How much do you want it? Enough to be with me for the preamble at about half past three on a cold British morning? Has it been enough to set an early alarm, safe in the knowledge that it’ll be Jimmy Anderson up against Angelo Mathews when play does resume, two titans of their respective cricketing nations? I hope so.
Good morning to every rugged individualist with me today. Where I am at the moment after the conclusion of the Australia/India epic, some 10,000 miles away, it is a sunny Saturday afternoon. But I couldn’t be more excited about returning to the OBO tools with Sri Lanka four down after batting conservatively after winning an important toss at Galle. They did as they must in a situation like that, putting overs into the legs of the visiting bowlers, in contrast to the first innings last week.
For England’s part, they return knowing that, due to the slow scoring rate, they are only a few wickets away from opening up the Test in their favour. To think that Jimmy – with 19-10-24-3; an absurd set of numbers – can still put in performances like this at age 38 is proof again that it’s foolish to believe he’s giving it away any time soon. It’ll be a tad concerning for Root that both of his finger spinners went wicketless, but they have time on their side to make amends through the week.
Mathews, meanwhile – what a guy. How long has been carrying this team around on his broad shoulders? For too long, probably. He’ll start again with 107 to his name from 228 deliveries, the punchy Niroshan Dickwella with him on 19.
As always, I’m looking forward to your company throughout the first half of the day. Have you sprung out of bed and popped the kettle on? Let me know.