|Pietersen MOTM 151 & 42x|
Sri Lanka, only marginally ahead at the start of the day, had pinned their hopes on Mahela Jaywardene and two more than capable henchmen, Angelo Mathews and Prasana Jayawardene. The theory went that if the skipper could raise his century and the remained a hundred between them, Sri Lanka might have some chance against an English batting line up which has shown no like for the spinning, flighted ball.
Theories are fine things but after Graeme Swann pulled of the Jaywardene doubleplay in consecutive overs during a painfully slow first hour, only Mathews managed combine longevity and run scoring. When he was last man out on the stroke of lunch, deceived by a slower ball from Steve Finn, the target was less than a hundred. Swann collected six, giving him ten for the match but the Sri Lankans were so slow that the batting flattered the bowling figures. As if it needs pointing out again, the use of nightwatchmen again backfired. One disrupts a team but two just ruins the rhythm and flow of an innings and in this case left Mathews and Prasana bating at 8 and 9. International captains are, in the main, batsmen and herein lies the root of the problem. Batsmen are there to bat and should do so under all conditions. Do we ever see a fast bowler not take the new ball because its hot, the pitch is too hard and the opposition have a couple of opening batsmen that might attack him? Its a bunkum policy and batsmen captains need to get over themselves and have their mates with willows face their responsibilities.
Andrew Strauss left at the end of the first over, Dilshan disturbing his woodwork with a classic off spinners delivery around the wicket to a left hander. Angling in towards leg stump, the ball bit and spun back across Strauss who was feeling for it rather than hitting it and he lost his off stump. It was a shot which lack conviction. Trott looked as though he was batting to save the world rather than chasing a small target. Most wisdom offered on such tasks says that it's better to breeze to the total with positive strokemaking but then Trott doesn't always bat in the way expected. He was lbw to Herath in another DRS inspired dismissal ... bat and pad locked together in what used to be resolute defence but replays showing the pad making first contact.
The rest was easy. Kevin Pietersen walking to the wicket, smashed 4 fours and 2 sixes in 28 balls and along with the always grinning Cook, ended the game in a rush with a four through mid wicket, an ugly hammered four past point and then two balls later a great big hoick over square leg which did its best to knock out a member of the Barmy Army. He really is a pugnacious ugly player at times but it was such aggression that one this match and when he comes off, their is no more dangerous batsman in cricket.
Pietersen won MOTM and Mahela Jayawardene MOTS.