When they go back to Bristol, the sky is still 50 shades of blue-grey. We now have a dead rubber and a possible wash-out, and what play there has been has been dismally predictable. This match is making a strong bid for the dampest squib of the year.
Sky has been filling the gap by showing Mike Atherton’s documentary about England’s tour of India in 1993. I hope the Sri Lankans have been watching in the dressing-room and seeing that however bad things are for them right now, at least they’re not being asked to take 18-hour train journeys. Or put up with Dermot Reeve pointing a video camera at them when they’re about to throw up.
“Similarity between this match and stage 9 of the Tour de France!” says Andrew Benton. “It’s pelting it down right now. Absolutely pelting.” And he’s in Bristol.
Noooo! It’s raining again. The lights are on, and they’re glowing out of a sky that is beautiful – half-grey, half-blue – but menacing.
Thanks Geoff, afternoon everyone and welcome to the one sporting event this weekend that is guaranteed to be good for your resting heart rate. Eoin Morgan stuck to the script, and so did the Sri Lankans. Can they find a late twist? Will the rain hold off? Will England take the hint from Geoff and try to knock off the runs inside 20 overs? All these questions will soon have answers.
If I were king, the innings break would be 10 minutes given we were already off for rain earlier in the innings. Get the game going, increase the chance of getting it finished. But I shall have to hand the mace instead to Tim de Lisle, next in the line of OBO succession. Enjoy the chase.
England must chase 167 to win
41.1 overs: Sri Lanka 165-10 (Shanaka 47) Another poor batting performance from the Sri Lankans, and another happy day for England in the field. They’ll face an easy chase of 167 to win, and their main opponent from here will be the weather. They’ll need to face 20 overs for Duckworth-Lewis-Stern to be brought into play to calculate a winner. Or they could just score the 165 in less than 20 overs and reduce their risk of a washout. Bairstow and Roy have had partnerships of that size and speed.
The English pattern of sharing the wickets around continued today: 4 for Tom Curran, two each for Willey and Woakes, one for Rashid.
WICKET! Asitha Fernando run out 0, Sri Lanka all out 166
That seals it. First ball of Sam Curran’s over, Shanaka whips to deep midwicket. Takes off, and has to try to come for the second. But a couple of steps down the pitch he decides that he’s not going to make it, and turns back. The No11 has no time to register that, he’s already flat out sprinting from the striker’s end to the non-striker’s. So he ends up at the same end as his batting partner, and the throw comes in to the far end for Bairstow to tip off the bails.
Not sure if Shanaka just decided that a red ink was better than getting run out for no reason – they really had to try for the second, and put pressure on the throw in. Probably wouldn’t have made it, but who knows.
41st over: Sri Lanka 165-9 (Shanaka 47, Asitha 0) Righto, same game again. Shanaka hitting hard to boundary riders and declining to run singles. Fourth ball of the over, he says sod that, and clubs Rashid for six! Huge shot, a drag-down from Rashid and Shanaka flat-bats it over long on. It takes a fair while to find the ball, and then umpire Michael Gough gets sledged by Bairstow for the strength of his underarm throw in returning the sanitised ball to the fielding team.
40th over: Sri Lanka 158-9 (Shanaka 40, Asitha 0) If one Curran doesn’t have any overs left, go to another Curran. Sam still has five to spare. Starts with a wide. Morgan has his field as far spread as is legal in this format, wanting to get the No11 on strike. Shanaka won’t play ball, turning down singles, then looking to play a ramp shot but he misses and is hit in the ribs. Gets a bit of the magic spray, that’ll fix ya. Four balls down, no run off the bat. Fifth ball, carves through cover for four! Top shot, that dip of the knees to get low and then a fierce swing.
Now the field comes right up. Everyone in. Shanaka plays straight to point, takes the run anyway, and Willey’s throw misses. Asitha would have been well short.
I’ve often thought that teams in situations like this, if they want the keeper to stay back, should bring in a short leg or silly point. Someone to stand over the striker’s stumps as soon as the shot is played. You often see situations that could use that player late in matches when teams are running byes.
