After an excellent start to their summer we review the recent Test and One Day International Series between England and Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka proved an excellent workout for England as the side continues to cement and develop. Johnny Bairstow was an absolute star while Alex Hales took his opportunity at opener.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) 2 July 2016
There is plenty still to work on, but it is all good. The statistics pretty much explain why England found it relatively easy to secure a convincing 2-0 series win in the Tests.
At 41.21 England’s batting average was far better than Sri Lanka’s 22.58.
Surprisingly it was the lower order who excelled with 603 runs scored by England’s Nos. 6 and 7 batsmen at an average of 120.60.
That took in two centuries from Bairstow and one from Moeen Ali.
For the top five positions, England’s average was only 32.33. But they say it is bowlers who win matches and England’s fast bowlers were terrific – nearly 50 wickets at a strike rate of 38.2.
England spinners still an area of concern; but Alex Hales stars with the bat
England’s spinners are a worry however, with a 99.50 bowling average. Moeen took 2 for 180 while Joe Root had 0 for 19. Sri Lanka’s spinners averaged 37.50, with Rangana Herath taking seven of their ten wickets.
One day this spin dilemma will catch England out.
In the batting department the hope is that the problem of who opens with captain Alastair Cook may be close to being solved. Hales was the eighth opening partner Cook has had since the retirement of Andrew Strauss.
He produced three big scores, appears to have learned from his mistakes and is growing into the role with a better understanding of what international cricket requires.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) 24 June 2016
Hales’ development was, in Cook’s view, the major plus England could take from the series victory.
Cook said: “Three scores of 80 and above from Alex was really pleasing, He’s certainly tightened up his game from South Africa and probably just learned about Test cricket.”
With 212 runs at 70.66, Cook was once again assured. And in the process he passed 10,000 Test runs.
Bairstow another shining star in England line-up
Outstanding with the bat, Bairstow remains inconsistent with the gloves. It is an area where he needs to work hard, particularly standing up to the spinners. Despite taking 19 catches – a record for an England wicketkeeper in a three-Test series – Bairstow’s glovework has been criticised thanks to three drops and a missed stumping.
Yet it did not stop him being named Man of the Series.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) 13 June 2016
Joe Root is pure quality but he disappointed against Sri Lanka with just 87 runs at 21.75.
He had been on an incredible run so it is odd that it didn’t happen this time.
But he is allowed a blip and you can be sure he will rise to the challenge when tougher contests come round.
Bowlers again produce the goods for England with more excellent performances
Turning to the bowlers, another excellent series for James Anderson. He is 34 now but still a model for up-and-coming youngsters. His 21 wickets and a bowling average of 10.80 says it all.
Stuart Broad, 12 wickets, bowled well while Steven Finn chipped in with seven.
With all-rounder Ben Stokes able to bat just once and bowl only seven overs before injury ruled him out, it was a chance for Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes. And he took it – 105 runs at 52.50 and eight wickets at 18.75.
Hopefully he can continue to improve.
So, overall, quality stuff from England – onwards and upwards.
Attention now turns to Pakistan
England’s attention will now turn to the series with Pakistan which will feature all three formats of the game; Test, One Day and T20.
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