England’s hopes of squaring their series against Sri Lanka are all but over, after an abject second-day surrender at Galle. By the close of play, England’s tormentor-in-chief, Mahela Jayawardene, had taken to goading them from the ramparts. Not content with locking them out of the contest with a steadfast and brilliant 149 not out, he accused them afterwards of lacking the will to win.
“At times I felt they came hard at us but then gave up pretty easily,” said Jayawardene. “I was surprised. When you’re one-down you should try to attack more and create more opportunities. But they were a bit negative with their over-rates so I knew they were not pushing us that much.”
At 147 for 4 overnight, Sri Lanka’s position at the start of play was precarious. England had not bowled especially well on the opening day, but they papered over their inadequacies by showing great heart in sapping heat. Second-time around, in cooler conditions and beneath heavy cloud cover, they capitulated.The ball zipped around in the first session much as it had done on the first morning, and it remained playful all day long. But England’s only breakthroughs came via Ravi Bopara in a pre-tea giveaway.
“We batted through some difficult conditions,” said Jayawardene. “We were in a bit of a bother last night, so my target was to get Sri Lanka out of a dangerous situation and take the game away from England.”
A spate of dropped catches undermined England’s efforts, but the bottom line was that they were not equal to the challenge that Jayawardene posed. “We’ve no complaints,” said their coach, Peter Moores. “The pitch has done enough for us to bowl them out, we just haven’t bowled well enough. We went chasing wickets, got a bit too full and weren’t consistent enough. And we’ve had chances and we missed them.”
The first of those opportunities came as early as the tenth ball of the day, when Alastair Cook failed to cling onto a sharp chance in the gully, and things went steadily downhill from there. Matt Prior endured another rough day with two misses diving to his right, taking England’s series tally of misses in the slip cordon to six. A wealth of expertise in that area has been lost in recent months - Andrew Flintoff, Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss were permanent features in Duncan Fletcher’s heyday - but nevertheless, Moores admitted that the quality of his team’s close catching was a growing concern.
“We’ve been working very hard on our fielding full stop, and we’ve made some reasonably good moves, but it takes time to improve when you change people,” he said. “Sri Lanka are a good team, there’s no doubt about that,” said Moores.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:england, England in Sri Lanka 2007, Galle, Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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