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Yorkshire Blue

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
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35,217
Location
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First warm-up game today in Colombo.

England have actually beaten their hosts to Sri Lanka, which is promising. They've also managed to beat me out there, as my flight isn't until Saturday.

Sri Lanka were last night falling to a 2-0 defeat in convict land. Needing a world record 507 to win on an absolute road of a Hobart pitch, Kumar Sangakkara, made a quite beautiful 192 before being sawn off by Rudi Koertzen but Bruce Lee had already inflicted the damage. Lee was the stand-out performer in that series with 16 wickets, as his extra pace - and occasionally bounce - continually posed a problem to the Lankans. Although the conditions in Sri Lanka will be vastly different to Brisbane and Hobart, I think Lee's success should provide further food for thought to the England selectors regarding Steve Harmison who has just had similar success in a two game spell in South Africa, although he bowled as many wides and no-balls as he took wickets.

Lee also bowled with unusal accuracy, in going at under 3 runs an over, as he looks to take over the mantle of Glenda McGrath as the Aussie spearhead. Mitchell Johnson (who should have played for Essex last season, before getting called-up) also showed promise, but Stuart Clark looked average and MacGill bowled some absolute dross in taking 5 wickets at 65 a piece.

As for England's opponents, maaaaarvellous Marvan Attaputu played very well but announced his retirement having called the selectors "Muppets". I expect he'll be replaced with Upul Tharanga who has hit 92* today for the Board XI against England and looks to have recovered his form.

The middle order looked very good. Sangakkara, playing as a specialist bat, missed the first test, but looked awesome in the second test. He averages 55.73 in test cricket, an astonishingly good record. The skipper Jayawardene, is also a real class act. If England can get these two cheaply then England will have a real chance. Far more likely is that I'll be spending most of the next month watching those two bat.

The rest of the batting line-up looks nowhere near as formidable. Jayasuriya, isn't the force he once was, Vandort is OK but I'd be disappointed if he's a thorn in England's side. Silva looked slightly out of his depth, but is likely to be much better on home turf.

I had high hopes for the Lankan bowling, but the Aussies smashed them into submission. Malinga the slinger was (IMHO) surprisingly dropped for the first test, but has admittedly been a little short of form of late, and he returned for the second test in place of Vaas. Vaas is likely to return as the economical Maharoof picked up an injury that is expected to rule him out of most of the series. I wonder if Sri Lanka may look to another spinner to partner Murali instead. Even Murali struggled against the Aussie bullies. The pick of the Lankan bowlers with 4 wickets, he still averaged 100 :eek:
 
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