IT really did look like it was going to be one of the dullest test matches in living memory, and actually was pretty uninteresting until about 4pm on the final day when due to a combination of great bowling from England and appalling batting from Sri Lanka, the home side end up winning by an innings and 14 runs.
England only used three bowlers and 25 overs to wrap up the tourists’ second innings for just 82, on a wicket that seemed pretty good for batting on.
The only downside for England is the muscle tear sustained by James Anderson, arguably their best bowler, during the game.
The way the Lions batted just shows how different the game is in different parts of the world. The Sri Lankans are used to balls barely getting above knee height on batsman-friendly tracks, and were made to look decidedly uncomfortable as Tremlett and Broad got the ball to rise sharply.
It will be the same for the Indian batsmen later in the summer, although one must assume that the likes of Tendulkar and Sehwag will deal with it a little better than their sub-continental counterparts.
Sri Lanka are always going to struggle to bowl sides out with what can only be described as a weak attack. England declared on 492-5 with Cook, Trott and Bell weighing in with big scores. The visitors didn’t have a lot of luck as they bowled well in patches, but it’s sustained pressure that’s going to bring results, not good periods of play.
The England batsmen rarely looked in any trouble, but Kevin Pietersen’s lack of any contribution must be an increasing worry for Messrs Strauss and Flower. The England batter will consider himself unlucky to have been out LBW in the manner that he was, but the fact is that he still is very short of runs.
The selectors didn’t get to see whether their choice of Eoin Morgan over Ravi Bopara was the correct one as Morgan only had a chance to score 14 not out from just 19 balls. The side will essentially remain the same for Lord’s on Thursday, with Steven Finn replacing Anderson one would presume.
To rub salt into Sri Lanka’s wounds, one of their one-day specialists Upal Thuranga, veteran of more than 120 ODIs and 15 Tests, has failed a random dope test taken after a World Cup game, although he’s not in this current touring party.
It doesn’t rain but it pours, certainly in Swansea during a Test match as the pitch remained under cover for a large part of a rain-affected game, but credit to England who could have batted the game to death but instead chose to have a go at the seemingly fragile Sri Lankan order.
This week also sees the beginning of the domestic t20 season. Great entertainment both on the TV and live, and I can only encourage you to make the trip over to Hove for a couple of games.
I wasn’t a big fan initially, but I’m happy to nibble on my hat over this one and say that it has rejuvenated cricket around the world.
I’m glad that the authorities have seen the error of their ways over the number of matches this year and not tried to insert more into the fixture card in a desperate bid to generate revenue.
Sussex have a realistic chance in the competition with world class bowlers and batters alike, as well as improved fixtures and fittings at the newly entitled Probiz County Ground.
Get along there – you won’t regret it.