1st Test – England vs Sri Lanka

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Indifferent public still being force-fed cricket

It seems like only weeks ago that the mighty England cricket team were getting their backsides handed to them by Sri Lanka in the World Cup. And that is probably because it was only weeks ago. Yet in a world where enough is never quite enough, cricket is back, back, back folks.

India will visit later in the summer, but first, a warm welcome to Sri Lanka (again), who join us for a best-of-three, starting tomorrow in Cardiff.

Both previous opening fixtures in series held here between the sides, have followed a similar pattern. In 2002 at Lords, Sri Lanka won the toss, racking up 555, before dismissing England for 275. Yet batting second time around, the hosts proved more resilient, declaring on 529-5. In 2006, a phenomenal 158 from KP helped England to 551, before Sajid Mahmood took three quick wickets to skittle the tourists out for 192. Following on, it was the Sri Lankans who made the big score – 537. In other words: win the toss, bat, make 500+, bowl the opposition out cheaply and then toil second time around, seems the order of the day.

In addition, the only other previous test played in Cardiff ended in a draw (Monty’s famous last-man stand with Jimmy Anderson in the ’09 Ashes.) With rain predicted for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, the draw is unquestionably the obvious bet. And since England haven’t lost a test match in May for ten years, why not lay the Sri Lankans at 6.8 with Betfair.

Backing KP to be top batsman should also be lucrative. He averages 72 against the Sri Lankans, and Murali has got him on 4 of the 5 occasions he has been out against them at home. The little genius is sadly retired now of course, and Pietersen is therefore undoubted value at 9/2 with Ladbrokes, to top score for England.

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