 2016 / 1:00 am

        Oh learn how to make se technology, quebecer, for goodness sake.

        As I was saying, I can’t help taking the positives on this one. The rest falls away for me at such times, and the achievement itself and what he’s gone through to get there leaves me happy, nothing else.

        As does seeing you, sister! xo


      • Rooto May 30, 2016 / 4:54 am

        Hello q. Nothing to add, just good to see you.
        Actually I could add something, not an argument, just a thought brewing up in my head.
        It’s really about time an England player got to 10,000 runs, the number of tests we play. Why do players keep falling short? Boycott took himself out for a couple of years in the 70s and was an Apartheid appeaser. Gooch too, and then Gooch took out Gower. KP was taken out by management (but injuries may well have put him behind Cook by now anyway). So, in a better world Cook would be 4th or 5th to the mark. It’s a great feat, but above all a sign of longevity. If Shivnarine Chanderpaul can get 10,000 runs then Alastair Cook can. Especially as he’s undroppable.
        Personally, I too hope he gets 5 runs in an England second innings, we can pat him on the back and say “Well done, now many more, please”, and move on. I don’t want to rain on his parade – well done him! – as anyway it seems he doesn’t want a parade. But I especially don’t want to see the cricket sections of the media jammed up with syrupy OTT eulogies (sorry, Bogfather!)

        Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol May 30, 2016 / 5:50 am

        But for illness, I think Tres would have had a better than even money shot of being first to 10k.

        Which I guess is part of the reason this milestone leaves me stone cold. Notwithstanding the fact that Cook has maximised his own talent (more so than Pietersen, for example, who really should have averaged over 50), there is something pre-ordained and entitled about the whole thing. I don’t like being told how to feel about his struggles and strife, as if he’s somehow had to cope with unique adversity, when even his immediate predecessor (Tres) went through something far tougher and lost an international career because of it.

        And of course many captains have been treated far worse for far less. As SimonH pointed out, once 10k is done, the next one coming down the mountain is most Test wins as England captain. He will be kept in place for as long as it takes, and few in the MSM will bother looking at his win percentage, just as very few now bother with his average or number of innings when referring to the 10k.

        You have to go quite a long way down the list of England’s top Test run scorers in my lifetime to find anyone I cared less about or who provided less enjoyment than Cook. No amount of pageantry will stop such blasphemous sentiment, I’m afraid.

        Liked by 2 people

      • hatmallet May 30, 2016 / 12:38 pm

        Tresco managed 5,800 from 76 Tests at nearly 44. He was 30 as of his last Test.

        I don’t think he would have got to 10,000. He’d have to have played 140+ Tests whilst maintaining form and motivation. We say what happened with Bell once some of that motivation was lost.

        At best, I think he would have got close to Gooch.


        • LordCanisLupus May 31, 2016 / 12:59 am

          Do you think Bell lacked motivation?

          One school of thought was that once Cook had got his ton in Barbados, and don’t forget Bell got a lovely hundred at Antigua and thoughts of dropping him were miles away, then with Cook’s place solidified, Bell could be let go as vice captain. This could, quite easily, be read as a slap in the face. Bell’s run of form wasn’t that different to Cook’s, but Bell was chopped. He was finished a little over two years after he’d carried the English batting in a home Ashes series, digging us out of holes.

          Why, when his form slipped, was it down to “motivation” while when Cook’s went it was “extreme mental fortitude”?


      • SimonH May 30, 2016 / 5:43 pm

        Matt, given that England play 12-13 Tests a year, Tres would have reached 140 Tests by the age of 35-36. Batsmen in every other country are able to go on to that age (and beyond), as were England batsmen in the past, so it doesn’t seem at all incredible.

        Tres would have reached the landmark around 2011. In that year, he averaged just shy of 80 in the CC which suggests he would still have been plenty good enough.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. man in a barrel May 29, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Not having been able to see much of the cricket, it seemed from the web as if both Mathews and Cook have struggled to get the game moving. However, I did see the final few overs and both Anderson and Broad were bowling low 80s with the new ball. Are they just keeping their reserves for a big burst tomorrow under the morning clouds or have they shot their bolts already? I remember how Anderson in the 2013 Ashes had to bowl a longish spell in the Trent Bridge Test and that seemed to reduce his intensity for the rest of the series. His penultimate over tonight was in the low 80s mph….Finn is struggling for rhythm. For the sake of both Durham CC and the international game, this match needs to last untill tomorrow. The odds are still against it but it is ominous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) May 30, 2016 / 8:37 am

      With Wood’s injury problems and Finn’s ongoing remodelling the search for real pace in this side continues. I guess we’ll manage in most places outside Oz but the next Ashes series could replicate the last without some firepower.

