England continue to wreck havoc on toothless Sri Lanka
Carrying on from my previous blog, the Lords test had a lot to prove for some players – Nick Compton again, failed to impress on his home ground and cement his position as a No.3 batsman. His approach has looked very tentative, nervous throughout and his technique has come in to question.
Unsurprisingly, he has decided to take a break from cricket and so a replacement is sure to come this summer. Alex Hales’ consistency at the top has been a revelation this series and after that patient and determined 94, a maiden hundred looks on its way. Alastair Cook looked relieved after reaching the 10,000 run landmark and that vividly reflected in his two knocks of 85 and 49*. It was a welcome treat to see Cooky look a bit off the cuff as he experimented with some ramp shots and an elegant six across mid-wicket. Chris Woakes played a pivotal role in forging a crucial 150 run partnership with Jonny, in creating pressure and chipping key wickets; thereby placing an interesting dilemma for the selectors among Steve Finn, Woody and him. Jonny Bairstow has been in splendid form and his ability to score aggressively, dynamically and with technical soundness with the lower order as well has taken a lot of pressure off Joe Root and Cook to direct the team forward. And without doubt, he had to receive the Man of the Match and Player of the Series awards. I hope to see England start from where they left off with Pakistan and leave no stone unturned in defeating them comfortably.
The end of an enthralling, pretty much uncontested home series led to some fast and energetic white ball cricket and no match could have been more entertaining than the 1st ODI which resulted in a tie between Sri Lanka and England. After being 3 down for 80 chasing the total of 286, we looked out of the game but the freedom, composure and tactfulness with which Jos Buttler and Woakesy scored 90+ and Pudsy hit the last ball for six being 7 off 1 ball made it absolutely extraordinary and reflected the depth of England’s batting, with the lower order also capable of scoring for a victory. The optimism of the 1st ODI rippled in even larger proportions into the 2nd one with England giving Sri Lanka a one sided assault after the stunning opening partnership between Alex Hales (133*) and Jason Roy (112*) who chased the total of 254 with lots of ease. The 4th and 5th ODI marked the return of Joe’s Root form who scored knocks of 65 and 93. Seeing him hit some runs was a pleasant relief and I couldn’t be happier for him. Another consecutive hundred was scored by Jason Roy (162) who made the 2nd highest score by an English batsman in ODIs to help England clinch the series convincingly. Valuable contributions from Vince, Butler and Root in the final dead rubber edged England to a total of 325 and Sri Lanka seemed inexperienced and disinterested that they got bowled out for 202 with England winning the ODI series 3-0 by 122 runs. Jason Roy deservingly earned the Player of the Series award after being fantastic with the bat scoring 316 runs and on field with his outstanding run outs and catches. David Willey has shown impressive control during the new ball, death overs and quite prematurely has become one of the lead bowlers in the English attack.
Overall, England has played wonderfully but the real challenge will come when they face a more formidable opponent.