Both Ian Bell and Matt Prior withstood the Sri Lankans for quite some time, but they couldn’t finish the job. Muttiah Muralitharan got both of them – with the new ball, no less.
Bell had a good match, but if you’re the batsman in form, you need to influence proceedings. He top-scored in both innings with 83 in the first and 74 in the second, but that’s not enough. If you’re the guy who’s having success, you need to capitalise. Kumar Sangakkara did just that and Sri Lanka have won.
Ian Bell shouldn’t be satisfied with being England’s highest scorer. He should have been aiming to be the highest scorer on either team. We’re sure that he was, but is there a part of him that felt like he’d done something worthwhile already? If you lose, it’s useless.
Is that a peculiarly English characteristic to be satisfied with a personal performance even in defeat, or is it a peculiarly English characteristic to say that that’s the case?
Sri Lanka v England, day four of the first Test at Kandy
Sri Lanka 188 all out (Kumar Sangakkara 92, Prasanna Jayawardene 51, Matthew Hoggard 4-29, Monty Panesar 3-46)
England 281 all out (Ian Bell 83, Muttiah Muralitharan 6-55)
Sri Lanka 442-8 declared (Kumar Sangakkara 152, Benevolent Uncle Sanath 78, Mahela Jayawardene 65, Money Panesar 3-132)
England 261 all out (Ian Bell 74, Matt Prior 63, Chaminda Vaas 3-56, Muttiah Muralitharan 3-85)