Sri Lanka join pantheon of epic fails

Wednesday, 1 June 2011 00:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

After four days of tedium, the first Test exploded in a frenzy of activity on the final day in Cardiff with England pulling off a quite sensational victory over Sri Lanka.

Coach Stuart Law looked on like a man who had watched his wife just reverse his Ferrari into a lamp post – a lamp post which had his pet Labrador tied to it – as the tourists lost eight wickets in 12.2 overs after tea.

Normally if your second innings total is bigger than the crowd it is enough to salvage a result but England pulled victory from the enormous jaws of a draw prompting Stuart Broad to tweet “That’s the most unbelievable Test win I’ve played in.”

So unbelievable that if that was Pakistan you’d be thinking ‘hang on a minute’ but Sri Lanka - hamstrung by their gifted middle order overwhelmed by a colossal amount of one-day cricket and a lengthy tail – rolled over very much in the manner that England used to before they decided to try to become the best team in the world.

Remember these gems:

1994: England 46 all out. The most spectacular of England’s batting collapses in an era where they were renowned for them came in Trinidad. England were on top for most of the game and needed 194 to win. But in under 100 minutes and not even 20 overs later, England had gone for 46, their second lowest total of all time, with only Alec Stewart reached double figures. Curtly Ambrose was destroyer-in-chief, taking 6 for 24.

2009: England 51 all out Being skittled by Holding and Marshall or Ambrose and Walsh is one thing but Jerome Taylor! England collapsed to a demoralising defeat by an innings and 23 runs on day four of the first Test in Jamaica as Taylor took 5 for 11 in nine overs. England were at one time 26 for 7 so can consider their recovery a minor triumph. But an innings and 23 run defeat to an average West Indies side was a clear low point of Andrew Strauss’ tenure as captain.

2006: England 129 all out You’ll find lower totals but 1064 runs had been scored in the first innings by Australia and the Poms in Adelaide. England were 59 for 1 at stumps on day four, a lead of 97 on a track with as much life in it as the M4.

Not sure what happened overnight but the tourists proceeded to lose nine wickets for 70 and then watch Australia knock off the runs, win by six wickets and complete an Ashes whitewash.

But England dished out a few as well:

1955: New Zealand 26 all out The lowest score in Test history, the Kiwis fancied a first-ever victory over England as they trailed by just 46 on first innings.

But the touring batsmen were not needed as Brian Statham, Frank Tyson, Bob Appleyard and Johnny Wardle accounted for the hosts in 27 overs. Bert Sutcliffe top-scored with 11 in a second innings that consisted of five ducks including eight, nine, ten, jack.

2004: West Indies 47 all out Things don’t always go right for Steve Harmison (pictured) on tour - the first ball of the 2007 Ashes series smashing into the hands of second slip a case in point - but this was his finest hour in an England shirt. England had a narrow first innings lead in Jamaica but on the fourth morning the lanky Durham quick bowled with considerable pace and generated extreme bounce as he took a spellbinding 7 for 12 in 12.3 overs.

2000: West Indies 61 all out When you buy a ticket for the third day of a Test match, you are normally pretty confident you might see some action....not this time and it had nothing to do with the weather. After being dumped out for 54 at Lord’s earlier in the series, the West Indies were removed for 61 in only 26.2 overs as Darren Gough claimed the top four - including Brian Lara - in his first six overs before Andrew Caddick, extracting prodigious bounce and movement, swept up with 5 for 14.

Dilshan promises to keep calm and carry on

Cardiff (United Kingdom),  (AFP) Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said there was no point in reading the riot act after a stunning collapse to 82 all out saw his side lose the first Test against England.

A rain-affected match appeared destined for a draw after England declared their first innings on 496 for five -- a lead of just 96 -- with only 51 overs left in yesterday’s fifth and final day here at Sophia Gardens.

But what had seemed a moribund match was sparked into life by England fast bowler Chris Tremlett who, maintaining an accurate line and length at sharp pace ripped through the top order on his way to four for 40.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann (four for 16) followed up and Sri Lanka were bowled out inside 25 overs to go 1-0 down in this three-match series.