Snakes & Ladders: England's quest to reach top of game

England have fixed their sights on becoming the world's No 1 Test team – and sooner rather than later. Given a good run of results, and a fair wind, they could be crowned by the end of a summer which sees them start against fourth-ranked Sri Lanka and then tackle leaders India. Knowing England, though, their journey from today in third spot is unlikely to be without its ups and downs. Or snakes and ladders. Independent Sport will monitor England's progress on a daily basis throughout the summer's seven Tests.



Up: England were short of wickets at Lord's yesterday, but maybe that was just as well for the good folk of one Lancashire town. "If he gets caught out there I'll show my backside in Blackburn Boulevard," promised "Bumble" Lloyd when discussing an unusual field placing on Sky TV.



Down: Sri Lanka's decision to bowl first surprised most people. Now we know where the idea came from: Arjuna Ranatunga (the skipper who invited England to make a big score at The Oval in 1998 and then supervised a stunning 10-wicket win) is in town.



Up: Re: Ranatunga's master stroke of 13 years ago. There is one major reason to reckon that a repeat result is extremely unlikely: Sri Lanka no longer have a certain M Muralitharan (16 for 220 at The Oval) in their line-up.



Down: England are clearly anticipating more injuries to follow Jimmy Anderson's side strain. They had not one, not two, not three but four 12th men (if that is not a contradiction in terms) on standby yesterday.



Down: You can't say England haven't tried to make life painful for Tillakaratne Dilshan. Three times they've struck him on the right thumb with bone-jarring blows (once in Cardiff, twice at Lord's) but he will not submit. Perhaps Sri Lanka's captain is indestructible.



State of play on the snakes and ladders board: Back one place, England.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory