Alastair Cook, England cricket, England vs Sri Lanka, Jade Dernbach, Kevin Pietersen, Sanya Michelangelo, Stuart Broad
After most of the Test series was spoiled by rain, England took on Sri Lanka in shorter formats. The Twenty20 was a flop show for England but the one-day series provided some entertainment. Although, Alastair Cook had captained England before, this was his first stint as a full-time captain.
1st ODI, The Oval: The first one-day was reduced to 32 overs per side because rain decided not to spare cricket even after the Test series. England's innings was interesting, with 4 batsmen firing up. England finished with 229/8 at a run rate of 7.15. Sri Lanka's innings was a complete wipe-out as England won by 110 runs.
2nd ODI, Headingley: The second one-day was the opposite to the first. Sri Lanka batted first and beat England by 69 runs. Also, in the first game, Alastair Cook went cheaply but scored 48 in the second. That's the thing about being a captain, you aren't happy if you don't perform or if your team loses.
Alastair Cook showed he has a captain's mind with his brief stints as captain earlier but now, it's clear that the man leads from the front. Whether England are batting or fielding, you can always tell who the captain is. He stays more involved in the game than England's Test captain Andrew Strauss and his authority shows. And he is calm and cool, unlike Stuart Broad, who looked anxious during the Twenty20 defeat. Cook can take loses sportingly and knows how to come back. His strategies are hard to understand though. His bowling changes unpredictable.
3rd ODI, Lord's: The third one-day was Sri Lanka's show. The only positives for England were the century by Alastair Cook and Pietersen's smashing 41. From the time Pietersen arrived to the time he went, 49 runs were scored including extras. He came, stole the show and lofted a sweep into deep mid-wicket's hands. Another interesting sight was Angelo Mathews' batting, who made a shocking 21-ball 1. No wonder he drove the Sri Lankans, especially captain Dilshan crazy on the balcony. Also, he was only given one over earlier in the day so that suggests all is not well between him and the management.
4th ODI, Trent Bridge: The teams kept the rivalry interesting by squaring the series at 2-2. The 4th one day was the most one-sided game of the series. All England bowlers and the openers, who didn't let other batsmen bat, were impressive. England's captain ended with 95*. The victory would have so much more sweeter with another century by Cook but the captain only cared about one thing - winning. When England needed 8, he needed 6 and took a single and Kieswetter smacked Kulasekara for a six!
At the presentation ceremony, Cook was asked if asking the groundsmen to leave some grass on the pitch was a right thing to do, to which Cook replied aptly,
The home advantage is there in all sports so you can use it.
It certainly doesn't seem unfair after what Sri Lanka gives us when we go there. They got a taste of their own medicine and should learn to adapt to English conditions. England and Sri Lanka's rivalry has heated up this year, with Sri Lanka sending England home from the World Cup, England making Sri Lanka toil in the Tests, Sri Lanka winning the Twenty20 with no struggle and England winning the one-dayers by 3-2.
5th ODI, Old Trafford: I heard the final game was a rocker. Yeah, I barely watched it. Somehow, I wasn't interested in cricket on that day and slept after England took a few wickets. Stuart Broad should be dropped though. He is a gem England found for one-day and Twenty20 but damaged his confidence by giving him a permanent place in Tests. He is someone I want to see in the shorter formats in the future but not in Tests.
Whatever I've heard or seen of Jade Dernbach has impressed me and I think he is capable of being a member of England's Test squad. Though, he is also a drama queen like Broad.
Sri Lanka's tour of England had been cited as a preparation for the showdown, which will start on July 21. England v/s India is always an exciting battle so hopefully we'll get our summer dose of entertaining cricket through it. For now, this is Sanya Batra, signing off. Cheers!