Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test Day 3 – Consistency

Today’s play was so similar to England’s efforts on the first day that I was sorely tempted just to copy and paste my report from Tuesday with a few minor changes. The same players prospered, with the exception of Ben Stokes, and the same players struggled.

The day began with openers Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings at the crease on 38-0 . Like in their first innings, Jennings was by far the more comfortable of the two. Having survived a close LBW shout, Burns threw away his wicket again attempting a suicidal single to mid-off. Moeen’s top order struggles continued a few overs later with a chip straight to mid-on. Herath got Root out again, although this time with a good ball which moved away from the bat and caught the edge, and England were in the same position as Tuesday of being 74-3.

This brought the partnership of Jennings and Ben Stokes. Where Stokes had thrown his wicket away with an attempted sweep outside the line in the first innings, he was somewhat more circumspect this time around and was happy to run singles at the start. Jennings was lucky to survive an LBW shout just before Lunch where the ball hit the pad and bat (in that order), but the Sri Lankans decided not to ask for a review which would have dismissed the batsman.

Jennings and Stokes continued batting through the afternoon session with the allrounder accelerating throughout until he played inside the line to a Perera spinner which hit the top of off stump. Buttler came in and kept things moving briskly with a quick 35 runs before offering a sharp catch to Kaushal Silva at silly point. He was followed by Ben Foakes, who went even quicker with 37 runs from 35 balls before holing out at deep square leg. This dismissal drops Foakes’ average from a Bradmanesque 107.00 to a still-respectable 72.00, but it was a selfless innings from the debutant in the circumstances. Sam Curran came out for one more ball, but Joe Root declared at the end of the over with a lead of 461 runs.

And through the whole day, Keaton Jennings accumulated runs. Aside from the LBW scare, it was another accomplished innings from the opener. I must confess that I was hoping he would be dropped for this series after being very unimpressed with his batting during this past summer. It has been noted that he did well in India, so perhaps he is just well suited to Asian pitch conditions? It’s difficult to otherwise explain how he averages 17.72 in England but 71.80 in India and Sri Lanka. Conversely, his partner Rory Burns (according to CricViz) struggles against off-spin in county cricket. With grounds in the West Indies sometimes helping spinners, by the time England prepare for the Ashes it’s possible that Jennings will be undroppable and Burns unpickable. This could be a big problem if English conditions and a pace attack play into Burns’ strengths and Jennings’ weaknesses.

England’s declaration left Sri Lanka with 7 overs to survive, and their openers duly obliged. Curran, Anderson, Moeen, Rashid and Leach all had an over or two each to try for a breakthrough, with the only excitement being a close stumping chance from Ben Foakes and a bat-pad from Leach’s bowling which didn’t go to hand. There were a few aborted runs between the two batsmen though, which they will presumably have to discuss sometime tonight. Sri Lanka need another 447 runs to win, or to survive 6 sessions (barring rain). Dare I say it, I think England might win this one…

As always, your comments on the game (or anything else) are welcome below.



16 thoughts on “Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test Day 3 – Consistency

  1. growltiger Nov 8, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    I didn’t frankly see anything concerning about Burns’s play against spin, other than mistaking the man at mid-on for the partly Herath, who had been there previously. It is a talking point to see him struggling and becoming unselectable just when pacevis back on the menu. But it is a paradox beyond the evidence so far. And Jennings may be capable of batting against pace on English wickets, but this welcome hundred sheds no light on whether that is true.


  2. growltiger Nov 8, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    Herath, portly, not partly.


  3. Benny Nov 8, 2018 / 6:45 pm

    I’m going to be kind and generous. The old cliche – if you’d offered England alead of 450 after two innings at Galle …… well, you know. In one game, they’ve gone from being a poor side to having something to work with.

    Mind you, I’m euphoric at being able to watch the first proper keeper since Read and Foster


  4. pktroll (@pktroll) Nov 8, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    Given that Jennings had all summer to fail against seam, I don’t see why Burns can’t be given an extended go unless he goes binary


    • Rohan Nov 8, 2018 / 10:36 pm

      Yes I agree and wasn’t Jennings previous opening partner given an extended (well over a year, possibly 2) to make runs (a century?)….there were never any questions of dropping him.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. metatone Nov 8, 2018 / 9:08 pm

    I think WI pitches will give Burns a decent chance, b/c while they do turn, the WI still tend to give 2 fast bowlers the new ball and give them a good 20 overs each in an innings. (Incidentally, it’s not at all clear that Jennings would still be at the crease by the time the WI spinners come on.)


    • dannycricket Nov 8, 2018 / 9:26 pm

      In which case, there might be an argument that Jennings could be better in the middle order, or at least batting at three.


      • metatone Nov 9, 2018 / 10:43 am

        hahaha, it’s so true, yet so painful, we’ve unearthed yet another middle order batsman for England…


      • Rpoultz Nov 9, 2018 / 4:42 am

        Well Foakes’ hundred was down to Cook so it’s little surprise that Jennings ton would also have connotations to Cook as well. Thought this shit would be over…clearly still lots left in the tank

        Liked by 1 person

  6. d'Arthez Nov 9, 2018 / 8:30 am

    The only game at home that Sri Lanka did not lose the last THREE YEARS after losing the toss was against Zimbabwe (and they needed assistance from incompetent umpire for that).

    Well tossed England (and I would have said the same for Sri Lanka in all likelihood if Sri Lanka had won the toss). Test cricket is in great shape in Sri Lanka.


  7. Benny Nov 9, 2018 / 9:10 am

    Got up, turned on the telly. Foakes is standing up to Anderson, Rashid has just bowled a Shane Warne ball. More coffee


      • oreston Nov 9, 2018 / 11:01 am

        Good grief, this is turning into a creation myth! Did the Supreme Batting Being literally breathe life into each new England player? When a replacement was needed, did he take a ball of clay and mould it – in his image – into a Test cricketer?


  8. d'Arthez Nov 9, 2018 / 10:44 am

    Toss won, by 211 runs. How utterly exciting cricket is in Sri Lanka.


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