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England v Sri Lanka
Antigua, 4 April 2007

Test Match Special podcast | Blog

Sri Lanka 235 all out (50 overs) bt England 233-8 (50 overs) by two runs

A seventh-wicket stand of 87 between Ravi Bopara and Paul Nixon almost brought England a sensational win but they fell two runs short in Antigua.

Sajid Mahmood and Andrew Flintoff took seven wickets to bowl Sri Lanka out for 235, Upul Tharanga (62) top-scoring.

In reply, Kevin Pietersen (58) and Ian Bell (47) did well before both fell.

England were reeling, but Bopara (52) and Nixon (47) put on 87 to give their side a hope, only for Dilhara Fernando to bowl Bopara with the final ball.



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By Ben Dirs


Wicket falls
50th over: WICKET - Bopara b Fernando 51, 233-8
After a long old conflab, it's Fernando with the final over. The England fans are going berserk in the pool, it's like free swim at school. Mahmood gets one from the first delivery, a mis-timed drive down the ground. Peche de la peche from Bopara, dabbing Fernando over the head of the fielder at short fine-leg for four. It's like there's a shark attack in the pool! Bopara gets two for a drive through the covers and that's fifty for the Essex Boy. Bopara makes room and slices the fourth ball to the point boundary for one. Four needed from two. One from the penultimate ball and Bopara is out with the final ball, Fernando making a mess of his stumps. What a match. Unlucky Bopara, that was one hell of an effort for the youngster. I've just written 10,600 words, that's a good chunk of a novel. I'll see you soon, thanks for sticking with me.

Wicket falls
49th over: WICKET - Nixon c Jayawardene b Malinga 42, Eng 220-7 Bopara gives Nixon the strike with a single into the off-side and the England fans are really enjoying themselves now. Vaughany isn't, he looks like he's in a dentist's waiting room about to have a root canal. One for Nixon with a drag to mid-wicket. Bopara makes room and misses with a swipe at Malinga. Bopara does pick up a single with a push into the covers. But that's Nixon gone, attempting to swing Malinga over mid-wicket and ballooning the ball to Jayawardene in the covers. Mahmood is next up the ramp (poor tyke) and England need 16 from seven. Bopara is on strike, however, they crossed. We have a new ball with seven balls remaining - odd. All Hail the Lord of Essex, Bopara making room and slicing Malinga to the point boundary for four. Twelve needed off six.

48th over: 217-6
Bopara has a big heave-ho but the ball only dribbles to short fine-leg for one. Nixon loves this reverse sweep, however ugly it may look - it looks like he's playing it with an upright hoover. One for it however. Bopara top-edges a sweep off Murali and gets a single. Kiss my face Nixon!! An astonishing reverse sweep off Murali that soars over the fielder's head at mid-wicket for a maximum. He misses out with a regular sweep before grabbing four more with another reverse sweep. It's all got interesting all of a sudden...

47th over: 204-6
For the first time in the tournament, the strains of "Barmy Army" can be heard across the airwaves. Each ball taking an age now. Malinga tries another yorker - isn't that just his stock delivery? - and Bopara tickles him away for a couple. Keep chugging Scrappy, your country needs you. One more for Bopara and the England 200 comes up.Two more for England, Nixon driving straight and the England pair moving like hares between the stumps. One more for Bopara with a mis-timed drive and that's seven from the over. 32 from 18 needed - Sri Lanka still favourites, England have a chance.

46th over: 197-6
Nixon comes down the track to Fernando and chips him to deep mid-wicket for one. England need 48 from 29 balls. Fernando is foxed by a slower ball and Bopara balloons it into the covers...but survives. Nixon and Bopara exchange singles before the Leicestershire gloveman strikes a body blow, clipping a leg-side yorker down to the long-leg fence. Two more from Nixon with a flick to deep mid-wicket. Dare to dream, folks, dare to dream...

