Tuesday, 24 May 2016

England v Sri Lanka 2nd Test Emirates Riverside Stadium Durham 27th - 31st May 2016

After a very one sided 1st Test match at Headingly the two teams travel north to Durham. Both of these selected venues under a bit of an attack due to the historical difficult conditions early in the year. This unfortunately has been a particularly wet May, but really trying to fit in two tours is the real crux of the problem. Whichever venues were picked for these May Test matches would be in the same boat. Although to be very fair runs up and down the country have been flowing with double hundreds just about everywhere. Headingly though certainly lived up to its notorious reputation of being a difficult place to bat early doors. Although Jonny Bairstow made it look very easy indeed. Clearly there are arguments for and against these early tests it just adds to the overall fixtures puzzle.

So Durham it is, and England have just the one change it is a straight swap Chris Woakes in to replace the unlucky Ben Stokes. How fortunes can change in just a couple of days. Poor Ben has this recurring injury and he knows it has to be sorted out, not very good timing, but when is good timing in a Cricket year that never stops?  So Chris gets the call up, walks out to bowl at Edgbaston and ends up with amazing figures of 36/9!! An unbelievable day, so he travels up North with all the confidence in the World.

Jake Ball had just two days playing for Notts all the way down South in Southampton, but I think good for ECB for sorting this out, its not perfect, but what else do you do? Let the lad watch Cricket all summer? That's not right. I am sure he will get his chance. Perhaps in the 3rd Test if it's 2-0 then his chance will come. Years ago though, that's what you would do, sit watch and pretend to smile, in between serving the drinks. But thankfully we have moved on and much more pro active thinking can be a win win situation. The counties do have to give and take, and looking from the outside, in, it seems that they are.

So England will line up Cook Hales Compton Root Vince Bairstow Ali Woakes Broad Finn Anderson and Ball 12th Man.

Both Compton and Vince do have some work to do, its a tough sport, as unfortunately the pressure is on them already. We do have some others waiting in the wings Westley, Robson, Northeast, Bell and Bell-Drummond and of course the returning Jos Buttler to name a few. I can think of a few more but perhaps these are the front runners for now.

Sri Lanka, now don't feel too sorry for them, their record against us in England has been alright. In 2011 we were expected to win easily it was just 1-0 and back in 2006 it was 1-1. It looks like they are going to struggle in our early English conditions, but so did a lot of our batsmen to be fair. Broad and Anderson being the difference between the two teams. JB saving the day with the bat of course. Well done to Hales as well a good contribution.

The Sri Lankans have now also got another injured player Dushmantha Chameera he has a back injury and is going all the way back home to Colombo. There will be a meeting to decide who will be called up as a replacement. This of course comes on top of the injury before the 1st Test to Prasad, his replacement Kusal Perera is now here. They clearly have not named their line up yet as they do have some shuffling around to make.


Just 32,000 (or thereabouts) tickets sold, that is for ALL FIVE DAYS that means this is never going to break even, and I have to say a surprise, or is it? The pointers in the decline in numbers following Cricket at Durham have been there for all to see. The area is of course is a huge footballing community and only this month they have all seen dramatic games, all full to capacity, at Middlesbough, Sunderland and Newcastle Simple cost of living economics makes following top sport difficult, they are all expensive. Football will always be first love for most in the North East.

The ECB are very keen to keep the Test Cricket in Durham, there would be a large gap on the Cricket Test Map if it didn't exist. They are however praying for good weather and the seats can be bought by walk in's on a day to day basis. It is of course Bank Holiday weekend, lets hope they get to the Bank Holiday Monday which is Day Four!

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