Every bowler’s got a slower ball nowadays. Some have got several. Sajid Mahmood bowls about 20, but appears to have absolutely no clue when he should use them or what they’re supposed to achieve.
Dilhara Fernando bowls one, as far as we can tell. He spreads his fingers widely so there’s less purchase as he delivers the ball. It seems to work, because he took the majority of his six wickets with it yesterday. Dilhara Fernando was Chris Cairns and England’s batsmen were oh-so-many Chris Reads.
Of course a slower ball is defined by its context and Dilhara Fernando can send down some pretty pacey deliveries as well. 6-27 is a healthy return on any day, but if we were Dilhara we’d be ever-so-slightly annoyed at getting taken off with two overs of our allocation still to bowl and two England tail-enders waiting to be deceived.
Sri Lanka v England, fifth one-day international at Colombo
Sri Lanka 211 all out (Chamara Silva 73, Stuart Broad 3-36)
England 104 all out (Dilhara Fernando 6-27)
England win the series 3-2