Pietersen and Cook make up for early setbacks
Lunch: third Test, day three, Rose Bowl
Match score: England 54-2 (Cook 22*, Pietersen 22*) trail Sri Lanka 184 all out (P Jayawardene 43; Tremlett 6-48) by 130 runs Full Scorecard
Session score: Sri Lanka 7-1; England 54-2 Sri Lanka win
For the first time in three days we could believe Jerusalem: England’s land is green and pleasant today – at least relative to the misery of yesterday’s deluge. For Andrew Strauss, however, the misery continues.
Strauss the batsman is now facing the toughest period of his career since he was dropped by England nearly four years ago. This dismissal was particularly worrying because it betrayed a lack of confidence: to a straight ball he could have left, Strauss hung his bat out to dry, and was caught in the slips. And guess what: it was the left-armer Chanaka Welegedara who got him. That’s the 23rd time he’s been out to a lefty.
Jonathan Trott drove at a very wide one from Suranga Lakmal, who had created an angle across the right-hander by coming round the wicket: 14-2, and Sri Lanka’s 184 was looking better by the minute.
Alastair Cook, however, continues to play with class, sound judgment and ease and Kevin Pietersen is clearly benefitting from some time at the crease at Lord’s. He drove anything that was overpitched and when the left-armer Rangana Herath was introduced just before lunch he toddled down the wicket and guided him through the covers.
Earlier, the Sri Lankan innings finished with that rare thing: a Stuart Broad wicket. It was no jaffa – Welegedara poked to short cover. But Broad – yesterday referred to by England’s bowling coach David Saker as “the best bowler of a bouncer in the Test cricket”, which sounds like straw-clutching – at least had a number in the fourth column.
England will rue allowing their opponents 67 runs for their last three wickets. In particular, it was baffling to see Dilhara Fenando – a man who invariably steps to leg and has not one fifty in 101 first-class innings – accommodated for nearly an hour and half in the middle.
The Sri Lankan bowlers may not have the height or pace of their counterparts, but with the pitch still offering carry – and, lately, some inconsistent bounce – a first-innings lead for England is no sure thing.
But hey, we have had some cricket. And a decent crowd too, many of them in fancy dress. We have bananas, Mexicans, 118s, superheroes, Dickie Birds – you name it.
Benj Moorehead is staff writer for The Cricketer