Someone has hidden or misplaced the Sri Lanka Test team that subsides to predictable defeats. If anyone tracks it down, they should probably alert the authorities. Its parents will no doubt be very worried

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Oshada Fernando just absolutely smears one to the boundary (via Sky Sports)

Someone who we know really quite well has an annoying habit of choosing a film to watch before wandering off to bed after about 40 minutes of it. “I’ve got the gist,” she says – even though she obviously hasn’t.

We’re then left to watch to the end on our own when we never wanted to watch the damn thing in the first place.

It’s not the blithe assumption that she knows what’s going to happen that grates – because of course she doesn’t know – it’s the fact that she simply does not care.

We thought of this untroubled disregard for plots when we saw how Sri Lanka had won the Test series against South Africa.

How did Sri Lanka win the Test series against South Africa?

Before they were in South Africa, Sri Lanka were in Australia and it did not go well. Before that, they were in New Zealand and that also did not go well.

Both series went how insipid Sri Lanka Test tours to these countries always seem to go. They didn’t make enough runs, they didn’t do much with the ball. Pretty much every match started out how you expected it to, progressed how you expected it to and ended where you expected it to.

The South Africa tour has been identical. Except for the last bit.

In the first Test, Sri Lanka were shot out for under 200, were set a big target, almost subsided to a sizeable defeat, but then completely forgot to lose their final wicket and accidentally won.

This week normal service was resumed as they were again shot out for under 200 and even when they struck back in South Africa’s second innings, it didn’t really encourage the notion that they might win again because wickets were falling like peas from the plate of a young child who very strongly does not want to eat peas at this exact moment.

In a low-scoring Test where successive innings totals had gone 222, 154, 128, Sri Lanka needed to make 197 to win. It seemed, in the context of the match, a fairly large number of runs.

They started day three needing 137 runs with eight wickets remaining and things seemed poised. Turns out things weren’t poised. They weren’t poised at all. Kusal Mendis and Oshada Fernando breezed their way to the first century stand of the series and it wasn’t even hard. They made 163 off 213 balls.

If you’re going to change one element out of (a) looking like you’re going to lose the same way that you always lose and (b) actually losing in the same way that you always lose, then that second one is definitely the one to change.


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    1. Look we can all speculate about who it might be. We’re not going to name names or point a finger at them directly. All we’ll say is that if they’re going to swan off to bed 40 minutes into a film, we can’t be held responsible if we feel obliged to watch the rest of it and then don’t feel enormously enthusiastic about leaping out of bed when another person – a different person, who may or may not be related to ourself and the person we’re not naming – starts making noises very early in the morning.

      1. There’s an obvious and easy solution to this problem. Simply wait fifteen years or so until the other person is never seen before noon. Job done.

  1. Sri Lanka won in England in 2014 and then in South Africa in 2019. They also drew a series against West Indies in 2018.

    Is it not feasible to assume that maybe they should ask only to play in countries that show cricket at hours that are reasonable for people to watch them (we’ll just pretend their tour of England in 2016 didn’t happen)

    1. Someone else who’s found the special button behind the Lord’s bike sheds that turn cricket to Easy Mode

  2. I’m quite happy for Sri Lanka, they looked like a team that was a complete shambles in Australia. I’m struggling to think of a result I’m more surprised in than this. And who doesn’t like it when South Africa lose, it’s one of my favourite types of losing.

    1. The only previous sides South Africa had lost Test series against at home were Australia and England, which was a remarkable stat in itself!

  3. The single most surprising result in recent times. And it is rather sad that there isn’t more of a brouhaha about it.

    I mean a very strong India team won a test series in Australia that had no Smith or Warner. Look at the headlines that got.

    Even in cricket reporting there isn’t much going on outside the ‘big three’.

  4. One of the dreary things about living in western north america is the that South African cricket is situated in the most inconvenient timezone. As a fan of good bowling and dramatic finishes I feel endlessly deprived.

      1. Games in Aus and NZ are quite convenient, actually. They tend to start just after work finishes.

        It’s a shame that English tours over there tend to go so badly that you’re better off not watching even if the timing does work out well.

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