Is a draw in Sri Lanka a good result?

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Historically, a drawn Test series in Sri Lanka is a pretty good result for England. Set against that is the fact that Muttiah Muralitharan doesn’t play any more. Sri Lanka’s bowlers are a bit middling. Should England have done better?

Well we’re pretty happy with a draw, particularly after watching three Tests against Pakistan in which we’re pretty certain England never actually batted – we can’t remember any batsmen being at the crease, anyway. Also, at the start of the winter, we pointed out that England’s batsmen were basically untested against spin. As we suspected, most of them turned out to be pretty crap, so a 1-1 draw feels a bit of a result.

So yeah, England could have done better, but it would have been pretty special if they’d managed it. Life isn’t all fillet steak and Chianti Classico. Sometimes you have to acknowledge that you’re pretty lucky that you don’t still live in a world where the only sandwich fillings are ham or egg.

What are we blathering about?

England’s bowling, of course. England’s bowling is a sandwich menu from heaven compared to years gone by. It wasn’t so many years ago that Darren Gough would get injured and you’d have to have potted beef on your sarnie. No-one was happy about that and spin bowling only got up to ‘fish paste on Mighty White’ standard at best.

These days opening bowlers get injured and they’re replaced with prosciutto and brie. A quality spinner gets dropped and some sort of delightfully spiced prawn concoction turns up on toasted ciabatta. It’s unparalleled luxury. We’re so spoilt.

Basically, back in the day, England’s batsmen AND bowlers would have been gash. At least they’re half a side these days.


  1. In this match Swann went past Tony Lock in the list of England wicket takers (and Gus Fraser). In a few more matches he’ll have got past Jim Laker too.

  2. There’s something surprisingly special about fish paste sandwiches. And liver sausage ones.

    There’s something Willis and Underwood about those sandwich fillings – nothing flash but likely to get the job done when necessary.

    Of course, I’m a well-known toasted ciabatta or focaccia man myself these days, washed down with a double-espresso straight from the gaggia.

    But personally I’d liken those exotic and modern luxuries to the DRS system and/or television coverage of all test matches, home and away, not to the latest swathe of good players wearing England shirts.

    1. Agh. It’s just DRS. The S is for ‘system’.

      We’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt this time and assume this was a deliberate attempt to taunt us.

  3. If it wasn’t for what had happened in the UAE Emirates we’d all be just slighly disappointed. A draw in Asia and the feeling that if the series had been longer England would have won. Four good bowling performance and the batting was only really poor once. Of course what happened in the UAE Emirates did happen.

    1. What happened in the UAE Emirates actually makes it better. Who but a giant of world cricket could turn things round in such unfriendly conditions? This is truly one of the greatest teams in ever.

      (I’ve decided that only purest white or deepest black will do for supporting England these days. No more shades of salmon paste.)

  4. The fact that England were routinely hammering side after side regaradless of ranking until their weakness was spotted over this winter suggests that they have rather more than half a side. Perhaps 4/5. And considering that this 4/5 of a side has performed notably better than any other side in the world over the last few years, perhaps what you meant is 4/5 of an all-time great side, not just of “a side”. After all, Zimbabwe are “a side”, and they’re mostly pants.

    Considering that you seem to be expecting perfection, I’d say that getting rather more than halfway towards that is making a fair fist of it.

  5. I just heard Michael Vaughan say that momentum in sport is a big thing.

    Whilst he’s interviewing phil mickelson. A golfer. Vaughan is doing golf interviews.

  6. Why must the spinner be a “delightfully spiced prawn concoction”? Why can’t HE be the filet mignon sometimes? This is part of the reason why England are (usually) shite at playing spin – if it is an exotic and dark art practiced by wily foreigners, we can’t be reasonably expected to master it. In fact I have a similar problem with describing spinners as “wily”, “cunning” bowlers who “plot” dismissals. Spin is no different from reverse swing or good short-pitched bowling – a cricket skill that can be learned, practiced and mastered.

    Now I will get off the soap box and go watch the IPL League.

    1. (1) It had to be a sandwich filling. Realistically, filet mignon is not a sandwich filling (although it would be a good one)

      (2) Spices aren’t exotic. We have spices in England.

      (3) We totally agree that spinners don’t need to be wily. In January, we wrote about Monty Panesar and how his way of bowling is really quite admirable and not something to be disparaged. We sort of likened him to Glenn McGrath in the way he operates.

  7. I believe what you have created is, in the parlance of our time, a “meme”. A monsterous meme, perhaps, but a meme nonetheless. I can only imagine how much being associated with the parlance of our time.

    1. Is that a meme? That thing you did with ‘… distresses you’ appearing in a second comment?

      We can’t tell the difference between mistakes and memes any more.

    2. An ellipsis with more than three full stops is every bit as bad as a “UAE Emirates” or “DRS system”.

    3. Concluding one’s comments with exclamation marks, especially multiple ones, is especially irritating!!!

    4. ……and especially repetition of the same excitable word is also especially irritating!!!…..

      … could even be described as OWD disorder (over-excited writing disorder, disorder)!!!!!!!

    5. Ed, I was using the full stops to indicate a continuation, rather than to suggest that there was infact a lame gag which might otherwise have beenn missed. I will in future, be more judicious with my punctuation

  8. To look further afield..this suggests to me that with England’s rather impressive bowling side, and with South Africa’s rather impressive bowling side, the #1 ranking will be. determined by which of the 2 side’s manage to have a half decent batting side..

  9. KC, are you comparing Samit Patel to a spiced prawn on toasted ciabatta? Surely if we’re playing this game, he’s a marmite sandwich on tesco value white bread with a snickers on the side.

    You’re right about the surfeit of quality bowlers though.

    But it’s hard to compare them to the bowlers of yesteryear, as the DRS system increases a bowler’s chances of trapping a batsman LBW wicket.

  10. LBW wicket is an interesting one, as the word wicket has two subtly different meanings if you say, for example, “that was an LBW wicket”.

    The abbreviated W stands for wicket in the sense of “the set of stumps”, whereas the full word wicket in this context means “dismissal in the game of cricket”.

    Manifestly not a case of RAS syndrome.

    What was this thread supposed to be about again?

  11. Can I just point out that in language, use adapts meaning, and ease of use and understandability especially so. Denotation is virtually rule-free. All bachelors are unmarried, of course, but all Bachelors are not necessarily so (Dave Bachelor, for example). Pendle Hill and the River Avon are OK, are they not? If a chemist is called Boots because it once belonged to John Boot, should it not be Boot’s, and if so, is one of its shops Boot’s’s shop? I am quite sure that Ged is brave, and possibly handy with a spear, but do I need to take this into account when refering to him?

    In short – PIN Number, DRS System. This isn’t France, people.

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