England vs. Sri Lanka – 3rd Test, Day 4

Today was one of those frustrating days at the cricket, with rain ensuring a wash out of the first session and then the players coming on and off the pitch at regular intervals during the rest of the day. Certainly England would’ve been hoping for no rain interruptions at the start of the day to allow them the opportunity to push on to 400 and ensure that Sri Lanka had no way back into the game; however we have a situation where, dependent on the weather, all 3 results are theoretically possible.

As for the batting, Hales showed a new found maturity and batted well, mixing some big attacking shots with some nice nudges to keep the scoreboard ticking over. This has been a criticism of Hales in his short career so far, in that he seems to get himself bogged down with an inability to turn over the strike and then gets out looking for the big shot (see his dismissal to Herath in the first innings); however both yesterday and today, he seemed to be pick able to pick gaps in the field to relieve the pressure. Graham Thorpe he is not, but it does show that he has the mental ability to look at his game and try to improve certain areas that have been holding him back. It was a shame that he missed out on a century and I do think it will be a weight lifted as soon as he reaches three figures, but out of all the un-established batsmen in this team, he is the one that looks most secure in his position.

As well as Hales batted, he really should’ve been out a couple of times, especially after being bowled off a ‘no ball’ that admittedly kept low. It does seem a complete mockery that a batsman can be reprieved by the third umpire on review for a no ball, but that the opposite, where an umpire makes a mistake with a no ball call, cannot result in the batsman being given out. Cricket really doesn’t help itself at times and Sri Lanka can rightly feel aggrieved at some of the umpiring decisions they’ve received in this Test, especially with the ridiculous ‘umpire’s call’ methodology used with DRS at the moment. I believe that this is likely to change ASAP after the ICC reviewed the current protocol and in my opinion this change can’t come quickly enough.

The afternoon passage of play was an odd one and did have me shaking my head in disbelief at times. I appreciate that Hales had a hundred on his mind and so didn’t want to be ultra aggressive (though his strike rate was decent), but Cook’s innings really wasn’t what we were looking for given the pursuit of quick runs. I’d have personally put Moeen ahead of him in the order and asked him to try and bash a few runs before tea, with the view of a declaration just afterwards; however Cook came in at 7 and proceeded to nudge and prod the ball about. Sure Cook did finally play some shots after the 2nd rain delay after tea, but by then it was almost 6:30pm and he still only ended up with a strike rate of 56, meaning that England had almost wasted an hour to have a go at the Sri Lankan batsmen this evening. I slightly facetiously posted on Twitter that the captain was protecting his series average; however can you imagine if that had been Compton who had managed a red inker with a strike of just over 50 and England needing quick runs? There would’ve been howls of anger from Newman & Selvey etc that he couldn’t score quickly enough and that he was potentially costing England the game. I bet we don’t get that  narrative applied to the Captain tomorrow! As with everything in the MSM, what gets reported tends to be through their very ECB rose-tinted spectacles…

As for tomorrow, it will be interesting to see if the pitch does break up at all and does offer some turn for Moeen, as the 12 overs this evening from England’s bowling unit weren’t exactly threatening. You do feel that Moeen could do with a few wickets in the 2nd inning to build his confidence in advance of the Pakistan series and this pitch should offer him far more assistance than either Headlingley or Durham. You do also feel that if England are going to win tomorrow, then they will need him to contribute with the ball. As for Sri Lanka, if they get through the morning session unscathed, then it’s not out of the question that they could chase this total down. Matthews, Chandimal and Kaushal are all destructive players and with the right platform, they could push on for the victory.

I won’t be able to see any of the game tomorrow, so any report does rely on me getting back from a work event at a decent time and getting to see some highlights. Anyway, Day 5 comments below:


31 thoughts on “England vs. Sri Lanka – 3rd Test, Day 4

  1. Mark Jun 12, 2016 / 9:23 pm

    Slightly confused. Just watched the verdict, and they thought Cooks innings was brilliant. Charles Colville was positively delirious. It was left to Bob Willis to point out that Cook was very slow to start with.

