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First day at Kandy

It was England’s day but the supremacy was not easily achieved. Of the first seven in the order, only two scored more runs twenty (Rory Burns  and Josh Buttler) and a score nearer 200 than 300 looked likely. Sam Curran was the hero of the hour.

He has scored more sixes than anyone in Test cricket this year but this was no T20 slog-fest. He showed calm judgment and had a number 11 the other end.

Probably we could have done with Bairstow and one senses not a total confidence in Rashid. I have never seen the sweep shot played more liberally, it was the rise and fall of Josh Buttler.

The Sri Lankans looked demoralised and the passive field set to Curran and Jimmy Anderson was baffling.

The stadium is modern one with two large stands facing each other and grass in between. The outfield was better kept than at Galle and a dry wicket had been prepared.

It’s invaluable to have the perception of Test cricketers at hand: Graham Gooch saw that the wicket was swept between innings which could only help England as the bowling side.

At the start of his career his nickname was “Bungalow” (nothing up top) but this is unfair. He was born in the era of the public school captain of South East counties like Colin Cowdrey at Kent, Ted Dexter at Sussex, Peter May at Surrey and Colin Ingleby -Mackenzie at Hampshire but he was Leytonstone Grammar and Essex.

He served England well, never besmirched his or his country’s reputation with misconduct off or on pitch, and talks knowledgeably on cricket.

One ex-cricketer who passed by Mike Gatting.

My, he has put on weight.

As he chatted to Graham Gooch, most of the outfield was obscured from my view sitting in the box behind the two.

It was an enjoyable day’s cricket enlivened by a text from Alan Tanner that Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokatovic had been sacked and replaced by Claudio Ranieri.

Alan was neither surprised nor upset. It was his view that he was responsible for Fulham’s disastrous start and the new man has time to address their problems particularly their leaky defence.

On a hot if humid day, England seems (and is) long way away and we are all have enjoyed the trip. Some of us are veterans of England on tour but few have seen a victory and we look set to win the series.

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