45th over: 187-6
As long as Nixon and Bopara remain at the crease, England have a faint whiff of victory. But only a faint whiff. It's still Murali and Bopara tries to give him some long-handle, top-edging a slog-sweep and Jayasuriya just failing to take the catch at deep mid-wicket. Valiant effort from the old fella, I think he lost it in the sun. Two more for Bopara with a leg-side clip before he picks up one for a bunglled reverse sweep. Nixon brings up the 50 partnership with a reverse sweep - his trademark shot - for a single. And Bopara comes up trumps off the final ball, staying back to a Murali half-tracker and swinging him away for four. Still hope, and hope is a dangerous thing...

44th over: 177-6
First boundary for 10 overs from Bopara, whipping a Malinga full-bunger to the mid-wicket fence. The Essex boy runs Malinga down to third-man for one. Nixon gets one for a typical nurdle before Bopara tries to loft Malinga over extra-cover, but can only mis-time it for one.

"I am trying to keep up to date with the cricket, Champions League and SPL football at the same time as watching The Apprentice. It's a struggle, but easing the pain of England being dismantled again."
FF in the TMS inbox

43rd over 170-6
Nixon gets a couple for a sweep off Dilshan and England require 65 from the last seven overs. Ho, hum...

42nd over: 165-6
Another vicious yorker from Malinga and Bopara is very nearly cleaned up. Three singles from the over, but England need a rash of boundaries, and soon, to stand any chance from here. Bad news on the Leggy Blonde website - it has annoyed one or two people and I have had to remove the link. Sorry...

Jonathan Agnew
"Of all the teams you wouldn't want to bat second against in this World Cup, Sri Lanka would have to come top of the list..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

41st over: 162-6
Nixon reverse sweeps Murali for one - he really is a cheeky sausage. Bopara tries to turn Murali to leg and gets a leading edge off a doosra. Bopara sweeps hard and scampers a handy two. Bopara finishes another sweep stroke too quickly, but this mix of experience of youth lives to fight another day for England.

40th over: 159-6
More from the Slinga and Bopara whips the first ball of his new spell away for one. Nixon nurdles one to mid-wicket before Bopara opens the face and gets a single to third-man. Slower ball from Malinga and it dribbles away for a couple through the gloves of Sangakkara.

"Much as I hate to say it, Michael in Montreal is right (see below). A combination of complacency and too much money have reduced Flintoff to the ranks of the mere mortals. Handy bloke to have around on a pedalo, of course. But not the man for England now in their hour of need."
Thomas, France, in the TMS inbox

39th over: 155-6
Bopara pushes into the covers for one before Nixon picks up one for a clip to mid-wicket. England pretty much playing tip-and-run here, Bopara beating Jayawardene's throw from backward-square.

"Are we all out yet? I'm hiding behind the sofa, watching through my fingers every now and then. This is far more scary than anything Dr Who has thrown at us since those Satan Pit episodes in the last series."
David, Liverpool, in the TMS inbox

38th over: 149-6
Fernando gets a bit of shape away from the left-handed Nixon and the batsman is beaten. Risky single from Nixon, dabbing the ball into the off-side and just beating Jayawardene's direct hit. No boundaries for a while, England up Pedalo Creek without so much as a Thermos flask and a box of sandwiches.

37th over: 147-6
Still Murali and Bopara gets one for a confident sweep. Murali tosses one up and Murali gets one for a drive into the covers. Lucky Bopara, sweeping uppishly and Silva flinging himself at the ball at short fine-leg. Bopara turns Murali away for a single. Better.

"At what point do we stop considering Flintoff as this magical all-rounder? He simply is no longer an all-rounder, and sadly hasn't been for a long time. He's a good bowler, but he has neither gotten a decent score, nor had a meaningful innings in how long now?"
Michael, Montreal, Canada

36th over: 141-6
Three singles off Fernando and this is a big ask for the young Bopara, but the boy looks to have spunk. As for Nixon, he's just a ruddy lunatic.

35th over: 138-6
Jim Maxwell, on TMS, has an interesting theory that Flintoff and Collingwood's dismissals were Pietersen's fault. Sorry Jim, I'm not having that, that's a bit like blaming the Normans for the Iraq War. Murali goes mental again for an lbw, but Nixon got a decent stride in. Reverse sweep from Nixon and he gets one for it.

