Andrew Strauss is either a lucky, but overly defensive captain, or a master of psychology. England were worthy winners of this test, although Sri Lanka found their way to 400 in the first innings, it was not without some luck. Their doubly depleted attack looked lifeless as Cook and Trott sauntered through the next two days to reach tea on day 4 at 344/4. The only apparent value in having a fifth bowler that none of the six used were especially over-worked.
Only England could realisitcally press for a win from this position, but like most teams England were largely unwilling to launch an attack to buy time to bowl out the opposition. They (or at least Bell) were not scoring slowly, as such, making 147/1 off the extended 40 over session, but nor were they pushing for the win. Rain disrupted the fifth morning and Strauss continued to bat, wasting another 20 minutes, an apparently self-indulgent gesture for Bell, stuck on 99.
Whether by accident or design, that lethargic drift to game's end crept into Sri Lankan minds, still faced with more than 50 overs to bat, on a reasonable but not perfect pitch. Like England in Adelaide 06/07 but worse, much worse. A lack of conviction in their play, good bowling, and some poor shot selection led to the sort of collapse a side of this quality should never suffer.
For England, this was another demonstration that they are wielding the sort of self-belief that marks very good sides. Their rating, which looked sure to sink under the Welsh rain leaps forward again; Sri Lanka, like England's two previous opponents, look a fading force.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
Idle Summers 31st May, 2011 17:15:32 [#]