For the 2nd and 3rd ODI between England and Sri Lanka I had the company of my good friend Monica, she has a very understanding husband, Kevin, so gets to join in with my sports gallivanting at times.
With the match due to start at 2pm we decided to drive up on the day, to get a nice early (ish) start we had a very tasty cooked breakfast, expertly prepared by Monica – those who know me well would know it’d never have been me! Then set on our way, the monsoon style rainfall that had hit Essex the day before caused some confusion but we had a good journey and arrived in plenty of time.
I’d been remiss in booking parking but had a feeling we’d be able to park in the road nearby, I wasn’t wrong in that, so we saved the fee and a long queue after the match. A result all round.
I’d been to Edgbaston for the Ashes so knew to steer clear of the Hollies Stand (more on why later). I’d gone with crutch in hand, with knees still not functioning it seemed a good idea, it meant I didn’t feel too guilty when we took the lift up to our seats in The Skyline West.
The Skyline is quite delightful, if rather scary to get to! Our seats were in the front row, which was hairy while standing, but great once sat down. Another wonderful view! We’d managed to eat fairly healthily before we went up to our seats, a grilled chicken wrap – at a reasonable price too!
Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bat, I confess I had the same concerns about whether the Sri Lankan batsmen would make the 50 Overs. The weather was also a concern all day as we watched all sorts of cloud formations gather then move away – we were very lucky to say the least!
Kusal Perrera and Danushka Gunathilaka opened the batting, David Willey opened the bowling. The opening pair were going along well with 39 on the board before change bowler Liam Plunkett tempted Gunathilaka who edged a ball to Jos Buttler, he’d scored 22 runs from 21 balls.
Kusal Mendis came to the crease, he wasn’t to be there long, he faced 9 balls before being out LBW to Plunkett, he walked back to the pavilion with a duck to his name. Sri Lanka were on 47 for 2.
Dinesh Chandimal joined Perrera and the pair were to suffer the same fate – firstly Perrera was run out by Jason Roy, a superb fielder, he isn’t a man to take a risky run to. Perrera had scored 37 of the 77 on the board for Sri Lanka.
Angelo Mathews, carrying a hamstring injury joined Chandimal, and it soon became plain that Chandimal was suffering with much the same problem as he received some treatment on the field. Mathews scored a valuable 44 for his team, before being frustrated by Adil Rashid, he sent a ball to Plunkett who took the catch to dismiss the Sri Lankan captain. Sri Lanka had reached 159 for 4.
Seekkuge Prasanna was next in and promptly next out, another Rashid ball hit to Willey – he’d scored 2 before he took the long walk back. Now. the next batsman in Upul Tharanga was an odd choice, odd in that his batting prowess should surely have seen him enter the fray before 5 wickets were down?
Chandimal was to fall to another great run out by Jason Roy, he’d scored an important 52 runs, however it would have been more important for him to stay at the crease. Farveez Maharoof came and went promptly as Willey took his bails on the 3rd ball he’d faced. At 191 for 7 it looked like we’d be having a very early night.
However Suraj Randiv (26) had a good partnership with Tharanga (53) and the pair added 63, seeing out the 50 overs and taking their team to a far more respectable 254.
A mention of the Hollies Stand in the ‘break’ – there’s clearly a tradition of fancy dress at Edgbaston and the majority of those out for fun make for the Hollies. There was a big group of bananas who provided a lot of amusement as they took off running around the statement. It was great fun from afar, the atmosphere was lively and got livelier as the England innings really got underway.
Now this one isn’t going to take too long to describe – Alex Hales and Jason Roy opened the batting – and Alex Hales and Jason Roy closed the batting! They scored a record 256 – the highest total for any wicket stand let alone a first wicket.
Eoin Morgan said of the stand “That chase was absolutely remarkable, I’ve never experienced anything like it. We were so in control without being reckless. The two boys were outstanding. They were very imposing and they played brilliant, very entertaining cricket.”
He was absolutely spot on, the two were a joy to watch and having been at Lords when Hales just fell short of a spot on the honours board, it was great to see him reach his century. Made all the better by the 3 straight sixes he hit once he’d reached that landmark. Hales carried his bat having scored 133 runs from 110 balls. As I’m adding the photos I must make reference to the fact that Hales removes his gloves every tie he’s not facing the ball, habits when batting do fascinate me!
As a recent Surrey member I’ve seen first hand just what Jason Roy is capable of, he followed Hales lead, making his century with a huge six! The atmosphere really was wonderful by this point, I can see Edgbaston will have to be on my list for an ODI next year. (I am back for Day 1 & 2 of the Test Match against Pakistan)
Roy reached 112 from 95 balls before the required total was made and England had a highly impressive 10 wicket ODI win to their names with just under 16 overs to spare. The day was another truly great sporting experience.