All Sri Lankan pacers bowled with good control and used the conditions well © Getty Images
By Bharath Ramaraj
June 12, 2014
England after the first session of the first Test played against Sri Lanka at home of cricket, Lord’s are 98 for the loss of three wickets. Hosts, lost their first wicket early in the piece. Sam Robson, the Test debutant tried to play a drive to a pitched up delivery and edged it to the wicketkeeper, Prasanna Jayawardene, off Nuwan Pradeep’s bowling down the slope. Robson got into an awkward position to play that stroke.
He was followed by Alastair Cook trying to play his favourite cut shot and losing his wicket to Nuwan Kulasekara, the swing merchant. Sri Lanka in sunny conditions bowled good lines and lengths and pitched it up to the batsmen and that led to Cook’s dismissal, who was frustrated by some fine bowling.
Sri Lanka’s opening bowlers also found some swing to keep the batsmen quiet. Kulasekara even changed the angle and bowled from around the wicket to keep the batsmen guessing. It has to be said though, that the batsmen didn’t help their cause by playing back when they should have come forward on a slow deck that offered a bit of help for pacers. Ian Bell and Gary Ballance, playing in his second Test then, looked to steady the innings for England. When Kulasekara bowled it a touch short, Ballance showed that playing square of the wicket was his strength by essaying a square cut.
Bell then, gave a glimpse of his ability to play with technical perfection when he drove Angelo Mathews down the ground for a sumptuous boundary. Bell also showed measured judgment outside his off-stump with Sri Lanka looking to test his patience. He was the only English batsman, who looked to come forward at every given opportunity. The factor to consider about the partnership was both batsmen played positively and every-time a loose ball was bowled, they cashed in. Ballance though, lost the plot when he got out to Pradeep with the angle taking away from the left-handed batsman to catch the edge.
Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bowl what with the track offering a bit of help for the pacers. England on the other hand, picked three debutants; Robson, Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali. This is the first time since 1921 that England have given three players a chance to make their debut in a Test match.
England 98 for 3 (Gary Ballance 23, Ian Bell 41*; Nuwan Pradeep 2 for 35) vs Sri Lanka.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)