Wicket falls
WICKET - Collingwood lbw b Fernando 14, Eng 133-6
Deary, deary me, England in tatters now, Collingwood getting stuck in his crease and Fernando trapping him plumb in front. Umpire Rauf will never have to make an easier decision, unless he's ever asked whether he would like to go to H&H Kebabs or the Savoy Grill for lunch. Nixon likes a scrap, and he's up next up the ramp. Good call from the cheeky Bopara, scampering a leg-bye. Full-bunger for Bopara and he can't get anything for it.

Wicket falls
34th over: WICKET - Flintoff c Malinga b Fernando 2, Eng 133-5
That is utter tripe from Flintoff, skipping down the track and dollying Fernando to Malinga at long-on. What did I tell you?...Colly and Flintoff crossed, so Bopara makes his way to the non-striker's end.

33rd over: 133-4
I've just had a look up at the screen and realised, with a little bit of shock, that Collingwood's still in the middle. Anyone who's KP's playing with seems to get overshadowed. But that's a doozy of a cover-drive from Colly, using his feet and timing Murali away for four.

32nd over: 129-4
Fernando is on and he thinks he's got Flintoff trapped in front - umpire Bowden is having none of it and that was straying down leg. Scratchy start from Flintoff - what's the betting he swings away a couple of fours and then holes out at deep mid-wicket? A block-hole ball from Fernando is clipped through mid-wicket for a couple.

"Pietersen is such a great player, but he can't bury the ego..."
Jim Maxwell on TMS

Wicket falls
31st over: WICKET - Pietersen c&b Muralitharan 58, Eng 126-4
Colly rocks back and gets one for a mis-timed cut. Murali then gets KP in a right old pickle, the batsman advancing down the pitch and attempting to flick him over the top and only succeeding in squirting the ball out to point. But KP does grab four, sticking a big size 12 down the track and swatting the ball to the square-leg boundary. But Murali wins the war! KP tries to clip to leg but is deceived by a doosra and Murali takes a fine catch tumbling forward. Sri Lanka favourites again? Freddie v Murali - surely there's only one winner there...he's beaten all ends up first ball.

That's 50
30th over: 121-3
Sri Lanka take their last powerplay and it's Malinga into the attack. His first ball is, surprise surprise,a yorker, which KP just manages to dig out. A couple of no-balls from Malinga before Pietersen brings up his 14th one-day fifty with a flick to mid-wicket. England need him to turn this into a big, fleshy ton. Colly joins in the fun, digging out yet another Malinga yorker and the ball racing to the long-leg fence. Pietersen has a go at the penultimate ball of the over, but the shot is stopped, before he gets four with a wristy straight drive. Bit of breathing space for England.

"Malinga sweeps back his hair - he looks like Shirley Bassey, but with highlights..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

29th over: 109-3
Colly is beaten all-ends-up by a Murali doosra - we have a genuine contest, ladies and gentleman, and I can't say I've seen many of those during this World Cup. Two singles from the over, the pressure building.

28th over: 107-3
Very risky run from Colly, and he would have been given a direct hit from the fielder at mid-wicket. KP picks up a single before Collingwood is almost out again, chipping Jayasuriya to just short of Malinga at mid-on. And another kamikaze run from England, KP just making his ground at the striker's end. Calm down chaps, there's plenty of time...

27th over: 102-3
Murali to continue and he has a very confident appeal turned down by umpire Bowden, KP getting a decent stride in. Murali was leaping about like a toddler at the sweet-stand in Sainsbury's - funny, I thought he had a gammy groin?

Wicket falls
26th over: WICKET - Bell run out (Jayasuriya) 47, Eng 101-3
A bit of controversy in Antigua and Belly is gone - KP drives Jayasuriya straight down the ground and the bowler gets the finest of touches on the ball. Sloppy from Bell, his bat was raised, and the third umpire made the right decision, however glum-faced Bell might look and however slowly the crowd may clap. Colly next in. KP gets one with a clip to mid-on.