    Apparently the Sri Lanlans were told to take their flag off the balcony which broke Lords rules. Probably rule 1457. I bet they wouldn’t of been so keen if it was a Waitrose flag! There is some rumour that the flag was put up as a protest against the umpiring. The coach denied that, but was pissed off. I said on Friday on here there is a bias against non big 3 teams, which seemed to piss off some people. I stand by that. It’s not that the umpires sit in smoked filled rooms to see how they can get one team to win. It’s just they err on the side of caution so that they don’t make a clanger that goes against the bigger, and more importantly wealthiest countries. I’m glad the ICC is going to change the rules on umpires call.

    Can’t see Sri Lanke getting these runs. Maybe 20/30 overs might be lost. And we have seen once 3 wickets go down the rest fold like a cheap deckchair. looks like 12-0 by the finish.


      • Mark Jun 13, 2016 / 9:14 am

        For some reason I can’t get any of those polite enquires podcast videos to play on my device. They used to put them on you tube. Don’t know if they still do.


      • Zephirine Jun 13, 2016 / 12:22 pm

        Fame !!
        Sarcastic, vous? jamais!


    • d'Arthez Jun 13, 2016 / 4:51 am

      Changing the rule on umpire’s call will help a little bit. But it still won’t help if umpires make wrong no-ball calls in delivery (see Hales or Voges vs. New Zealand recently), it still won’t help if the third umpire is Reiffel. What the ICC should be going for is:

      1) To fully automate the decision making process, since they can’t be bothered to get only competent umpires. Some very elementary mistakes have been made. Not bothering with protocol, checking lbws against the wrong ball being bowled, not applying the actual rules for when batsmen’s gloves do not touch the bat, etc. Missing countless no-balls, even though all dismissals ought to be checked for that according to protocol.

      2) Putting the coding of the software in the public domain so that it is there for all to see and check. Some of the projections have been outright ludicrous. Is it a flaw in the projection model, or is it a bit of extra code to benefit certain teams? So it is not okay to have home umpires, but it is okay to have home software? Hmmm ….

      3) Related to that, it is not that hard to have some code in DRS that makes it more likely that an lbw will be won in say over 59. An umpire’s involvement is not even necessary. As long as those concerns are not addressed, the ICC is effectively okay with potential spot-fixing by the broadcasters. Ummm, so why is it bad again when players do it?

      4) Working to get rid on what is effectively umpire’s call on low catches. If umpires get it wrong where the ball is pitched in about 1% of the cases (and there is obviously little distance between them and the ball, why would we trust them to get it right when the ball is caught 40 or 50 yards away? Surely it should be possible to come up with a camera + electronic system to determine low catches?

      5) Players get rewarded for exuding confidence. But in the case of low catches as well as at the crease. That confidence issue still plays a role even with the revamped umpire’s call. Because as in the olden days it was much harder to get an lbw against a big team for a small team than vice versa, and as long as you have to rely on the Ravi’s of the wold to get an lbw, you’re going to struggle. A lot. See A. Cook in the 49th over.

      But maybe it is a bit like FIFA. Why reward competence when you can make more money out of incompetence and corruption?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nonoxcol Jun 13, 2016 / 8:19 am

    And of course it’s purely coincidental that the only “low” in Flower’s reign was the 2013-14 Ashes, that he’s known Stuart Broad since childhood so access to the Twitter password for KPGenius was not relevant, that he, Flower and Selvey enjoyed Giles Clarke’s hospitality, that Selvey repeatedly leaps to the defence of a controversial “dear friend”, etc etc…


    • nonoxcol Jun 13, 2016 / 8:26 am

      Most of all, that the coverage of Downton from beginning to end, from former Test and county colleagues, was ridiculously favourable. A Dexter or Illingworth, with far stronger credentials, would have been (and were) savaged for less. Albeit largely by people who didn’t play Test or county cricket alongside them.

      What a coincidence.


      • SimonH Jun 13, 2016 / 8:41 am

        Enjoyed this from T after the rugby:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jun 13, 2016 / 9:11 am

        Paging Ed Smith, Paging Ed Smith. Could Ed Smith pick up the White courtesy phone please!!


      • nonoxcol Jun 13, 2016 / 3:31 pm

        I have rarely seen a more obvious case of Mandy Rice Davies Applies in sports journalism.


