England in Sri Lanka – 27th November 2018

And so it ends.

Joe Root came of age as a captain and spoke of his pride at the way his team had “stuck to their guns” in playing “a positive, attacking brand of cricket” and he has the record to prove it was the right approach.

Jack Leach picked his final day run out of Kusal Mendis, with a direct hit from 40 yards, as his favourite moment of the series – well above any of his 17 wickets.

Jonny Bairstow recovered from the bizarre persecution complex which afflicted the celebrations after his century in Colombo and man-of-the-series, Ben Foakes, said that his original arrangements for the winter “had not gone exactly according to plan” but that he was available for the next Test match in Barbados in January “…if selected.”

 

The irrepressible Darren Gough has been broadcasting for TalkSport for 10 years but for Matt Prior it was the first time on tour since he retired. He unashamedly (proudly, actually) adopted the commentary team as family – much as he did with the England cricket team in which he was so successful – and led in every way. Nothing much escapes the former wicket keeper’s attention and he was he most generous dispenser of hugs and encouragement. He was also a great seeker of broadcasting advice. He is a very fine human being.

As is Gareth Batty whose infectious and unrelenting enthusiasm is matched only by his inability to allow his feet to leave the ground. If he ever gets ahead of himself in life he “would be the guy to land the first punch. I’d right hook myself.”

Another salt-of-the-earth man it was a pleasure to spend time with – because we so rarely work on the same series – was Marais Erasmus. The humble Bolander worked hard to climb to the top of the umpiring tree and even harder to stay there. Sadly, Cricket South Africa did not see fit to inquire about his availability for the second half of the Mzansi Super League (for which he was available) but it does mean he will be able to enjoy a decent December break in Hermanus.

Thank you to all who subscribed and have been reading the Tour Diary. If it put a single smile on your face it was worth it. That’s all it was intended to do.

 

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