England 314-4, Sri Lanka Board XI 234 (England win by 80 runs): England rejected by Donald as Bell hits his stride
Saturday 29 September 2007
Things to be gleaned from the warm-up match England played here in Colombo yesterday: it is all but impossible to glean anything from warm-up matches.
Several conclusions could rightly be drawn from the routine 80-run victory against the ordinary opposition offered by the Sri Lanka Board XI: it is jolly uncomfortable playing in oppressive humidity; Ian Bell has become a significant batsman; Kevin Pietersen hits the ball a long way; Monty Panesar still has a long way to go as an international limited overs bowler; Graeme Swann has a light year.
But all those judgments could have been made long before play began. The purpose of the proceedings was hardly more than to provide glorified match practice. The bearing on the one-day series which begins on Monday is barely meaningful enough to be negligible.
There was more curiosity, however, in the announcement that Allan Donald had declined to be England's bowling coach. Donald had been an immensely popular and effective addition to Peter Moores' backroom staff, partly because of the 602 international wickets he took for South Africa, but decided against taking up the job full time.
"After 11 years on the road I feel the commitment I would have to make to touring would be too great," he said.
Instead, Donald is likely to take up an offer to join Ashley Giles' coaching staff at Warwickshire, together with the county's former all-rounder Dougie Brown.
Ottis Gibson, who is with England in Sri Lanka, is now likely to be offered the post permanently if he fits in over the next few weeks.
This subject did not quite entirely dominate the day. It is an increasing delight to watch Bell and Pietersen in unison, as they were for almost 10 overs which yielded 91 runs. Pietersen, who was suffering the after-effects of the stomach bug which has stricken several members of the team, played as if he was in a hurry to make another assignment with the toilet. There were three immense sixes in his 29-ball fifty.
Bell started his time at the crease with comparative sedateness: it took 72 balls for him to score his first 50 runs. But he then harvested 81 from the next 49 balls including four sixes in five balls, the first a beautifully constructed straight drive. There was also a half-century for Alastair Cook and England accelerated enthusiastically towards the end.
They then launched a blistering assault of short-pitched bowling that the opposition were ill-equipped to handle. Considering there was scant pace in the pitch at PS Stadium – scarcely used these days but famous for being the site of Sri Lanka's first Test match – the bowlers did their work well.
The use of the fast, rising ball will clearly be a ploy against Sri Lanka as it was, with extreme effectiveness, against India in the recent one-day series at home. While it might be wise not to overuse it against Sanath Jayasuriya, who will hook until the cows come home, or on especially anodyne pitches, it is a worthy experiment.
England used seven bowlers in various combinations to help them to decide their line-up on Monday. Dimitri Mascarenhas was not among them because he bruised a hand in practice.
It was perhaps notable that the captain Paul Collingwood broke up the potent James Anderson-Stuart Broad opening partnership and invited the returning Ryan Sidebottom to take the new ball. On the grounds that the best bowlers could be included all three may play.
Panesar varied his pace more than hitherto in one dayers. Perhaps nothing definitive should be read into Swann's first spell for England since he took 0-24 in his only ODI appearance at Bloemfontein nearly eight years ago, but he hardly glided in and would be a risk.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians