Having received my ticket for Day 1 of the 3rd and Final Test between England and Sri Lanka I kept my eye on my e-mails from Twelfth Man and Lords for news of tickets for the other days. Day 4 was available so it seemed rude not to go for it!
When I was getting ready for my first trip of the summer to Lords on Day 1 I checked the weather forecast and dressed accordingly, for my Sunday visit I checked the weather forecast and stupidly chose to ignore it! So, dressed completely inappropriately for what was to prove to be a rainy, chilly at times day!
I set my alarm to make sure I was at Lords nice and early, that’s always a shock to the system these days! It was warm and sunny in Essex as I got ready and put my strapless dress on, it was of course pouring with rain when I got to London. I arrived in plenty of time to stand around trying to avoid the rain for over 3 hours! Good work by me on anticipating the weather thing!
During the 2 days I ‘missed’ England had made 416, which wasn’t bad considering they’d been 84 for 4 on Day 1! Jonny Bairstow had carried on where he left off on Day 2 and had run out of batting partners, carrying his bat and finishing on 167 Not Out – A superb innings! Rangana Herath was the pick of the bowlers taking 4 for 81.
In reply Sri Lanka had shown some mettle making 288 before being bowled out, the openers Dimuth Karunaratne with 50 and Kaushal Silva with 79 set their team up well. Karunaratne was the first wicket to fall on 108. The wickets were shared between the four frontline bowlers.
England finished the day on 109 for 4, with Nick Compton failing again, as he was out for 19. Compton had opened with Alex Hales as Alastair Cook had been whisked off to hospital for an X-Ray on his knee, he’d been hit heavily while fielding close to the batsman. (maybe at Forward Short Leg).
Joe Root added to the 3 he’d scored in the first innings with another low score of 4, this wasn’t a happy test with the bat for one of the best batsmen in the world! He was bowled by Nuwan Pradeep as was James Vince who swapped places with Root. Vince walked straight back to the pavilion with a Golden Duck, having only made 10 in the first innings. I can’t see Compton in the line up to face Pakistan, with only 9 runs in Leeds and 35 in Durham, Vince may be at risk too.
Jonny Bairstow would be the 4th wicket to fall and the 3rd batsman to be bowled by Pradeep, he’d made 32 to add to his magnificent 1st innings. Alex Hales in the meantime was anchoring the innings.
And so to Day 4, the rain ensured that the ground staff were kept very busy for most of the day. play started at around 2:30pm and Hales came out with night watchman Steven Finn. Hales reached his 50 in a continuation of his good form, getting there in 116 balls.
Finn had survived Day 3 doing his job, but fell LBW to Shaminda Eranga on 7. We then had the unusual sight of Alastair Cook coming in to bat at 7 – he’d been warming up with his team mates as they played football so it’d seemed likely he’d be making an appearance.
We had the 2 England opening batsmen batting with 5 wickets down and 120 runs on the board and a lead of 248. Now, as an Essex member and someone who’s been lucky enough to go to a fair few test matches in the last few years I’ve seen Alastair Cook a fair few times. When I asked fellow Essex batsman Tom Westley what it was like batting with Alastair he told me he was very calming, a real benefit to a young batsman.
Reaching his 10,000 runs in Durham and coming into the match at an unfamiliar position seemed to free up Cook, he batted in a way I’ve certainly never seen. Alastair Cook reverse sweeping? Hitting only the 11th 6 in his career, it was a sight to behold and made the wait worthwhile.
Alex Hales was working his way to a spot on the honours board, having survived being bowled by Pradeep, my camera had been on the stumps and it’s pretty unusual to see a player bowled in test cricket. How did he survive?
The Umpire had signalled a No Ball – it would appear that his judgement was incorrect, but this is one decision that can’t be questioned, as it seems the opinion is that the batsman changes the way he deals with the ball once he hears the No Ball shout. That seems highly dubious, and the Sri Lankans were highly perturbed. So much so that they hung their flag from the dressing room balcony until asked to remove it.
Hales had been on 58 at that point, however his wicket stood and he went on to score 94 before falling LBW to captain Angelo Matthews – so close yet so far to that Lords Century! Hopefully he’ll get another chance in the series against Pakistan.
Mooen Ali joined Cook at the crease, and incredibly popular player who’d top scored at 155 in the second test in Durham, but wasn’t to repeat that feat at Lords. Eranga took his 3rd wicket with a catch by Rangana Herath he’d scored 9 runs.
Alastair Cook clearly had a runs total in his head Chris Woakes had joined him in the middle, and a declaration looked likely, it was a slight surprise however that Cook ran off while he was on 49, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought he might make his 50 before declaring.
England were on 224 for 7 and the lead was 352 – India had made 397 at Lords against England in 2002 and still lost the game, but no other team had made 350 or more in recent years.
As far as the result of this game was concerned the weather would be the deciding factor in ensuring a draw. I have to comment that it was beyond frustrating that the teams went in for tea on Day 4 when we had a dry spell, only to have their return delayed by rain. It never ceases to amaze me that with such accurate weather forecasts breaks such as tea can’t be delayed.
The covers were on and off twice more after that prolonged tea break, frustrating for all concerned.
The Sri Lankan openers survived the 12 overs left in the day and finished on 32 for no loss at stumps. The wonderful English weather saw them progress to 78 for 1 on Day 5 before the match was abandoned.