- Andrew Cork
Cricket England v Sri Lanka – Day 3 report
Match situation – Sri Lanka, following on, trail England by 88 runs with 5 wickets remaining
It has taken a while but finally yesterday we saw the Sri Lankan batsmen showing some real grit and determination as they fought for every wicket. What their performance also showed was how important the top order is, particularly when batting conditions are not in your favour.
When Sri Lanka’s first innings ended rapidly with just 101 on the board, it looked like the match would be all over on day 3. However, in the second innings, the batsmen dug in and showed they had learnt something from their recent dismissals. They were taking guard around off stump so were much more aware of when they had to play the ball and, hence, were able to leave wider deliveries.
True, the top order didn’t score quickly early on but they occupied the crease and made the England bowlers work hard on a slow pitch. As a result the middle order batsmen were not facing fresh bowlers with a new ball when they arrived at the crease and the benefit of that was there for all to see.
England’s bowlers, refreshed overnight and with a new ball at their disposal, should ensure that England secure the victory fairly quickly today. However, there is a temptation to have a couple of very small bets on the tourists and draw at 150 and 60 respectively as only a bit more resistance by Chandimal and Siriwardana would see the price come down and provide a lay back opportunity.