England in Sri Lanka – 20th October 2018

Joe Denly and Liam Plunkett have arrived in Sri Lanka. Plunkett carefully arranged his marriage to allow plenty of time for the ODI series only for it to be moved to the start of the series rather than the end, as had been originally scheduled.

Denly, already in the Test squad, was in the gym when the call came from Ed Smith. “I missed it – I had to call him back. It wasn’t too bad to reorganise, just Daddy day-care stuff to reorganise which my wife wasn’t too pleased with, but I’m happy to be here,” he told Talksport radio.

“It was a long time ago (2010) when I was last involved and a lot’s happened since then. White-ball cricket has developed and changed, the way people approach it. There’s some steady players and some steady teams around, none more so than England.” Steady? Steadily explosive, maybe.

“Watching the England team develop over the last few years, watching them rise to number one in the world, you think it’s going to be a tough gig to get involved. The team is playing brilliant cricket and are on the back of two very good wins. It’s up to me to stake a claim where I can,” Denly said.

Outside of practice it was time to run to Kandy city centre and do a lap of the Kandy Lake. Unsurprisingly it hasn’t changed much over the years since I first visited – maybe even prettier, but that might just be my age.
I have no idea whether Lt General Kulatunge was a people’s hero or not, but when I showed the photograph to local residents they had instant recognition, and were gobsmacked that I didn’t: “It is Mahela…Mahela Jayawardene,” they said. No need to say this, but… the great batsman is on the billboard behind the Lt General.



My next topic of investigation, in between how England can fit seven all-rounders in their starting XI, will be the Buddha statues. Some are enormous, beautiful and regal. And some really aren’t.

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