Anderson returns to England fold but faces T20 fitness test
Saturday 11 June 2011
Jimmy Anderson will be named tomorrow in England's squad for the third Test. He is expected to have recovered from the mild side strain he sustained in the first match of the series against Sri Lanka in Cardiff which forced him to miss the second at Lord's.
Although he appears in good heart and has been hinting at a full recovery in Twitter messages, Anderson will have a fitness test in the form of a Twenty20 game for Lancashire at Worcester tomorrow. Four overs might not stretch him to the limit but he will know if he feels a twinge.
Anderson's brand of clever fast bowling was missed by England at Lord's. On such a flat pitch it might not have turned events irrevocably England's way but his relentless accuracy and ability to obtain reverse-swing would certainly have helped.
His inclusion apart, there will be no more changes in the squad unless the selectors were to take the option of giving an uncapped player experience of being in the dressing room for a couple of days before the inaugural Test match at the Rose Bowl. Desirable though that may be, it is unlikely with a full programme of Twenty20 throughout the week.
Sri Lanka are accustomed to new grounds having played at two new venues in the recent World Cup. The tourists have had a hard time of it lately, though enjoyed themselves on the opening day against Essex.
Without their captain, Tillakaratne Dilshan who has a broken thumb and is expected to be unfit for the Test, their innings was opened by Lahiru Thirimanne, a 21-year-old who has already played three one-day internationals.
He responded to his side's needs by scoring 104 from 174 balls before retiring out. There was better form too for Kumar Sangakkara, with whom Thirimanne shared a second-wicket partnership of 152.
In Dilshan's absence, the Sri Lankans were captained by Thilan Samaraweera. But the job for the Test is likely to revert to Sangakkara, who filled in when Dilshan was off the field at Lord's, and has vast experience in the job.
Two days after being selected in the tourists' squad for the one-day series which begins on 28 June (apparently at the behest of the country's government) Sanath Jayasuriya has announced his retirement. He intends to play in the T20 match and the first ODI at the Oval before finally calling it a day at 42.
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