The clouds were there at Lord’s yesterday on the morning of day three of the second test but no swing. It was too cold or, more exactly, not warm enough to generate movement in the air.
There was some lively bounce to be exploited but the Englandbowlers’ radar equipment had been borrowed by the backroom staff to watch for rain and too many deliveries jetted down the leg side or blew themselves out outside off.
In the dressing room the radar revealed that the French were exporting precipitation in a cunning plan to narrow their budget deficit. The dominant anti-cyclone, centred somewhere over the North Sea, was producing rain squalls swirling across from Calais to Dover and then along the Downs missing Lord’s by a whisker, but always threatening to edge northwards and drench the entertainment.
Dilshan despite concerns over his right thumb, smacked hard at Cardiff and buffeted again on day two, bravely increased his score by 60 before lunch, England dissipating the potential of the new ball.
If he continued at this rate of knots he could reach 300 by close of play. Sri Lanka took their score to 344/2 by the same interval. If they continued to storm ahead they could reach 600 by close of play. Was the track that flat? The England bowlers seemed to think so. None of them were keen to bowl on it.
The Englandbowling coach spent his time on the dressing room balcony, note pad in hand, endeavouring unsuccessfully to direct Finn’s aero-dynamics from afar. “For God’s Saker!”
Finn, working with Saker before the start of play had nearly killed Trott who is having one of those weeks. An unusually accurate delivery from the Flying Finn had ricocheted off the spring propelled practice stump straight into the head of a Trott wandering lonely as a cloud. “For God’s Saker!” heard those watching from the Grand Stand.
Tremlett produced steep and disturbing bounce, but it was an innocuous tempter that did for Sangakara, who, keen to match his average score in England of 27, had pummelled his way to 26 before wafting breezily at the passing delivery.
The former Lankan captain and the former England captain, Pietersen, may have much in common and might wish to use any future interruption in play to talk about their predicaments. But both would be advised to avoid Sir Ian Botham to whom Pietersen, the day before, had sought advice. “What should I do, then, Both?” “Try batting left handed!” Pietersen’s reply to this characteristically helpful advice from ‘Beefy’ went unrecorded.
Mahela Jayawardene now played Southern Hemisphere to Dilshan’s Northern. Mahela waits for the ball, playing late and using its momentum to redirect the whirlwind (as the first Duke of Marlborough advised).
Dilshan throws his hands at it. Tragically this day he did so literally when on 193 another twister from Tremlett honed in on that thumb, tightly bound in tape as it was, and gave it a third cyclonic pounding in roughly a week.
Soon after, and with the Lankan physio doing his very best to make things worse by tugging on the digit to see how bad it was, “For God’s Saker!” the valiant opener, beside himself with pain, received a ripper from Flynn that swept through his defences and recoiled from his hip down onto the stumps.
In sympathy the Great Weatherman thought that enough was enough. French rain precipitated the end of the meteorological allusions for the day.
Sri Lanka trail by 114 runs with 7 wickets remaining in the 1st innings