21st March 2011

So, Sri Lanka in Columbo. I wonder how England keeps the lollercoaster rolling now? Another tied game? Team bus takes us to the wrong stadium? Jimmy bowls well? Something unexpected has to happen.

My money’s on an outbreak of Delhi belly leaving us with eleven men standing, Murali helps out as fielding sub and ends his international career with the catch that knocks Sri Lanka out of the competition. Sounds unlikely I know, but I’m beginning to think our bowling machine doubles up as one of Douglas Adams’ improbability drives. How else do you explain Luke Wright’s forty-four the other night? If he’d made forty-two I’d be sure I was on to something.

Slightly eerie atmosphere today. So strange being on the sub-continent when there isn’t a game of cricket being televised. It feels like India is wandering aimlessly around, directionless, as if their feet are encased in mud. The population in general I mean, not just Manaf and Chawla during fielding practice.

Speaking of practise, we’re still hard at it ourselves. You don’t achieve this level of consistency without putting in the hours. We are, to use the words of Andy Flower, “touching base with our core skills to cover all directions of the compass”.

I wonder if I do forty-two laps of the ground he’ll turn in to a bowl of petunias?