England v Sri Lanka: Jordan looks the part from the off but Plunkett made to wait

 

Lord’s

The field was set back, three men stationed deep on the leg side, the ball was banged in short and England’s batsmen tumbled into the trap. One by one they fell.

The only problem with Sri Lanka’s masterplan, with its roots no doubt in England’s tumultuous time Down Under, was the four after four that came in between the wickets.

Matt Prior and Stuart Broad were both undone by the short ball as they had been throughout the winter. So, too, were Chris Jordan and Liam Plunkett, making a full house of English wickets to the short ball yesterday.

But this performance could not have been more different to the last time England took to the field for a Test, in Sydney, and nothing better illustrated that this was an altogether more comfortable and familiar world than Jimmy Anderson reverse sweeping to the point boundary to get himself off the mark and take England past 500.

It took England until their fourth innings of the Ashes to gather 500 runs at a cost of 34 wickets. They were nine down yesterday when Anderson dropped to one knee and swished Rangana Herath for four. Home sweet home.

Jordan had taken England past 400 with a glorious check drive, the high point of a brief but jaunty debut Test innings. He swung happily, and so did Plunkett, who plays with admirable correctness for a member of the lower order. Sri Lanka bowled, and fielded, increasingly shoddily – “village cricket” was how Shane Warne branded it – and it permitted a gentle paddle in the shallows of Test cricket for Jordan and Plunkett, who had got his feet wet once before.

Liam Plunkett was helped on his Test return by England’s two senior bowlers stationed nearby Liam Plunkett was helped on his Test return by England’s two senior bowlers stationed nearby (Getty Images)
The adopted man of Sussex and requisitioned Yorkshireman are contrasting cricketers. It is Jordan’s nature that he appears instantly at ease at this level. This natural confidence can only have helped persuade Alastair Cook to turn to the 25-year-old as his first change bowler. Jordan leapt into his one-day international career and has done likewise in Tests. Big and broad-chested, he runs in with the bounciness and light feet of a heavyweight boxer dancing over a skipping rope. His first ball was a bouncer that whistled over Dimuth Karunaratne’s head. His third drew Karunaratne, batting breezily on what is a pancake-flat Lord’s surface, outside his off stump and there was a first Test wicket.

Plunkett had to wait a little longer to bowl, but then he has become used to waiting. It is nine years since he delivered his first ball in Test cricket – only Ian Bell survives from that debut in Lahore – and it is seven years and six days since his last Test wicket. It came two months before Jordan made his first-class debut.

Plunkett’s first go for England, nine Tests spread over two years, was hampered by nerves. It translated itself into a fussiness about his action and an inability to relax into his usual game.

Stuart Broad spoke last week of the importance of providing a team environment that helps incomers replicate the form that has earned them the call and the need for  senior players as well as captain and coach to help create that. Broad and Jimmy Anderson were the two fielders closest to Plunkett during his opening spell and both  had words.

The most telling advice offered to Plunkett though, in helping him return to this stage at the age of 29, came from Jason Gillespie, his coach for the last two years at Yorkshire since his switch from Durham. The Australian instructed him to worry about one thing only: getting the ball down the other end as quickly as possible.

Pace is what earned Plunkett his recall and he was quickly up into the high 80mph – a handful of mph faster than Jordan. He, too, nearly had a wicket with his third ball of a decent if occasionally erratic first spell. But there was no touch from the edge of Kaushal Silva’s bat and his wait goes on.

Jimmy Anderson’s reverse sweep for four off Rangana Herath took the biscuit Jimmy Anderson’s reverse sweep for four off Rangana Herath took the biscuit (PA)  

Shot, ball and moment of the day

Stephen Brenkley

Shot

For sheer chutzpah and improbability, Jimmy Anderson’s reverse sweep for four off Rangana Herath took the biscuit. It was bold, snappy, a model of timing. Anderson did not attempt a repeat, either resting on his laurels or afraid of mucking it up and costing Joe Root his double hundred.

Ball

In an uncrowded field, all one of England’s bowlers had to do was get something off the straight. The sixth ball of Anderson (left) was a classic. His first three to Dimuth Karunaratne had gone across the left-hander, this one swerved in late. The lbw was overturned but it was morally out.

Moment

It had been three years since an England player made 200, and at 120 for 4 it looked out of reach again. But with a calm approach Root did it. He reached the landmark with a fine sweep for two, kissed the helmet, punched the air, the sort of thing young men do these days.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition