The Over: Sri Lanka v England – 2nd Test, Days 1 & 2

We’ll start with the usual bit about us being too busy to write a post yesterday. Yada yada yada.

Next comes a general announcement about the previous post – the one about the Gentlemen v Players match. As the more perceptive of you may have realised, it was posted on the morning of 1st April and as such may not have been entirely true, much as we’d love it to have been. We are aware of one person who fell for it, although we’re still waiting to be contacted by any national newspapers wanting to run the story despite its dubious nature.

And now to the actual filling of our delicious pie, but that’s enough about Samit Patel’s breakfast. Here’s some stuff about the Test match:

We’re delighted to be able to count Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook amongst our esteemed readership – so welcome lads. At least that’s the assumption we’re making given that they seem to have followed our advice and completely cut out the pre-meditated sweep from their repertoires. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. In all seriousness, the shot selection was much better today and it makes the four-an-over first innings in Galle seem all the more bizarre. Yes it was pretty turgid stuff at times, but there seems to be an assumption creeping into the modern game that using all five days of a Test match is somehow abhorrent to the laws of nature. This was proper old-fashioned timeless Test stuff. Bloody brilliant (unless you’re a Sri Lankan).

Andrew Strauss should be threatened with getting dropped every match. Yes, he was never going to actually get dropped or resign after this match, but certain sections of the media seemed to be thinking that at least one head in the batting order should roll (we’re looking at you, Michael Vaughan) and Strauss’s batting record of late hasn’t exactly been sparkling. Graeme Swann’s come out and said that Strauss has been the victim of a ‘witch-hunt’ by the press – which is maybe a bit strong – but the fact is, Swanny, nobody wants to have to criticise Strauss, but when your team has lost four Tests on the bounce (and looked all over the place in doing so – please note the web title of this blog) and you’re contributing zilch with the bat, of course the point has to be made. Useless hacks have to fill their columns with something

Poor old Monty. In the three Tests since his return to the side, he’s taken 16 wickets at a shade over 25 and still wound up getting dropped. Such is the life of the second spinner in an England side, especially when you’re something of a one-trick pony. The harsh reality for Monty is that unless the drought really continues to bite in England such that we start getting dustbowls in Manchester, barring injury to Swann he’s probably not going to get another shot at Test cricket until England go to India next winter.

Sri Lanka’s batting is the tale of two batsmen in diametrically opposite form to one another. Jayawardene (that’s Denagamage Proboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene rather than Hewasandatchige Asiri Prasanna Wishvanath Jayawardene, obviously) looks like he could score a century with a twiglet at the moment, whereas Sangakkara looks like he is batting with a twiglet. You could argue that Sanga’s merely been a bit unlucky what with those two golden quackers, but you make your own luck, and 14 runs in three innings (or rather one innings) is a bit of a mini-slump. It should be noted that Sri Lanka’s top three are averaging 6.2 in this series so far, which isn’t exactly conducive to big scores.

Apparently, some of the England fans who decided to watch the Galle Test from the ramparts of the lovely World Heritage-listed fort made so much mess that the ECB have felt compelled to pay for its cleanup, presumably to avoid a diplomatic incident and/or a massive telling-off from UNESCO. We would like to think that the travelling England fans are all cultured, upstanding members of society but evidently that’s not the case, even if it’s only a minority. Shame on the those responsible. Now go and sober up and put your shirts back on. Idiots.

While searching around for a reason why England have suddenly started looking like they might actually be capable of winning a Test again, we’re reminded of the fact that Tim Bresnan has never lost a Test match in which he’s played. Bingo! He may not elicit too many superlatives with either his batting or bowling but Brezza was quietly the most economical of England’s quicks in the first innings, taking 2-47, and has more guts than a butcher’s dustbin.

And we have also noticed that the IPL has started again. Sigh. Apart from the fact that it’s giving the top players some deserved extra cash, it has little or no merit. It even has that bloody ‘Ole!’ trumpet jingle every five seconds, which automatically makes it of the Devil. Apparently this monstrous car-crash of a tournament goes on for over six weeks… sorry, over ‘DLF maximum‘ weeks. Now, where’s the off button on the remote?

Over.

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