7th over: Sri Lanka 29-1 (Perera 7, Mendis 20) Again Perera plays the Jayasuria-like short-arm-jab through midwicket but again he can only pick out Jordan, gaining just one for his efforts. One, one, one, one, one, four goes the over: the final ball too wide and cut hard through point by Mendis to the fence.
6th over: Sri Lanka 20-1 (Perera 4, Mendis 14) Mendis drives the first ball straight back down the ground and Woakes gets a hand on it, but perhaps too much as it slows the ball down on its journey towards the non-striker’s stumps, allowing Perera to comfortably regain his ground. Two singles from the first five balls before Mendis gets tired of this and tries to go aerial, slicing it a yard or two over Bairstow at cover for two runs luckier than a 1997 War Child single by Radiohead.
5th over: Sri Lanka 16-1 (Perera 3, Mendis 11) Chance! Mendis drives to Hales at extra-cover and the fielder makes an excellent diving stop. With both batsmen stranded mid-crease he has a shy at the striker’s end, but misses with his throw. Either end would have done had he hit. Two balls later Willey swings one past the right-hander’s outside edge. We go up to 11 successive dot balls before the final ball is turned to midwicket for a single. Four runs from the past three overs for Sri Lanka.
4th over: Sri Lanka 15-1 (Perera 3, Mendis 10) Just the one slip for Woakes. He has Perera in a bit of discomfort with a bouncer first up. A couple of balls later they go up for an appeal when Woakes fires one into the knee-roll, but it’s too high and probably pitched just outside leg too. Maiden.
3rd over: Sri Lanka 15-1 (Perera 3, Mendis 10) There’s a touch of movement for Willey out there, getting one past Perera’s outside edge. The opener pulls through midwicket aggressively but just for a single, then Mendis gets a quick one to mid-on. One more from the final ball, punched to mid-off.
“You know that thing where you mentioned the weather prospects for the late afternoon?” begins Ian Copestake, wise to my ploy for getting to the pub by lunchtime. “Top trolling for ensuring this thing ends in about 20 minutes. I was going to ask you if you thought Sri Lanka had improved their batting under English “summer” conditions, but Willey then provided a fairly succinct answer.”
2nd over: Sri Lanka 12-1 (Perera 1, Mendis 9) The in-form Chris Woakes from the other end. Mendis defends the first two balls then punches the third past backward point for a couple. He whips a fuller ball beautifully off his ankles and through midwicket, where Willey dives and makes an excellent stop to keep them to two – that should have been three. He gets four next ball though, with a back-foot drive through cover point.
1st over: Sri Lanka 4-1 (Perera 1, Mendis 1) David Willey, as at Edgbaston, to open the bowling with a couple of slips in place for the left-handers. He raps Perera on the pads with his first ball but it’s not swinging back enough and they take a leg-bye. There’s no real pace in this pitch either – it’s not going to be a high-scoring one, this. The batsmen exchange singles into the leg-side before Gunathilaka goes to a nothing ball. Mendis is off the mark first ball, edging wide of second slip for a single.
Wicket! Gunathilaka b Willey 1
Full and outside off, Gunathilaka shapes to drive then thinks better of it and tries to pull his bat out the way. Alas, it’s too late and the ball flicks the inside edge and caroms into off stump.
The players are out. The clouds have rolled over and there’s a bit of a breeze, so it could be pretty tricky batting out there.
Another emailer! Tom van der Gucht has been around on the OBO long enough to know better than to actually talk about cricket – novice mistake, Tom – but let’s indulge him.
“With Anderson possibly injured; Woakes on the rise; Ali dropped from the ODI team today; Stokes maybe returning from injury; Rashid’s stock going up; and Finn’s going down – who will line up for the first test against Pakistan?”
Moeen should keep his place for the Tests – he’s far better in the long-form game than in the short stuff I reckon and I’d say that today he’s only been left out because of the conditions; Sri Lanka have dropped a spinner too. The question really is who replaces Anderson so I guess Ball is the next cab off the rank. That’s assuming they keep faith with Finn, mind. If not then I’d like to see Plunkett back in the side.
The teams in full
JJ Roy, AD Hales, JE Root, EJG Morgan*, JM Bairstow, JC Buttler†, CR Woakes, CJ Jordan, DJ Willey, LE Plunkett,AU Rashid
MDKJ Perera, MD Gunathilaka, BKG Mendis, WU Tharanga, LD Chandimal†, AD Mathews*, MD Shanaka, MF Maharoof, S Prasanna, N Pradeep, RAS Lakmal
Dear Ian Copestake, welcome to my inbox. Population: you.
“My perceived early birdness is actually night-owl related as it is 2am in Los Angeles. At the UCLA campus today I watched an impromtu cricket match being played by Indian guys on a paved square flanked by various libraries, one of which featured as the backdrop to where Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor taught. I heard this fact announced as part of a UCLA campus tour for prospective students. The US like the UK is in safe hands.
“As this dead rubber is in Bristol what about some Bristol-based music. You know who I mean.”
I’ve got a few candidates in mind for the latter part. I’m off to see these on Friday though.
Toss and team news
England win the toss and will, huh, bowl first. There’s been a bit of rain around so they reckon they can chase on a small ground. Moeen Ali is out, Chris Jordan in.
Angelo Mathews would also have bowled first, showing what how much know. One change for them, Shanaka comes in for the spinning all-rounder Randiv. They’re still unsure whether or not Chandimal will keep or whether Mathews can bowl.
An email! Blimey, didn’t think anyone would be up and reading this early on a Sunday morning. But Ian Copestake is! “Morning, Dan. Did Guardian style also tell you it was acceptable to wear those jodhpurs with that Blur t-shirt? I think not.”
Having just googled jodhpurs, I can confirm I’m not wearing them. And I have a Radiohead t-shirt on, not Blur.
Morning/afternoon/whatever it is where you are, folks. Hark back, if you will, to the heady days of last Tuesday. A side riding high on the back of their Test form against one belatedly gaining confidence and starting to look handy. It was a thrilling draw, with both sides rescuing dire situations and playing out the tightest of thrillers. What a series this promised to be! The two sides couldn’t be closer… oh.
Yes the second ODI on Friday was as pulverising a win as any England fan can surely remember against a Test-playing nation. It saw the biggest partnership in English ODI history and the highest ever successful run chase without losing a wicket. As contests go, it was akin to the fight between John Matrix and Bennett at the end of Commando.
Ostensibly then this is a dead rubber. England have won the, ugh, Super Series (Guardian style apparently says we have to cap this up) already, after all. Nonetheless, they can secure an unassailable lead today in the ODIs against a team who, down the years, have dished out some of the more brutal thrashings among many suffered by English limited overs sides.
I expect England will be unchanged, as the current line-up is doing pretty well and the only out of form player is the captain, while Sri Lanka have concerns over the fitness of Angelo Mathew and Dinesh Chandimal.
Play begins at 10.30am, which I did not realise when I agreed to do the first innings. That’s 4pm Sri Lankan time by my reckoning, so it’s almost certainly something else. Toss and team news half an hour before that. In the meantime, music!