Guess Blogger Adarsh saw the writing on the wall at Headingley!

By Adarsh Shah Twitter:  @shah_adarsh  
 

So it was  the summer  solstice, marking the longest day of the year.  Well, let me tell you it was “the longest day” of the year for me  personally anyway! 

Firstly the obvious, that my home team England didn’t win what was an easy game on paper.   

Secondly, as this match was a last-ish minute plan I had travelled with my friend Mark, leaving home (London) at 6 in the morning to travel to Leeds returning home at midnight!  

  • Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first. The cool but sunny day started with a lot of promise… Archer bowling a good Line, length and pace meant the Lankan Captain Karunaratne was edged out! 
  • They found themselves 3-2 when Perera had a bit of a slash of a wild shot and was caught 
  • The bowling and fielding from England was spot on actually with Rashid back to a very good wicket taking level in the middle overs with 2 wickets. Archer was getting 94/95 mph speeds and get 3 and so did Wood.  
  • Angelo Mathews ran out of partners but had a decent and sensible knock of 85 with supporting roles from Kusal Mendis (46) and Fernando (49) – hit 2 sixes in the same over against the pace of Archer.  

Even though Michael Vaughan on TMS radio saying it is an ever slowing pitch here at Headingly;  the score of 232 for the mighty England to chase down was never really in doubt.  

Until… 

  • For a 2nd time this World Cup, Jonny Bairstow was out for a golden duck by Malinga “the slinger”. A good length ball with a sense of it feeling like it’s drifting down leg.  But even the review went with umpires call with the knowledge he had feathered the ball with his bat! 
  • Malinga struck again when Vince hit a wayward looking shot and was caught.  
  • Root carried the fight on in a calm and collected manner getting yet another 50 which we just what England wanted. BUT that man Malinga struck again!  
  • Some people might get bored of this but “the slinger” trapped Butler as well now for an LBW and nerves were starting to set with the English batsmen.  
  • Stokes had a great innings but just ran out of partners in the end. As soon was Woakes was out the hopes started to dwindle, even at the end with Stokes’s power hitting, England just fell short.  
No joy for Jonny at his home ground

There is a simple conclusion. There was a lack of Plan B for England. This T20 style elaborate shot making has undoubtedly proved successful thus far, but a bit of nous and clever cricket would have meant this game wrapped up in 40 overs and a decent addition to the Net Run Rate too. Instead, England now find themselves with 3 very difficult teams yet to play – Australia, India and New Zealand! 

Ben Stokes did though with 83* From 89 Balls

However, take nothing away from Sri Lanka. It is seriously impressive to dismiss a usually free scoring England to just 212 in 47 overs.  Malinga (4/43) was amazing and rightly deserved the Man of the Match. However, an honourable mention has to go to De-Silva. He was as economically tidy in his earlier spell but got three wickets with two overs which started the domino effect of Stokes losing partners! 

As the Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen mentioned in her interview, “It’s always good to get a wake-up call and a reminder that you can’t just go there and collect medals.” Surely England will learn from this wakeup call… 

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