25th over: 101-2
KP pushes Murali's first ball to mid-off for one. Murali makes Bell look like Mr Magoo with a stock delivery and the ball deflects off his inside-edge and just past his stumps. Belly does get one with a sweep as England's ton comes up. Pietersen almost puts his back out trying to latch onto a short one from Murali, and the Sri Lankans clutch their heads, they thought he might have got a feather.

24th over: 98-2
More milking of Jayasuriya, England working the ball around and there are another five to the total. It's time for the Magic Man...

23rd over: 93-2
England happy to milk the gentle spin of Dilshan and Jayasuriya. A rather half-hearted Mexican wave ripples round the ground as KP picks up a single with a punch to mid-on. Murali is back on, which suggests they're going to patch him up and send him to the front line.

22nd over: 89-2
Uppish drive from Bell and Jayasuriya is really ripping through his overs. He picks up one with a dab down to third-man and England are looking comfortable, if not exactly feet up with a pouch of Golden Virginia and a six -pack of Stella.

21st over: 88-2
KP flicks to mid-wicket and Bell should have been out, Jayawardene's throw to the striker's end was woeful. Bell goes tumbling over wicket-keeper Sangakkara and England are being allowed a few lives. Off goes Murali with his gammy leg, that's tremendous news for England fans.

20th over: 84-2
KP plays the ball out to Malinga on the point boundary and lets out a primeval roar of "Noooo! It's Malinga" I think it's fair to say they rate his arm. Bell and Pietersen exchange singles, and Murali is really struggling out there, he looked like Heather Mills McCartney making her way to bed from her en suite bathroom fielding down at fine-leg.

19th over: 82-2
Maiden over from Dilshan, and this is just the little calm before Murali decides it's time to blow in.

"Why is it that men have brown hair but women are brunettes?"
Matt Loverock

18th over: 81-2
Bit of improv by Bell, reverse sweeping Jayasuriya for three. KP picks up a single with a flick to mid-wicket and Bell picks up one with a similar stroke. Murali, I'm told, is limping about on the boundary after chasing down that reverse sweep by Bell.

17th over: 75-2
Murali is still in his little magic box and it's time for the right-arm spin of Dilshan. Three singles from the over.

16th over: 72-2
Jayawardene, looking to take the pace off the ball, turns to the wise old head of Jayasuriya. Three singles from his first over and the players will sup a well-earned drink.

"It's good to see a bit of girly banter on the site! It's quite amazing how many guys assume that pretty girls can't talk about cricket. The reaction's even funnier if they see you time a cover-drive...although the illusion is shattered when they realise that you can't get a bat on anything that's going down leg!"
Beth, aka Textbook, in the TMS inbox

"Sorry to admit this but England have the worst batting openers in this competition. They are supposed to lay the foundation for the rest of the team to build on. We might have a chance if we had Gilchrist and Hayden."
Brian, Witham, in the TMS inbox

15th over: 69-2
Vaas drops short and Bell rocks back and carves him away for a boundary. Bell opening up now, unfurling an uppish cover-drive for four. Eight from the over and Bell gives KP a big, Cheshire Cat grin.

"The fans are going delirious here, waving flags and jumping up and down - goodness knows what they're up to in the swimming pool..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

14th over: 61-2
A few dark clouds rolling over the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, apparently, but it looks pretty sunny to me. Bell carves Fernando away for a couple before he's almost run out, taking a quick single to Jayasuriya at long-off and the old man very nearly hitting with his shie.

"I bumped into Tom Baker (yes, 'the' Tom Baker) on Sunday in the local paper shop here in Royal T Wells - he's a resident here now - and he was a true gent, really nice and very jolly."
Lee Trice in the TMS inbox

"Kim, I'm with you! 5'2" dumpy redhead - but I love my cricket. We definitely need to set up Freddie's Angels, but looking at me, and since I'm a good Durham girl, I'm more like one of Colly's Wobblies!"
Kathryn, Durham, in the TMS inbox

13th over: 58-2
KP picks Vaas up off his legs and the ball dribbles away for four. Pietersen then pierces the inner ring with a back-foot punch for a couple. He meandered the first run, maybe he could have had a few there. Strangled lbw appeal by Vaas against KP, but umpire Bowden reckons it pitched outside leg.