39th over: Sri Lanka 152-9 (Shanaka 35, Asitha 0) Asitha Fernando comes out and gets hit on the pad by Rashid’s googly, but the bowler can’t quite bring himself to demand a DRS review. Probably missing leg stump.
We’ve had four Fernandos in the team today, yet not one Fernando-Fernando partnership.
WICKET! Chameera st Bairstow b Rashid 16, Sri Lanka 152-9
Sharp eyes from Bairstow. Rashid bowls wide of off, Chameera plays a lavish cover drive at it, down on one knee, and misses. He stays exactly in the pose, ruing the ruination of his masterpiece shot, but not thinking that he might be about to get out. Because his back foot is anchored, right? It sure is. But it’s anchored on the line, not behind it. Bairstow sees that, and takes the bails. The third umpire finds it hard to call given the paint of the crease has been completely worn away, but the other camera angle does give a sense of where the line should be given where it resumes, and there’s enough evidence to rule that he’s out.
38th over: Sri Lanka 151-8 (Shanaka 34, Chameera 16) Four in the slip cordon! Morgan keeps adding them through Tom Curran’s over, as the bowler works through his 10th and final instalment. He concedes four runs thanks to overthrows as Chameera thought about a run to gully, and otherwise just tests out the pocket of air surrounding the edge of Chameera’s bat. Just can’t get that nick!
10 overs, 4 for 35 for Tom Curran.
37th over: Sri Lanka 147-8 (Shanaka 34, Chameera 12) Much more economical over for Rashid this time around, and it didn’t take him an hour to get to finish bowling it. Shanaka takes a double and a one, Chameera a single.
36th over: Sri Lanka 143-8 (Shanaka 31, Chameera 11) Tom Curran will be desperate for a fifth wicket today. It doesn’t happen in this over as he warms up again, with three singles collected by the batting team.
35th over: Sri Lanka 140-8 (Shanaka 29, Chameera 10) Welcome back, Adil Rashid. First ball back, the Sri Lankan No10 clouts it through cover for four. Second ball back, full toss, wide slash, top edge through deep third for another boundary.
Proper rain now, the big heavy stuff. That reminds me that there was an Australian band in the early 2000s (and possibly at other times) called Big Heavy Stuff. The song that I remember is called Hibernate. Which is what you’d want to be doing in this weather. Nice tune.
If this pause has left you bereft of things to do, weeping into the cold blank void that stretches eternally above us, you might like to hop over to see Tanya on the county cricket blog. Some matches have been rained off but there are some underway.
It’s been drizzling for an over or so already, and the umpires to their credit tried to wait it out, but it gets heavier and they’re off. For how long? Who but the universal powers beyond our understanding might know.
34.3 overs: Sri Lanka 132-8 (Shanaka 29, Chameera 2) A wide first, then Rashid gets the googly going, too much turn in the end as it went so sharply, beating Chameera into the pad but continuing down the leg side.
And we’re off for rain.
34th over: Sri Lanka 131-8 (Shanaka 29, Chameera 2) Sliced by Shanaka high over backward point from Tom Curran’s bowling for a couple of runs, his first shot in anger for a while. He takes a single to follow from the fifth ball, but the tailender Chameera undoes that arrangement by getting another to keep the strike himself.
33rd over: Sri Lanka 126-8 (Shanaka 26, Chameera 1) This rather aimless innings continues, a couple of singles from Rashid’s over.
32nd over: Sri Lanka 124-8 (Shanaka 25, Chameera 0) Tom Curran has 4 for 24. Gracious.
WICKET! Binura Fernando c Bairstow b Tom Curran 7, Sri Lanka 124-8
The net is over. Curran bangs this ball into the pitch, a bit of seam scramble, maybe a bit of movement, and the tall tailender has a piratical swish at it, across the line. Don’t know if he was aiming off side or leg side, and I don’t know that he knew either. In the end he only gets a little edge, and Bairstow takes a much easier catch than the previous.
31st over: Sri Lanka 122-7 (Shanaka 24, Binura 6) Can’t say that hanging around out here is going to Sri Lanka much good, aside from being a quality net for their lower order. Binura uses his height to get forward to defend against Rashid, then goes back at the end of the over to stab the googly off his pads for a single.
