Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The first Test at Lords and some football

After three days the first test between England and Sri Lanka looked like it was heading for a dull, high scoring draw.  Joe Root made an unbeaten 200 and Matt Prior 80+ for England while Kumar Sangakkarra scored his first century at Lords and skipper Matthews hit a ton.  On the fourth day things livened up.  England lost quick wickets in their second innings but Gary Ballance held things together with a century and the tail wagged.  At the beginning of day five Sri Lanka had an unlikely target of 390 to win but holding on for the draw looked the most likely result.  At tea on the final day it looked like SL had done enough.  However the final session was a cracker, Anderson bowled superbly to remove the middle order and an unlikely win became a possibility.  As the final over of the match began Sri Lanka were eight down but Broad had Herath caught off the glove and he walked.  Had he reviewed the decision he would have survived as his hand was away from the bat when the ball brushed it, (shades of Kasprowicz in 2005).  Broad then thought he had last man Pradeep LBW and we began to celebrate but the review proved he’d got an inside edge and he survived.  The match was drawn but what a cracker!

England had a good match here at Lords but there are concerns over Cook’s form and his new opening partner Robson had an unconvincing match.  Liam Plunkett bowled okay without taking many wickets and Moeen Ali batted nicely in the first innings but didn’t trouble the Sri Lankans with his spin.  Plus points for England were obviously Root’s double century and Ballance’s ton under pressure in only his second test match. It was great to see Matt Prior return to form and Bell hit another half century.  Anderson and Broad bowled well as we’d expect and Chris Jordan had a good game with both bat and ball.  England go into the next match on Friday with an unchanged squad.

For Sri Lanka it was nice to see Kumar score runs as he’s a great player to watch and Angelo Mathews looks like the captaincy suits him.  Their bowlers did well too.  I expect the next match to be close again but based on this match England look most likely to win.

Elsewhere in the world there’s a bit of a football tournament going on.  I watched part of the opening match, Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 but I was saddened to see blatant cheating and appalling refereeing.  England were unlucky to lose their opener 2-1 to Italy but it was a much better game played in good spirit.  England looked very good going forward but made mistakes in defence and the goalie had a poor game.  I hope we can continue to play like this whether we win lose or draw.  If so we should progress to the next round, at least. 

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