Sri Lanka 65 for 3 (Chandimal 22 *, Mathews 17 *) vs England
Stuart Broad could be forgiven if, in the early moments of this ordeal, he reflected on the wisdom of the phrase “be careful what you want.”
By then, England had lost what was supposed to be a big throw, and were sentenced first to a surface bowling game that was expected to deteriorate. And by then all hope that the British sailors might have, that the recent untimely rain in the region would give them some help, had dissipated. The ball firmly refused to budge either out of bounds or in the air in these opening overs.
Mait Broad, who memorably opposed the decision to leave him outside the team at the start of the English International Summer, allowed his mind to shift to the dressing room and wonder if James Anderson was left out of the game. , out of a pair of veterans more fortunate?
Probably no. Wide is nothing if it didn’t compete and probably didn’t harbor such negative thoughts. And despite the fact that this match had a terrible record in Sri Lanka – his three wickets in the previous three rounds were worth 83 pieces apiece – he used all his experience and all his skills to find a way to contribute to the first. morning of this game.
Realizing that his usual trick with left-handers – bypassing the wicket, aiming and coaxing the strange ball to leave the bat – would not work on this surface, he instead began to improvise.
By aiming the ball to his left hand, he was soon rewarded as Lahiru Tirimann, trying to push the ball off his hip, only managed to send the ball towards Johnny Burstow in the foot ravine, and then Kusal Mendiz, performing a terrible form. , literally two deliveries later felt that the cutter was far from the stump.
This was Mendiz’s fourth straight slope, which means that he gave up his last 13 goals in test cricket five times without scoring a single attempt.
The worst was for Sri Lanka when Kusal Perera hailed the introduction of the rotation, attempting to flip Dom Bessa’s second serve. Perera’s hitting range and ability to pressure the bowlers are his strengths, but it looked like an odd – and probably inappropriate – response to his team losing two wickets in the first seven overs. Perera only managed to pat the ball to be the first to slip off the glove.
Perera previously enjoyed two moments of luck. Before scoring, he survived the leg before the appeal of Sam Curran, who, as replays showed, simply cut his stump, although he may have also been fortunate enough to survive the hit with Broad. Jack Leach, because of his square leg deeply thrown back, could not determine the trajectory of the ball and allowed it to safely fall to the ground.
For Sri Lanka, it could be even worse. England debut Dan Lawrence, while undercover, put Dinesh Chandimal on 22 points when he tried to rip one off Leach offside. By test cricket standards, this was an easy chance, and if used Sri Lanka would have reduced it to 61 out of 4.
This morning was difficult for Sri Lanka even before the draw. Their captain Dimut Karunaratne was excluded from the game due to a hand injury sustained during a series of tests in South Africa. While he was confident in his suitability for this match, it is understandable that he felt pain again after training the day before the game and was forced to withdraw. His participation in the second trial is also questionable.
His deputy as captain, Chandimal, at least won the toss. But that was probably the high denominator of his team’s morning, as his batsmen were unable to take advantage of a session limited to numerous breaks due to side-screen issues. Angelo Matthews broke a bat and was hit in the upper body when Mark Wood put on a brisk pace – up to 92mph at times – and although he and Chandimal stabilized the situation with an uninterrupted 40K partnership, England would be the best. happier sides. Broad, in particular, could be delighted with his work: under these conditions, the sealer really has nothing to work with. The definition of the course of the class was a testament to his desire, his skills and his remarkable ability to continue to learn and improve. It may be recalled that during the last England tour in 2018, Broad and Anderson took one wicket between themselves in three tests.
Earlier, England announced that Lawrence was making his debut. His test cap, number 697, was given to him by his former Essex captain James Foster, who works with the team as a gate maintenance consultant.
As expected, England chose two specialized spinning machines Bess and Leach and three seamers. Since Ben Stokes, Chris Wokes and Moin Ali are absent for various reasons, and Ben Fawkes was not selected despite being a series player on England’s last tour of Sri Lanka, this means there are only four survivors left on their team. on the side that won in Sri Lanka. Lanka in 2018. England have lost early tests in five of their last six series.
Team England wore black armbands in memory of John Adrich, Robin Jackman and House Smith, all former England Test cricketers who sadly passed away recently.
George Dobell, Senior Correspondent, ESPNcricinfo