We hate it when England field a bowling attack which is heavily reliant on what you’d call the traditional English seam bowler. Hoggard, Sidebottom and Anderson are all great bowlers and if we’re honest, we’d probably have gone with that attack if we’d been in charge, but you always end up with a day where they’re being shuffled around and no-one’s taking any wickets.
We see and agree with the reasons for omitting Steve Harmison, but it does underline why we like him. You can’t pick a guy whose bowling line is set to ‘shuffle’, but he’s resolutely not an English seam bowler. He’s 12 feet tall and he bowls quickly. It’s not that he’s capable of bowling quickly, it’s that he just does it. It’s his natural speed. In Sri Lankan conditions the ‘effort ball’ is pretty much an impossibility. Effortless speed is the only option.
Harmison’s not really the point though. The point is that England didn’t seem to have anything different when things weren’t going their way in the field. It’s always tempting to stock the team with faithful, reliable bowlers, but there are days when all you can rely on is nothing in the wickets column.