30th over: Sri Lanka 121-7 (Shanaka 24, Binura 5) Big Binura Fernando, our third Fernando for the day, emerges to face our second Curran. Hits him for four first ball, a simple back-foot punch by the seven-footer.
WICKET! Karunaratne c Bairstow b Tom Curran 11, Sri Lanka 116-7
“One glove, one heart, let’s join together and feel alright.” Jonny Bairstow takes the Bob Marley route. Outstanding catch! Karunaratne pokes at the ball outside off stump, an innocuous delivery, and gets a thick edge going wide of the keeper. Bairstow flings, flies, and gets one desperately seeking glove out there. It looks like a drop. It has to be a drop. A deflection for a run, a spill for four maybe. But no. As he comes up from his landing, he has the ball in the webbing, safe as a government minister’s Caymans account.
29th over: Sri Lanka 115-6 (Shanaka 23, Karunaratne 11) Rashid carries on, with Karunaratne happy to lurk back on his stumps and crib the ball away where he can. Picks up a run, then adds another with an overthrow.
28th over: Sri Lanka 112-6 (Shanaka 23, Karunaratne 9) Woakes to bowl out, hunting pads in his final over, looking for one more wicket. He doesn’t get it, but finishes with the very old-school figures of 2 for 28 from ten overs.
27th over: Sri Lanka 110-6 (Shanaka 22, Karunaratne 8) Adil Rashid on to bowl, and that one goes for six. First over of spin we’ve seen today. Long on goes back, and Shanaka goes that way anyway. Dead straight in the end. Flattish leg-break from Rashid and Shanaka swings through it. Looks easy when it works.
26th over: Sri Lanka 102-6 (Shanaka 15, Karunaratne 7) Woakes looks threatening every ball. He’s coming from quite wide on the crease and then straightening the ball with swing. When he winds the length back, it takes Shanaka’s inside edge past the stumps, perilously. But from the last ball of the over he starts too straight, with Shanaka disregarding the swing and cracking that ball off his pads, high over midwicket for four! It wasn’t high percentage, but it was some shot. Lands just inside the rope and over, taking Sri Lanka past three figures.
25th over: Sri Lanka 95-6 (Shanaka 10, Karunaratne 5) Starting to get into his groove is Karunaratne, taking two singles from this over. Willey has now bowled seven, taking 2 for 36. Woakes has bowled eight, 2 for 19. Between them, all a captain could ask for.
24th over: Sri Lanka 92-6 (Shanaka 9, Karunaratne 3) Woakes continues. Again, five balls of Karunaratne on strike before he manages to find a single. He’s basically a nightwatchman who arrived a day too late.
23rd over: Sri Lanka 91-6 (Shanaka 9, Karunaratne 2) Both opening bowlers are back in operation now, David Willey partnering Woakes again. He keeps Karunaratne on strike until the penultimate ball of the over, where there’s a tip-and-run single towards mid off. That’s where Woakes is fielding, and he supports his bowling partner by getting in quickly and underarming down the stumps while diving, nearly getting a run out by a matter of inches on the replay.
22nd over: Sri Lanka 89-6 (Shanaka 9, Karunaratne 1) Woakes is back, with four overs up his sleeve. Morgan wants to finish this game off. Inswing, away jag, keeps beating the edge, and Bairstow behind the stumps just throws his head back without a word. No run from the over.
21st over: Sri Lanka 89-6 (Shanaka 9, Karunaratne 1) Now it’s the turn of Chamika Karunaratne to try to build something with the bat. Did this job in the past two matches: 21 and 19 not out from down the order.
WICKET! Hasaranga c Willey b Tom Curran 20, Sri Lanka 87-6
The short ball again. An innocuous one from a bowler who doesn’t blow up the radar. Hasaranga keeps getting out like this, trying to pull when the ball is shoulder height and is outside the off stump. He has to come across the ball, meaning he’s much more likely to mis-strike it. And does so again, top edge with a helping of toe out to deep square leg. See ya later.