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Day three

I was pleased to join the National Rusters flying in on the red-eye. I joined Duggie for breakfast. With us were the normal assortment of cricket tourists wearing some form of T-shirt advertising their tour or football club. They tucked into the copious buffet with some gusto. There was so much food left over that I hope it goes to some food bank.

I can see why Duggie described the journey to Galle as hairy. We overtook two cows making their way sedately.

One tuk-tuk parked on the verge pulled out without any warning just as a bus was overtaking in  the opposite direction causing our driver to take evasive action.

The hospitality box was comprised of 3 tours: the MCC one, the more down market Howzat and ours.

The MCC group, now dressed down from egg and tomato tie, long sleeved shirt and jacket to the more sensible polo shirt. You can see the why the subcontinent wrestled the moral authority of the game from the MCC, no doubt interpreting their patrician status as colonial and patronising.

I have written before how it is the Open, the FA, Wimbledon, this assumption that Britain still rules the waves and there is an empire with British sport at its epicentre. Still, we gave the Commonwealth countries the game of cricket even if in the last 50 years we have rarely been top dog.

It looks like only rain can prevent an English victory. We played patiently, possibly even tediously, to  accumulate a large total and lead then Keaton Jennings and Ben Foakes played their shots with more abandon. Sri Lanka will have to survive 6 sessions and there is not much in their first inning as to think they will.

I was delighted that stumps were drawn punctually at 5 pm. I’ve known Test matches in England to go beyond 6-30 to get the overs in. Spinners do their work more briskly.

In the longeurs I chatted to Graham Gooch about his beloved West Ham side, identifying most of the players in a 1964 team photograph and even noting the absence of Ronnie “Ticker” Boyce and keeper Jim Standen, a cricketer of some quality.

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts