England destroy Sri Lanka in crazy afternoon in Cardiff

May 31, 2011

Photo by Ihourahane

The spectators along with Andrew Strauss turned up at The Swalec Stadium in Cardiff yesterday expecting to see more rain, more docile cricket, and early handshakes all-round.

They certainly got the early handshakes part right, but the cricket was anything but stale.

England turned in one of the most exhilarating performances of all time in the field, which broke the back and hearts of Sri Lankans worldwide. It was like watching England in Trinidad all over again, but this time it was Tillakaratne Dilshan and his side on the receiving end, not Michael Atherton.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for a miserly 82 in just over 24 overs, by an England team missing their spearhead Jimmy Anderson. This all meant that England won the game by an innings and 14 runs.

With Anderson injured, it was left to the giant Chris Tremlett to take the new ball. Tremlett then produced a spell of bowling that was as good as you would see in Test cricket by any fast bowler of any era.

The Surrey fast bowler made a slow Cardiff wicket look like the WACA in Perth as the ball was flying through to Matt Prior with consistent pace and bounce. Tremlett also bowled with a high sense of intelligence, as he realised that a fuller length at times was also going to cause the Sri Lankan batsmen huge problems. His excellent figures of 4-40 do not even come close to representing what was a heroic performance.

Tremlett was well backed up by England’s two other remaining fit bowlers. Graeme Swann ripped through the Sri Lankan middle order, and also picked up four wickets, costing just 16 runs in the process. Stuart Broad claimed the final two scalps with some aggressive short pitched bowling that was too good for the Sri Lankan tail.

Winning on the final day in Cardiff was beyond all of England’s wildest dreams, and it would have dealt a huge psychological blow to the tourists ahead of the second Test match starting at Lords on Friday.

Chris Murtagh 31/05/01

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