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



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


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.


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.


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.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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