    • Tregaskis Jun 13, 2016 / 10:34 am

      Quite apart from it being slightly bad form to slag off a blogger on national radio, Agnew underpinned his dismissal of the suggestion that the press can get too close to players and authorities with the copper-bottomed safeguard that journos use their judgment to navigate areas of conflict. This from the man who did a TMS-style voice-over in a promo video for Waitrose and the ECB.

      I doubt The Cricketer mag would have chosen the issue as a suitable subject for its “Debate” section if it felt the entire idea was arrant nonsense.

      I have no issue whatever with Agnew or others disagreeing with the proposition, and doing so robustly, especially when their disagreement is developed through a reasonably constructed argument. But to dismiss the thought out of hand as nonsense is as much a reason for the perception of conflict of interest as actual transgressions themselves.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Mark Jun 13, 2016 / 11:03 am

        Agnews claim that journos use their judgement to navigate areas of conflict is complacent nonsense. There is a whiff of Versailles about his rebuttal . ” Let them eat cake.”

        It’s a dangerous argument to make because people may come to the conclusion that he, and other journos have very poor judgement to start with. Look at Paul Newman. If he hasn’t got bad judgement then one can only deduce he is an ECB stooge.


  3. alecpaton Jun 13, 2016 / 9:40 am

    The umpires are the only people in this series to have a worse time of it than Sri Lanka’s batting line-up. Shoddy umpiring has an effect of magnifying benefits towards one team or the other but SL have been the primary agents of their own demise all too often. They have only been correct once out of 15 referrals made and worse still 3 times failed to use it when it would have done them some good.

    If Sri Lanka do lose this test, it will not be because Rod Tucker made a howler regarding a no-ball at a point when England already had a big lead but because they lost 5 for 56 on the third morning (including 3 for 20 by drinks).

    Regarding England’s run rate, it’s hard to call. It would have been preferable for them to have had a 400 run lead by the time of their declaration but if they were bowled out for 180 we would likely be bemoaning their ability to play to the situation. This is one of those matches where players have to juggle runs, wickets, time and the weather and that’s before you start to factor in the opposition’s bowling and fielding. As it is, the weather has set in for the day so much of this is moot in any event.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Jun 13, 2016 / 10:35 am

      And they would have achieved parity on first innings even if they had lost 5/56 on the third morning, if Ravi had been as consistent when England are batting and Sri Lanka are batting, as he was perfectly okay of adding 111* to Bairstow’s name (and even more runs if we consider the effects of the partnership).

      Sure Sri Lanka could have reviewed better. But when you have no reason to assume competence from the umpires, why would you even bother?

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Jun 13, 2016 / 10:46 am

        Just to back that up, I tried googling “number of successful reviews by series”. Unfortunately all I could find were stats for the 2015 Ashes. Apparently there were 4 successful reviews out of 36. Sky commented on this with “well done umps”.

        This obviously means that, when similar stats are compiled for this series, we’re supposed to say “well done” to Ravi for the Bairstow decision. Not having that. Not even slightly.


    • Rooto Jun 13, 2016 / 10:37 am

      I don’t hold too much store in the ‘1 good referral out of 15’ stat because the system as it currently works means there’s a lot of umpire’s call decisions which, if given differently, would have counted against England too in the referral count. Essentially, in those cases, both teams would be wrong to refer, which is a bit of a nonsense.
      I’ve long thought that ‘umpire’s call’ should be called ‘doubt’. It’s more honest, and future advances in the technology could reduce the scope of ‘doubt’. Meanwhile, if in doubt, not out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jun 13, 2016 / 10:42 am

      So why are the ICC changing the interpretation of “umpires call” from 50% to 25% if the system is working so well? If as you claim it’s all Sri Lankas fault?

      I repeat, there is not a giant conspiracy where umpires sit in smoke filled rooms to rig games in favour of certian teams. However, the evidence is building up from numerous series that they are much more cautious in the decisions they give against big 3 teams. Why is this?

