live score and latest updates from GalleJanuary 18th, 2021
We’ll never know because it also brushed his glove.
Sri Lanka review
Lawrence lbw b Dilruwan Reverse sweeping but looked to strike him outside the line.
There’s a breathless hush in Galle tonight, 36 to make and the match to win … well, not quite Vitai Lampada there are seven wickets left and despite the brutal interrogation of England’s batsmen last night by Sri Lanka’s finger spinners, a fourth successive Test victory overseas is within sight for England. But from a commanding position, England’s flakiness against good spinners on a helpful pitch not only arouses foreboding for what lies ahead this morning, but also in the second Test, which ought to be played on a raging bunsen, the four Tests in India that begin later this month and unhelpful memories of Abu Dhabi nine years ago, the match that ‘cost’ Sir Geoffrey Boycott his house.
England were rolled for 72 that day, exactly half their target and Boycott’s words have not lost their resonance this morning:
I never saw this coming because they had batted better in the first innings than they had in the first Test in Dubai. A target of 145 should have been gettable and I would have put my house on us knocking it off. With this lot I would be homeless this morning.Their only answer was to stay back and try to play the ball off the pitch with tentative pokes. It is not playing back that is the problem, it is playing back to good-length balls that gets you in trouble.Picking the length is vital, and if your judgment is wrong you have a problem. At the moment they are not picking the length and they have not got a clue which way the ball is turning.Before they go in to bat every batsman should have worked out in his head where he is going to try and score runs, and he should also have realised where he should not try to hit the ball because that is the area fraught with danger.England batted as if they had no idea how to score. They succumbed like lemmings jumping off a cliff: uncertain, negative and mesmerised.
It has to be different this morning. Jonny Bairstow is England’s second best player of spin and after his role in the dismissal of the best player of the turning ball, his captain Joe Root, he needs to make sure he is there at the end. Dan Lawrence and Jos Buttler can also cope … unless the tension frays their nerves.
So, we have a genuine nipper on our hands which looked a remote possibility until tea on Sunday. I’d rather hoped to be spared the 3.30am alarm call this morning but … once more unto the breach.
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