Sri Lanka 65 for 3 (Chandimal 22*, Mathews 17*) vs England
Stuart Broad might have been forgiven if, within the early moments of this Take a look at, he mirrored on the knowledge of the phrase ‘cautious what you want for’.
For by then, England had misplaced what was anticipated to be an essential toss and been sentenced to bowl first on a floor anticipated to deteriorate. And, by then, any hope that England’s seamers might need had that current unseasonable rain within the area would offer them with some help had been dispelled. The ball resolutely refused to budge, off the pitch or within the air, in these opening overs.
Would possibly Broad, who had memorably railed towards the choice to go away him out of the group at the beginning of the English worldwide summer time, have allowed his thoughts to float to the dressing room and ponder whether James Anderson, omitted of the aspect for this recreation, was the luckier of the veteran pairing?
Most likely not. Broad is nothing if not aggressive and doubtless would not entertain such detrimental ideas. And regardless of going into this match with a grotesque document in Sri Lanka – his three wickets, throughout three earlier excursions, had come at a price of 83 apiece – he used all his expertise and all his talent to discover a strategy to contribute on the primary morning of this recreation.
Quickly recognising that his traditional ploy to left-handers – going around the wicket, aiming at off stump, and persuading the odd ball to go away the bat – was not going to work on this floor, he as an alternative began to improvise.
Angling the ball into the left-handers, he was quickly rewarded as Lahiru Thirimanne, making an attempt to nudge the ball off his hip, succeeded solely in guiding the ball to Jonny Bairstow at leg gully, earlier than Kusal Mendis, coming off a grotesque run of kind, was drawn into feeling for a cutter properly exterior off stump simply two deliveries later.
It was Mendis’s fourth successive duck and means he has been dismissed 5 occasions from his most up-to-date 13 balls in Take a look at cricket with out scoring a run.
Worse was to comply with when Kusal Perera greeted the introduction of spin by making an attempt to reverse-sweep Dom Bess‘s second supply. Perera’s vary of stroke and skill to place strain on the bowlers is a energy of his recreation, however this regarded an odd – and doubtless inappropriate – response to his aspect having misplaced two wickets within the first seven overs. Perera succeeded solely in scuffing the ball to first slip off his glove.
Perera had beforehand loved two moments of fortune. Earlier than he scored, he survived a leg earlier than attraction from Sam Curran which replays confirmed was simply clipping his leg stump, whereas he may also have been lucky to outlive a top-edged pull off Broad. Jack Leach, at deep backward sq. leg, was unable to choose up the trajectory of the ball and allowed it to fall safely to floor.
It might need been even worse for Sri Lanka. England’s debutant Dan Lawrence, at cowl, put down Dinesh Chandimal on 22 as he tried to flay one from Leach by the off aspect. It was, by the requirements of Take a look at cricket, a simple probability and it will have lowered Sri Lanka to 61 for four had it been taken.
It had been a tough morning for Sri Lanka even earlier than the toss. Their captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, had been dominated out of the sport as the results of a hand damage sustained in the course of the Take a look at collection in South Africa. Whereas he had been assured of being match for this match, it’s understood he suffered a recurrence of ache after coaching the day earlier than the sport and was pressured to withdraw. His involvement within the second Take a look at should even be doubtful.
His stand-in as captain, Chandimal, not less than received the toss. However that was in all probability the excessive watermark of his aspect’s morning as his batsmen have been unable to take benefit in a session curtailed by quite a few interruptions because of points with sidescreens. Angelo Mathews suffered a damaged bat and a blow to the higher physique as Mark Wooden generated sharp tempo – as much as 92 mph at occasions – and whereas he and Chandimal had steadied issues with an unbroken partnership of 40 by the interval, England would have been the happier of the edges.
Earlier England had introduced that Lawrence would make his debut. He was introduced along with his Take a look at cap – quantity 697 – by his former Essex captain, James Foster, who’s with the squad in his function as wicketkeeping marketing consultant.
As anticipated, England opted for simply two specialist spinners, in Bess and Leach, and three seamers. With Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali all absent for numerous causes and Ben Foakes not chosen regardless of being participant of the collection on England’s final tour of Sri Lanka, it means there are solely 4 survivors of their group from the aspect that received in Sri Lanka in 2018. England have misplaced the primary Take a look at in 5 of their final six collection.
The England aspect wore black armbands in reminiscence of John Edrich, Robin Jackman and Dom Smith, all former England Take a look at cricketers who sadly handed away just lately.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo