Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The 3rd Test - even idler thoughts

The soggy draw at the Rose Bowls brings the 3 Test series against Sri Lanka to an unexciting end.  England win 1-0.

Bell ringing loud and clear
FB's man of the series for England has been Ian Bell - his average for this series is 331.  Bubbling under was Chris Tremlett.  Big worry factor is Andrew Strauss, both for poor form with the bat and unenterprising captaincy.   The four bowler policy doesn't really help him there.  Maybe England could have won all Tests but for the weather, but it didn't really feel like that.

Strauss MBE OBE sits the T20 and ODI out - he will play for Middlesex and as a guest player for Somerset - reuniting with Trescothick.  Pleased though he is to see that partnership taking the field again, FB is hugely disappointed that Strauss turned down his alternative proposition - to turn out for Carlton 4s under FB's dynamic captaincy.  Straussy recognised that this was an unequalled opportunity to learn about the finer points of captaincy (FB's handling of the juniors should be an object lesson for anyone with Broad in the side) but called off due to the need to make sandwiches.  Not his strength apparently.

Skipper Strauss' weaknesses -
 left armers and sandwich making
Second English worry is Stuart Broad, who yet again wasted heaps of energy bowling too short but got wickets when he pitched it up.  He takes the field as skipper of the T20 side on Saturday at Bristol.  Will it be the making of him?  Or will another call come to FB for captaincy advice?

Overall, it is hard to tell exactly where England stand and the coming Tests against India should be more of a measure (weather permitting).  Wicket taking will be the challenge again.

For Sri Lanka, there is the relief of getting the series over without any cases of hypothermia in the squad and they can regroup for the ODI series with Jayasuria added to the squad.  ODI is their strong zone and FB looks forward to 3 good matches.  Sri Lanka have blooded some new talent and have shown some resilience at Lords and the Rose Bowl with fine backs-to-the-wall innings from Dilshan and Sangakkara.   But everyone knew they were class players.  And when all is said and done, the outcome was not as bad as it might have been as they go find what life without Murali and Malinga is like.

In all 26.5 hours were lost to rain and light interruptions.  That's 10% more time than agent Jack Bauer generally has to save the world from annihilation and the President from assassination.

Previoulsy on 26.5......

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