Sim Series, Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, day 4: Underwood ices the cake for England

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With the Sri Lanka v England Test series postponed because of Coronavirus, we’re playing out two Test matches between Sri Lanka and England on Cricket Captain 2018’s ‘All-Time Greats’ mode… Welcome to Sim Series.

Here’s what happened on day three.

Having only made 226 in reply to England’s 541 all out, Sri Lanka are still 294 runs behind with nine second innings wickets in hand.

The pitch is already turning quite a bit. Sri Lanka have a job on their hands.

Morning session

Ian Botham takes a wicket with the first ball of the day. He continues to create chances, but pretty soon it’s time for the spinners.

On 32, Kumar Sangakkara positively larrups Derek Underwood for six. It’s an amazing shot. He basically backs away and cuts a ball on middle stump over extra cover.

Clearly he’s confident – but maybe a bit too confident because three balls later he’s caught behind.

Underwood is looking dangerous and, as a side note, we are delighted to see that this simulated version of him is quite correctly ‘slapping back‘.

Jim Laker clean bowls Mahela Jayawardene in the very next over and Sri Lanka are basically shafted.

On commentary, Jonathan Agnew says, “Sri Lanka are basically shafted.”

Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe we imagined that.

20 minutes later, Underwood bookends an over with the wickets of Aravinda de Silva and Angelo Mathews.

“Yes, completely and utterly, irretrievably shafted,” says Agnew.

Underwood has 3-9 in five overs.

Laker bowls Chaminda Vaas and at lunch Sri Lanka are 97-7,

“Completely and utterly bollocksed,” concludes Agnew.

Afternoon session

Underwood gets Dinesh Chandimal. Botham gets Murali.

Underwood then has about 46 appeals against Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath – seriously, about every other ball – before snaring the latter LBW.

It’s all over. England win by an innings and 192 runs. Ben Stokes is man of the match.

England lead the series 1-0

After a crushingly tedious start, England somehow won with a day and a half to spare. Stokes was a deserved man of the match, and the 172-run partnership between him and Alan Knott was, with hindsight, key. However, the England spinners all did a job, while Sri Lanka’s batsmen need to take a long hard look at themselves ahead of the second Test.

How important was the toss? And how important was it that England have hundreds of brilliant cricketers to choose from while Sri Lanka have such a short Test history that they somehow ended up with Dinesh Chandimal in an All-Time Greats side?

The second Test starts on Friday, which honestly feels like quite a quick turnaround even when all you have to do is play a computer game and take some screengrabs.

We’ve got a Patreon page if you for some reason feel like you want to fund this absolute horse shit. It should go without saying that you absolutely should not do this if you’re unable to work at the moment and can’t pay your rent or mortgage. Or if you can think of something better to do with your money, for that matter, which you almost certainly can. We suppose what we’re really saying here is don’t fund us via Patreon.


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  1. Magnificent, KC, well played.

    The Jonathan Agnew commentary has clearly gone up a notch or three since 1999 – it comprised a couple of dozen banalities back then. Now he is clearly speaking from the heart and telling it like it is. 😉

    I have given your virtual cricket idea a bit of a plug on Ogblog in the following piece, which includes a couple of other things:

    Rest well between now and the second test, but you do have an additional rest day so i do suggest that you do a bit of training before Friday but on no account try anything too risky, such as a football or rugby simulation.

    1. Thanks for that Ged. There has never been the like since, in so many ways. And he got a few Lbws too. I thought that didn’t happen to spinners before DRS. Illingworth was quite sharp at short leg too, despite looking like he was doing everything wrong.

    2. Thanks for doing this. You have provided me with perhaps sixteen whole minutes of relief from the harsh reality of being shut in my house with a 5 year old daughter. Nice one!

  2. Given the incontrovertible evidence from this test, may I be the first to suggest that all future Sim Series Test Cricket be played over four days and not five?

    1. Yep, Barnes has got to go, unless the next test is on a 19th century uncovered pitch or something. Sri Lanka should probably drop Chandimal for someone a bit more “gritty” like a Samaraweera or Tillekaratne.

      Yes I am going to treat this like a normal test series!

      1. I’m afraid, Micko, that these are not normal times and so this is not a normal test series.

        Welcome to the new normal.

        Over 70s are being asked to self-isolate now and those with particular life-threatening vulnerabilities are being asked to self-quarantine. That, unless I have completely misunderstood the signals I’m picking up from our leadership, would mean that many of the better-performing players from the first test would be unavailable for the second test.

        If my logic is correct, the impact on England selection will be far greater than the impact on Sri Lanka selection. Indeed the England selection policy, so successful in the first test, will be ripped asunder.

        Lots to think about.

    2. I can only conclude that KC forgot to book that hotel room or screwed up Barnes’s payment plan. He won’t bowl for free you know.

  3. The similar series against the Windies later in the year should be much more interesting. Lara, Chanderpaul, Richards, the Ws… and that’s just the batting.

  4. Late into the game, chaps, but now that I’m here I want to say – AWESOME!!!

    In fact, so awesome that I suspect I am enjoying this more than I would the actual series. And this presents sports with a dilemma. Loads of actual sports are replacing their usual service with virtual versions, but what if at the end of it all nobody wants to go back to reality? I mean, why would we? England (real) are struggling to find a decent long-term spin option. England (virtual) are absolutely fine in this regard.

    And there’s another thing. The two most dominant teams in history have been the West Indies (1975 to 1985) and Australia (1993 to 2003). Why? Because just by a fluke all their greatest players happened to be contemporary. That’s not skill, it’s just an accident of timing. Quite correctly, KC has redressed this imbalance. By removing the date aspect of a player’s career, we can now see just how poor Australia really were. To achieve having every last one of their best players playing together at the same time, they simply plundered their resource from a longer time period. This version corrects that, which if you think about it was nothing more than cheating anyway.

  5. By the way, Thursday’s cryptic crossword in the Graun (28,085) is entirely cricket-themed. Some very nice clues, plenty of playing on the multiple meanings of cricket terms. In particular, 11 down:

    Players scored with no-balls (9)

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