not to lose.
There can be no other reason for the captain leaving his second innings deceleration until England had racked up a lead of 342 with a little under 60 overs left in the day.
To get a similar outcome as we saw in Cardiff things had to be done a bit differently. A week back the Sri Lanakans were taken by surprise, their minds were gone, had completely switched off thinking the game would peter out to a draw, so weren’t in the right frame of mind to bat out the rest of the day and so collapsed.
A week on what chance they were going to be caught cold again? Especially when they had full knowledge that a full day was going to be played and England were going to go for them.
This time around to go for a win England needed to dangle a carrot.
A 5.9 per over run rate was not that carrot.
But the maybe Strauss looked at the way his bowlers performed in the first innings. Maybe he figured most of the runs could be knocked off by extras alone.
And then if Matt Prior had to dive down the leg side for an even greater number of wides that were chalked down as byes all afternoon it may have ended up with more than one broken window.
Of course it would have been all different in Anderson had been fit. Everyone was kidding themselves with that one. As one who like Bell is a follower not a leader, he’d have been doing the usual wide long-hops, that Tremlett, Broad and Finn were filling in with in his absence.
Finn in particular, looking completely undercooked put down some shockingly bad, Harmison like, deliveries. Yet still picked up four wickets to become the youngest England bowler to 50 wickets, added to that he has a strike rate that’s right up amongst the best ever. He’s fifth, all time, in a list that bar him Bond, Steyn and Waqar is mainly made up of 19th and early 20th century players.
Then there’s Broad, you think he’s got everything to be the all-rounder but has his bowling got better or just stagnated. How many times to you hear
he was a bit short after an innings?
Well I was wrong about Sri Lanka stuffing them after what happened in Wales but on the first day when they were 22 for 3 who didn’t think
here we go?
The only real highlight of the game was Agnew having almost another Johnners, Botham,
leg over moment this time with Michael Vaughan.
Worse moment was split between every second Blofeld was on air and person on the panel during the lunch break that was constantly sniffing.