When one considers that the pitch served up at Lord's for the first Test match between England and Sri Lanka offered about as much help for the bowlers as a bungee rope would launching a rocket into space, these two sides played out a highly entertaining game.
As ever the nay sayers will point to the fact that after five days of sport how is it possible for no result to emerge and yet the draw was well earned by both sides.
Each side had outstanding batting performances and, in what must come close to a record for one match, three new players have made it on to the batting honours board, a feat all young cricketers aspire to achieve.
There was all round delight when Kumar Sangakarra finally broke his Lord's duck when he notched up his 36th Test hundred with a marvellous innings. It was made all the more special given the fact it is expected to be his last tour in England. His captain Angelo Matthews showed his continued growth into a proper t=Test player scoring a battling 102.
Gary Ballance completed the trio of new names and his 104 not out helped guide England to a position of safety when the team were teetering on the fourth day. If he is going to cement his place and replace Jonathan Trott, battling performances such as this will need to become his trademark. The way he dug in early on scoring 50 off 130 balls before accelerating to reach his second half-century in nearly as many balls is an excellent sign.
On the final day England battled hard on a batting paradise of a pitch. The overcast conditions for the first time did offer a bit of reverse swing later in the afternoon and it was this change utilized by talisman James Anderson, which bought a result within touching distance for England. Eventually they fell one wicket short. That was only after the decision review system saved Shaminda Eranga after he was given out LBW to Stuart Broad, the right decision was made in the end though.
England's bowlers will get a lot of credit for working hard and for pushing Sri Lanka so close. Yet the clear lack of a class spinner cost England. There is no doubt Moeen Ali can bat, his bowling however is well short of what is required at this level. In the second innings Sri Lanka's spinner Rangana Herath took four wickets, England's took none. The issue of not having a main spinner must be addressed and soon.
Liam Plunkett worked hard but lacked a cutting edge. Chris Jordan, Broad and Anderson can all take pride out of their performances and it is around these that the attack should develop. Peter Moores needs a spinner and fast, the call for bringing Monty Panesar back will grow louder if Ali doesn't improve and quickly.
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