England 314-4, Sri Lanka Board XI 234 (England win by 80 runs): England rejected by Donald as Bell hits his stride - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

England 314-4, Sri Lanka Board XI 234 (England win by 80 runs): England rejected by Donald as Bell hits his stride

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.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'I felt like that was the lowest I’d ever felt'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
News
A plane flies close to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano
newsAnd yes, it's quite something
Sport
Tito Vilanova passed away aged just 45
footballThe club's former manager died in April, less than a year after he stood down
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch
artAnd it's even for a good cause
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Life and Style
techCriminals are targeting an e-reader security flaw
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
newsBut just how much does a 122-carat coloured diamond go for these days?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week