Saturday, 9 July 2011

England v Sri Lanka - surely not again

Ol Trafford
with its newest facility
- Silly Point
The Sri Lankan cricket team finish their warm up games with England at Old Trafford today before fulfilling their main purpose in coming to Britain by travelling to Edinburgh to play Scotland and Ireland in a 3 way series.

They have had good practice at winning convincingly and losing heavily in these warm up games. The 5 match series is level at 2 wins each, but there has yet to be a close nail-biting finish.  How can this be?  There is only one explanation - weather.  In the sun at Leeds and Lords, Sri Lankan batting dominated and England wilted. In the murk at the Oval and Trent Bridge, English bowling carried the day and Sri Lanka dissolved.
But Manchester tomorrow looks to be sunny after heavy overnight rain - this is evenly balanced weather and the advantage may depend on how much moisture remains in the atmosphere to assist England's seam attack.  It definitely looks like a bowl first day.

The weather forecast is unsettled for Edinburgh next week.  This itself is an improvement on recent years for it is usually torrential to welcome Scotland's big name opponents for the season.  Perhaps this is why touring teams are so keen to come to bonnie Scotland - they know they'll get a rest from all that cricket stuff.  But there was flash flooding in Edinburgh today so they may get their way.

A triumph for the new tactic
- Trott DNB
FB will offer more wisdom on Sri Lanka's big test next week but what of game number 5 with England ?  Going into the Trent Bridge match England's batting was heavily criticised as pedestrian - but with one bound the team revealed England's new strategy for winning ODIs - don't let Trott get to the crease.  This is a pretty good tactic. Cook and one of those South Africans who is not Trott powered to the below par total without a care.  If they can do this again, then England will be OK.  But this victory has taken away all probability of England changing the batting order which - Wednesday apart - has obviously been misfiring.  As ever one man's consistency in selection policy is another man's stubborness in the face of the evidence.  But apart from Trott, Bell has said he is not comfortable at 6, Pietersen is Pietersen, forever one innings away from his true self.  Morgan is OK and gets pass marks.   Has Cook really changed his spots - can he bat like on Wednesday again if the bowlers really want him not to?  Time will tell, but if the World Cup was tomorrow you wouldn't be putting your money on them.

Even so, FB is now inclined to go with England.  Sri Lanka will after all be resting themselves for the big game against Scotland.

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