England v Sri Lanka – Third test match second day review
Match situation: Sri Lanka in their first innings trail England by 254 runs with 9 wickets in hand
England – 3.3
Sri Lanka – 9.2
Draw – 1.68
Met Office weather forecast
Saturday – cloudy but essentially dry
Sunday – cloudy and dry until mid-afternoon then sunshine and showers
Monday – a period of rain about noon followed by sunshine and showers
So what did we learn from the cricket action on day 2 of the Lord’s test. The key lesson, for me at least, was that, on a typically docile Lord’s wicket, what a good bet the draw was at the start of both day 1 and day 2. Even if, by some miracle, the forecast rain stays away and either team engineer a result, the price of a draw has dipped so low that insurance bets can be taken to guarantee a win.
In the morning session, England made good progress with Bairstow rubbing salt into Eranga’s wounds as he continued on his way to his highest test score of 167. He was ably assisted by Woakes, who also scored a personal (test) best of 66. After the dismissal of Woakes, England went into meander mode as they slowly subsided to 416 all out, a fine achievement given they had been 84 for 4 at one stage.
We were now about to learn if the pitch was really as docile as it had looked during England’s innings. We were soon given the answer! England bowled raggedly with little penetration or discipline and the tourists were hard on anything loose.
The rest of the day belonged to Sri Lanka. Yes, Karunaratne was dropped by Bairstow off Woakes when on 28 but, as we pointed out after the second test, Bairstow is a compromise wicket-keeper so what you gain in runs you will lose with the occasional missed catch and stumping.
Finn did get the one wicket to fall but he still doesn’t look right. In fact he looked quite awkward at the moment of delivery particularly as he tried to get off the playing surface. Perhaps Alastair Cook should consider bowling him from the nursery end so that the slope will naturally take him away from the pitch after delivery.
Anderson, Broad and Woakes all looked pretty toothless and will have to put in a lot more effort and keep a much tighter line if they are going to trouble the tourists on day 3. On the spin front, Ali did get some turn but, at the moment, is not accurate enough to apply significant pressure.