‘Getting down with the lads’ – penalty runs and an opening night watchman…2nd Test Day 2 Kandy

The additional aspect of the compensation package for the hotel affected tourists was a group photo with the England team at the end of lunch – the morning session being Sri Lanka’s until the last 20 mins or so. My personal letter from Joe Root apologising for taking my room has yet to arrive (the ECB at work with the paying spectator in the forefront of their mind for once!) but we shall see.

The team were rolled out, had the picture taken and walked away without a word to any of the spectators- a ‘thank you’ or ‘hello’ cost nothing but nowadays people and organisations seem to think that manners don’t matter! They cost nothing and are repaid many times over in hard cash as customers feel valued and wanted. Oh well…perhaps I’m too much of an old f**t.

So, a copy of the group photo will wing its way to me sometime but in the meantime I though I’d take the opportunity for a personal pic of my own as they prepare for the afternoon session with only Ben F really preparing!

Let’s hope England are not on all fours by the end of this game?

Tea arrives – decided a perambulation as much security will allow around the ground – – sees Sri Lanka 7 down for 244 off 78 overs and 66 overs so far…see it can be done!

A rare event occurs with the granting of five penalty runs to England as the Sri Lankan batsman deliberately did not ground his bat as he turned for a second run. Dead ball called and what Sri Lanka thought was four, cost them five – Englands score is moved to 290. This is a rare event in indeed!

But Sri Lanka continue to flourish and achieve a lead of 46 with the excellent Roshen on 85. England let them off the hook, just as we did yesterday as perhaps the humidity begins to sap strength. The interminable additional odd drinks for players – one just taken one over before drinks were due – needs to be addressed. If you want a drink…go off, retire not out, just stop messing about!

This will be close game…and the first innings lead could be invaluable. It all hinges on the first session tomorrow.

Away from the action, the Barmies were very quiet and needed to be cajoled into action by the SL cheerleaders. I don’t think the army is here in great numbers.

Wandering around the ground as much as security will allow, there was an inordinate amount of English flesh on display almost akin to the turkey counter at Sainsbury’s on Christmas Eve! But away from the stands there is a party atmosphere with cricket watchers and sunbathers in equal measure and they all seem to get along. There was an unseemly incident with an Australian yesterday but nothing else to report.

It’s probably a blessing in disguise that you don’t have better quality photos of the other parts of the ground (yet!) and looking around it does look like it’s been created in the middle of a jungle clearing!

Mike Gatting too enthralled in the play to get to the food available!

Back to the play, 90 overs for the day were completed with 20 mins to spare but Sri Lanka were all out for 336. England to face 4 mins of batting or one over and open with Jack Leach as night watchman- when did that last happen?

So, the first session tomorrow will be key – England at 45/0 would be happier, at 45/4 SL would be on top…but who knows.

I got my letter from JR personally signed, and hopes to see me at the match and I play a part in a memorable game. I wonder what he wants me to do? I need to get down with the lads!

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