England in Sri Lanka – 18th October 2018

Play started eight hours after the TalkSport commentary team arrived at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium, the length of a standard ODI. But it didn’t feel like that, it felt like eighteen, such was the apparent futility and hopelessness of the situation.

But when every tarpaulin cover was on the ground, not a single blade of grass on the entire playing surface was exposed to the rain and the 120+ ground staff are experts at dragging them all off, whilst barely spilling a drop. If it had been only the square and the run-ups which had been covered, the rest of the outfield would have been saturated and the match would have been abandoned.

Criticism of the scheduling during monsoon season was answered by a statement from the ECB rather than Sri Lanka Cricket which has more important things on its corporate mind at the mind, like the ICC ACU’s charges against Sanath Jayasuriya and the statement from their ACU chief, Alex Marshall, admitting that his team were “investigating a lot of people involved in Sri Lanka cricket.” Ouch.

The ECB said there was “very little wriggle room” in the international schedule as Sri Lanka played their first game on their tour of New Zealand just eight days after the conclusion of the third Test against England on November 27.

Much of the rain time, when not on air, was spent following the Player Draft for the Mzansi Super League. The English players were all interested in where they would end up and it was obvious from social media posts that the rest of the world was all sitting up and paying attention. This time it looks like it really will happen.

This England team, meanwhile, looks better and better. Even when uppity, disjointed Sri Lanka threatened to make a game of it, they were slapped down like an irritating mosquito. Of which there have been millions on tour so far…  


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