Snakes & Ladders: England's Quest To Reach Top Of The Game

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The Independent Online

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, starting with yesterday's action.

Ladder: England fielded like Supermen in Australia and Strauss suggested the high standard was here to stay with a good grab to get rid of Mahela Jayawardene.

Snake: That's the trouble with standards – they can slip. Cook and Morgan just failed to reach possible chances, and then, wouldn't you know it, Pietersen messed up a routine stop.

Snake: Don't give up the day job, Jonathan. Trott's attempt to be a fifth bowler was the worst impersonation since John Prescott's guide to spoken English.

Snake: Just how long in the Test season we would have to wait for a Broad double teapot? Those who bet on the 86th over won as Stu had another lbw appeal turned down. But Aleem Dar was right.

Ladder: A chap climbed up a tree waving a banner which invited David 'Bumble' Lloyd out for a drink to celebrate his birthday (the tree climber's). That's what being the best team in the world means – people are willing to climb trees to catch a glimpse.

Snake: One of the viewing areas at Sophia Gardens is the Regent Cleaning Stand. Shouldn't the best be playing in front of, say, the WG Grace Stand?

Ladder: England will say a lot of hard work went into perfecting the finger-tip, Trott style run-out of non-striker Maharoof. We believe you.

Ladder: Broad was desperate for a wicket to reach the 100 mark in Tests and while being spooned to mid-on by Thisara Perera may not have been ideal, it brought a smile.

Snake: England thought they had just the one Jayawardene to worry about (Mahela) but Prasanna's century put them right on that score.

Snake: Jimmy Anderson said you had to bend your back, but he overdid it and was off for a scan last night.

State of play on snakes and ladders board: Go back one place England.