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Sri Lanka frustrated by umpiring calls in third Test at Lord's

Posted on June 14, 2016 by Selby There have been 0 comments

 

For the first time in eight matches, a Test in England went into a fifth day.

Each of the five Ashes Tests in 2015 were done and dusted long before that, while Alastair Cook's side took just three and four days respectively to defeat Sri Lanka at Headingley and in Durham.

However, a combination of Sri Lankan grit and wet weather ensured we had five days' play at Lord's - but what five things did we glean from the action at The Home of Cricket?

Nick Compton howls after nicking off for 19
Nick Compton howls after nicking off for 19

Curtains for Compton?
It's probably safe to say that England are hunting for a new No 3, with Nick Compton's demise for 19 second time around at Lord's leaving him with just 117 runs from his past 10 Test innings. What made Compton's dismissal particularly galling was that he looked in decent nick while deputising for Cook as opener with the skipper having bruised his knee, the batsman smoking a boundary through point and pulling for four through square leg before snicking behind.

The chances of him adding further Test runs to his tally 775 from 16 matches now appears slim, with Durham's Scott Borthwick - 574 runs and three hundreds in 2016 at an average of 82, over 1,000 runs in each of the past three seasons - an obvious candidate to slot in behind Cook and Alex Hales against Pakistan. Other options are Essex's Tom Westley, Middlesex's Sam Robson or promoting Joe Root or James Vince from their respective No 4 and No 5 berths.

Scott Borthwick has three Championship tons this season
Scott Borthwick has three Championship tons this season

England's selection quandaries
England have a few other dilemmas, too. Jonny Bairstow is, to quote Lawrence Booth from the latest episode of Cricket Writers on TV, "batting like a god" with two tons in the series, including a Test best 167 at Lord's, but he has made a couple of fumbles behind the stumps, with a catch off the bowling of Chris Woakes grassed in north London. So, should the selectors consider recalling the destructive Jos Buttler and allow Bairstow to play as a specialist batsman?

Plus, with Ben Stokes set to be fit for the majority of the Pakistan series following knee surgery, will he return in place of the man that has impressed in his absence, Woakes, or Steve Finn? Woakes is in top form, bowling quicker and at far superior batsman, though England may be reluctant to omit a man of Finn's pedigree - he has 120 Test wickets, height and bounce that can frighten any batsman, and destroyed Australia on his Ashes comeback last summer.

Jonny Bairstow - will he keep the gloves?
Jonny Bairstow - will he keep the gloves?

DRS and a harsh no-ball
Sri Lanka were on the receiving end of some unfortunate decisions at the Home of Cricket. Their review to have Bairstow trapped lbw on 56 was scuppered when the decision stayed with umpire's call despite ball-tracking showing a large portion of leg stump would have been clattered. Then, Nuwan Pradeep was wrongly adjudged to have overstepped by umpire Rod Tucker when he bowled Hales in England's second innings.

The solutions? Well, Mahela Jayawardena has confirmed that the ICC are considering a change to the DRS rules, whereby only 25 per cent of the ball and not the current 50 would need to be striking the wicket for a decision to be overturned, while Sky Sports expert Bob Willis feels the fourth umpire could stop "putting sugar lumps in tea" and call front-foot no-balls so that the on-field umpires can focus on the goings-on at the batsman's end.

Nuwan Pradeep glares at the line after being wrongly adjudged to have overstepped
Nuwan Pradeep glares at the line after being wrongly adjudged to have overstepped

Rain doesn't have to be a pain
Sure, wet weather in the capital affected day four and then dented both England's hopes of earning a series whitewash - it would have been just their fourth in Test cricket since 1978 - and Sri Lanka's chances of pulling off an unlikely run chase of 362 by returning on day five, but the precipitation outside meant two cricketing legends - Shane Warne and Jayawardena - could deliver masterclasses inside the Sky Sports Zone.

First, Warne discussed the art of leg spin, going into depth about how best to turn the ball, what pace to bowl at, when to send down your variations and which field settings best aid a young tweaker. Jayawardena thenexplained how players should bat against spin, why Warne was so tough to negotiate, and how pick length, sweep and use your feet. The demos are a must-watch for any budding cricketer and you can catch them in full On Demand.

 

Shane Warne delivers a leg-spin masterclass in The Zone, explaining how to spin the ball and generate drift to batsmen
Shane Warne delivers a leg-spin masterclass in The Zone, explaining how to spin the ball and generate drift to batsmen

 

Exciting ODIs in store
Much of Sri Lanka's brittleness from the early part of the Test series has gone - although they did suffer a disappointing batting collapse at Lord's - meaning the impending five-match ODI series, which begins at Trent Bridge on June 21, should be a belter. Hales will enter the contests as a man in form, with three fifties in five Test innings, while the tourists probably won't relish facing Bairstow again after his electric batting earned him a white-ball recall.

If we get anything like the sides' meeting at the ICC World T20 earlier this year, when Buttler smoked 37 from 66 balls and a hobbling Angelo Mathews walloped some ginormous sixes to give England more than a few jitters during the run chase, we're in for a treat. Plus, Sri Lanka will be looking for another ODI series triumph on these shores, having prevailed 3-2 two years ago, despite being skittled for just 67 in defeat at Old Trafford!

 

Will Alex Hales take his Test form into the one-day arena?
Will Alex Hales take his Test form into the one-day arena?

 

Watch England and Sri Lanka's five-match ODI series live on Sky Sports, starting with the opening match, at Trent Bridge, from 1.30pm, on Tuesday, June 21.

 

 


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