      They want to keep their jobs, that’s why. It doesn’t pay to antagonise the teams with the money and power behind them. It’s human nature. That is why you need to use more technology. The authorities got rid of home umpires to stop the suspicion of favouritism. They have created another bias by accident with their Heath Robinson system of reviewing decisions. It look like ICC is making the changes neccesary to fix the problem. We should welcome that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rooto Jun 13, 2016 / 10:39 am

    Cook’s innings yesterday reminded me of Dr Johnson’s quote about the dog walking on its hind legs.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. SimonH Jun 13, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    The occasional Tweet aside, it’s been fairly quiet on the FICJAM front recently. Here we go –


    Straw man central argument – check (sporting achievement isn’t reducible to stats – who ever said it was ?)
    Preposterous central comparison – check (Muhammad Ali and Brendan McCullum!?!)
    Missed barn door of an issue in modern cricket – check (All his examples of great contests required great opponents – yet he has nothing to say about how the Big Three have tried to destroy the opposition).
    Laughable self-contradiction – check (you start off about Ali and then write at the end, “If sportsmen turn away from competing and take up grandstanding, the show is diminished”?).
    Avoidance of any examples from England recently – check (hasn’t there been a recent example of an England player reaching a statistical landmark but not stimulating in many of us the kinds of emotions Smith is talking about? Apparently not).

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Jun 13, 2016 / 4:18 pm

      “McCullum’s superb Cowdrey lecture”

      This really is too easy. Said lecture included the following:

      “A lot has been written about how the New Zealand team played in subsequent years. I think that no one has captured it better than former Middlesex captain, Ed Smith. Writing for Cricinfo, he said: The manifestations of that contribution are well known – freedom, openness, sportsmanship, the embrace of risk and adventure, and rowing back from the toughness-is-sledging delusion. But how did McCullum reach the insights that led to those characteristics and opinions? And why was he able to stay true to them on the big stage?

      He went on to say: Athletes and sports teams waste huge space and energy on external motivators – mission statements about trying to be the best team in the world by 2057; blueprints for global dominance; strategic flow charts about key performance indicators. In fact, if every sportsman simply tried to be the best he could be, and attempted to behave decently along the way, you’ve pretty much summed up every available optimal strategy in one simple sentence. After all, you can’t be better than your best. And nothing matters more than how you feel about the way you’ve lived your life.

      I couldn’t agree more with Ed’s comments.”


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Jun 13, 2016 / 6:13 pm

      and all of ficjams arguments fall into a heap of dogshit because nobody’s watching it! Maybe the few thousand that watch cricket on Sky, for example, may well get occasionally inspired and steeped in nostalgia, but the millions of disenfranchised can go to hell in a hand cart presumably?


  6. SimonH Jun 13, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    There goes 7-0 then.

    Cook can’t beat Vaughan’s record of most wins as England captain this summer. The only opportunity to bed a new captain in until the end of the next Ashes is at the end of this summer. Something’s got to give.

    Look out for the first article from one of the usual stooges along the lines of “well of course, a tour to India is not the place to be introducing a new captain” (maybe, if they really want to take the pee, accompanied by some faux concern for Joe Root’s batting form).


    • Mark Jun 13, 2016 / 5:36 pm

      There was never any chance that Cook was going to give the captaincy away soon? His co conspirators have plotted, and leaked, and manipulated the ground to create the perch he now sits on. He is completely untouchable as long as he chooses to stay as captain. Which could be another 4 years. By which time he will have broken every record in the book. (However meangingless)

      He will never be sacked, (even if he lost another Ashes 5-0) he will go at his timing. He is bigger than the English game itself. He is English cricket according to his courtiers.


      • alecpaton Jun 13, 2016 / 7:51 pm

        The bitter irony is that we know which player is bigger than English cricket:

        Shane Warne, who unlike every other player (including He Who Must Not Be Named) is still capable of dominating front pages.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jun 13, 2016 / 7:27 pm

      I’m not even going to bother reading it. I value my dinner too much.

      A better title might be “The craven, pro Cook sycophantic media as relentless as the sea at Lowestoft..”


      • nonoxcol Jun 13, 2016 / 7:54 pm

        You did right, Mark. The medical profession is patenting that article as an emetic even as we speak.


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