      Anderson and Broad definitely pace themselves in condition when they don’t think they’ll see extra benefit from straining for an extra 3-4 mph.

      This England side have real depth in bowling and, in particular, batting but they’re strangely short of excellence in many areas. We have an excellent seam attack in the right conditions (although seem to have lost the art of mastery of reverse swing). We have Root’s batting and Cook’s ongoing accumulation.

      Outside of this, we are well short in terms of fast bowling, spin bowling, wicket-keeping and top 3 batsmen. Fielding is hit and miss.

      Strength in depth and all-round ability running through the team will get us through most tours but not the ones requiring specialist skills. India is the next one that looks extremely problematic at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Quebecer May 30, 2016 / 5:37 am

    Roo! Bloody hell. It’s not where you’ve all been, rather where I’ve been, I see.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Vickster May 30, 2016 / 12:13 pm

    With 4 wickets left, if Sri Lanka put another 100 on the Board there’s a chance they could be quite tricky on this pitch especially as the rain is due in tomorrow. There’s a slender chance they could pull off a draw. That would be a great achievement given how they started this Test. If they had played more warmup games, i wonder whether this series would be closer as they’ve looked all at sea until yesterday. Plus it looks like Cook is going to have to get his runs in front of a very small Durham crowd – maybe he’ll prefer it that way.


    • Mark May 30, 2016 / 12:44 pm

      I suppose Cook still has the option of getting himslef out if he wants to get them at Lords.

      As for warmup games I think the more important issue is the weather warming up. Once it gets hotter and the pitch starts to flatten out, it becomes more of a contest. When the ball is moving about The England opening pair are probably the best in the world, and at times unplayable.

      At least Durham won’t have to give any refunds today. So that is a bit more revenue.


  8. Burly May 30, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    Lots of criticism in commentary over the last couple of days of Finn, and a lot of focus on Woakes.

    Very little said about Moeen Ali, who is (as I write) going at nearly 5 an over for 136 runs, having been treated like a part-timer by the might of Herath.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sean B May 30, 2016 / 1:32 pm

    I thought he bowled OK in patches yesterday, though not aided by the Captain’s slightly odd field placings. Agree he’s bowled very poorly today, looks bereft of confidence.


  10. Burly May 30, 2016 / 1:52 pm

    Bumble on commentary has become a parody of himself. I was yelling “shut up!” at the screen when he was going on about Yorkshire’s score and repeating himself over and over and over…

    … and now he’s doing it again.



  11. Grenville May 30, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    Just some thoughts re the media:
    There is a very worrying relationship between Sky and the ECB, if nothing else they both need to oversell England.
    There is a lot of group think because the press corps is small and cliquey. This amplifies sky’s power.
    The journalists are not really journalists. They’re sports writers. They don’t know how to investigate what’s going on in world cricket. They write match reports. They tend to do that well.
    In writing their copy they need there to be a story. At the moment the two/three stories are Cook, Compton and Finn. It isn’t all a sinister plot.


  12. Zephirine May 30, 2016 / 2:39 pm

    Grenville, very fair comment about the journalists. There are few enough investigative reporters left in any area as far as I can see, can’t really expect to find many in sports.
    I’ve been listening to TMS this series, they’ve been forthright in criticism of the bidding process. I don’t think you’d get that on Sky.

    So, Alistair Cook, great achievement. Got to hand it him. ‘Remorseless dedication’ was the phrase used on the radio.

    And Jimmy A got to 450 wickets today as well.


    • Zephirine May 30, 2016 / 5:51 pm

      The bidding process for Test grounds, that was. Prompted by Melinda Farrell, who was visiting at lunchtime and pointed out that the ECB should pay grounds to host Tests, not charge them. Like what they do in Australia.

      Liked by 1 person

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