Kumar Sangakkara proved that even at his age, he is one of the best test batsmen in the world. He was calm, steady and played well timed shots in two innings of pure class in Sri Lanka’s first test against England at Lord’s. Sangakkara hit 208 runs in his two innings including a 147 in the first of those innings. It’s arguable that without his experienced batting, his team may have struggled to come away with the draw.
Take nothing away from Sri Lanka; other team members played pivotal roles in securing the draw. Angelo Mathews hit a century in his first innings. Both Herath and Eranga bowled extremely well to stop an England onslaught in the three lions second innings. Ultimately, they deserved a draw for the hard effort the team made.
For England, it was a positive sign of what’s to come for this relatively new and young fresh team. Robson, Ali and Jordan made steady starts in their test debuts. Robson perhaps had the weakest game out of the three new boys, only scoring one in his first innings for England and only making thirteen in his second. Ali and Jordan hit vital runs when they were required to bat and Jordan also got some big wickets.
Joe Root, who has been moved about countless times in the batting order looked like he was a number 5 when he scored his first double century for England- a joy to watch. He looked calm and collective and steadied the ship for an England team that had lost wickets early. Prior, Bell, Plunkett, Ali and Broad helped the team to a huge 575-9d, the first time they scored over 400 runs since their tour of New Zealand last year.
The second innings proved trickier. As England tried to cement a score that set them up for the win, Sri Lanka made it difficult for the batsman. At one point the score was 102-5 and England looked like they may have blown their chances at securing a 1-0 test series lead. But Gary Ballance hit an unbeaten century to calm the nerves in the home dressing room.
For me the draw was a fair result. On a flat pitch, both teams found it easy to score high at the start of the test match. As the pitch wore, players like Herath and Ali became more important in their teams quest for victory. Everyone who watched the final few overs yesterday will have enjoyed some excellent drama, with England requiring two wickets in the final over. Broad managed to get one with his first delivery, although Herath had his glove off the bat, meaning according to the laws of the game he wasn’t out. Had England of got the final wicket, Herath may have found himself in the shadows of the Sri Lankan dressing room. England thought they had got victory when Broad’s fifth delivery of the final over smacked the pad of Eranga, but the review showed an inside edge on the bat, and celebrations ceased in a matter of moments.
I for one am looking forward to Headingly, the second test should prove to be a lot more entertaining. The pitch I’m guessing will not be as flat as at Lords, making it harder to score as many runs. I hope we see an England win, otherwise it will have been a Sri Lankan dominated summer, and with India to come in July/August, a test series win would be perfect preparation.