A good first day of Test cricket for England, in the sense that it put them straight. Playing Sri Lanka demands perseverance. It demands perseverance so earnest it comes with a pipe and a scowl.
If Sri Lanka’s feisty wins in their warm-up matches hadn’t got the message through to England, today’s play surely did. The ball swung, but wickets didn’t tumble.
Tillakaratne Dilshan largely renounced his favourite shot, the flail, while Tharanga Paranavitana continues to display a refreshing reluctance to hit the ball unless he absolutely has to.
It is good, old-fashioned Test cricket: slightly boring and a tad irritating. Heaven.