12th over: 50-2
Sketchy from Bell, but there's four runs for it, his Chinese cut running away to the long-leg fence. Bell misses out on a couple of half-bungers, but with KP motoring at the other end, he has no need to worry just yet.

"Vaughan is a joke. Get him out. He hasn't done anything for the team in either form of the game for two years, his batting peaked five years ago for goodness sake! He seems to be exempt from criticism and doesn't appear droppable because Fletcher loves him."
John, Essex, in the TMS inbox

11th over: 46-2
Four for Bell, square-driving Vaas, before he picks up a couple with a flick down the leg-side. KP then rat-a-tat-tats Vaas straight over the top for a maximum - time for a big knock from the Big Man? That was gloria, gloria, in excelcis Deo.

"I'm not sure what happened to Malinga's hair, maybe it was a highlights process that went horribly wrong..." Ranjit Fernando on TMS

10th over: 33-2
There are eight people in the crowd wearing T-shirts which spell out 'Abu Dhabi', shaking maracas (and booties). Surely there can't be anyone left in Abu Dhabi? Fernando is on and KP laces one through the covers for four. Pietersen square-drives for another couple, the ball going straight into the turf and spinning past Dilshan at point. KP misses out on a half-bunger, and says something along the lines of "Aaaah, @$@ing &*@".

"Scrappy-Doo was not the first sign of the Apocalypse - that would be something of an exaggeration. But his appearance was the moment when Scooby-Doo 'jumped the shark'. ie. started its inexorable decline. 'Jumping the Shark', of couse, being named after the episode of Happy Days where the Fonz water-skied over a shark to impress a Doris - an episode which was widely cited as the beginning of the end of the show as a dynamic teatime TV presence."
Graeme Colquhoun, Edinburgh, in the TMS inbox

9th over: 27-2
Bell picks up three with a sweetly-timed square-drive before KP gets one with a clip to mid-on. Bell reaches for a widish delivery, but Jayawardene saves well at point. The Warwickshire man does get a couple for a delicate dab to wide third-man. Better from England.

8th over: 21-2
Not sure if the pitch is slowing up, but scoring seems to have become increasingly difficult as the day has worn on. Bell picks up a couple with a flip to backward square-leg and gets another single with a clip to mid-wicket. News in that Jon Lewis is due to return home because of family reasons. Stuart Broad is in transit. Malinga drops short and KP gets up on his hind legs and swings him away for four. The relief is palpable.

7th over: 14-2
Suicidal second run from KP, Tharanga whipping in the throw from widish third-man - a direct hit and the big man would have been gone. KP plays a fluent drive and Silva makes a good diving stop in the covers to prevent a run. Another dreamy-looking cover-drive from KP and this time it's stopped by Arnold. Very respectable fielding side, Sri Lanka.

Wicket falls
6th over: WICKET - Joyce lbw Malinga 10, Eng 11-2
England are two down, Malinga trapping Joyce in front. Joyce stuck in his crease, England stuck in a hole. KP is next in and he gets a yorker first up, but the Hampshire man (what a joke that is...) squeezes it out for a single to mid-on. Just one from the over and it's over to you, KP...

5th over: 11-1
Joyce gets a thick outside-edge that races through the slips and runs away for four. I think he was in control of that to be fair. Joyce times Vaas down the ground for a couple, Murali just managing to drag the ball back from the rope. Joyce picks up another single with a clip to mid-wicket

4th over: 4-1
Joyce pokes Malinga for one to gully. Bell is off the mark with a punch to mid-on before Wicklow man Joyce opens the face and picks up one to third-man.

"Re. Malinga's hair - you have used the 'rolled around in the hay' analogy before. How about 'had his head outside the car window while driving across a moor in northern Scotland for two hours?' By the way - Valerie Singleton. Need I say more?"
Steve, Vancouver, in the TMS inbox

Out for a duck
3rd over: WICKET - Vaughan c Sangakkara b Vaas 0, Eng 1-1
Skipper Vaughan is gone, feathering a leg-side delivery from Vaas to Sangakkara standing up to the stumps. Sangakkara is having a mustard World Cup, Vaughan is having a stinker - time to drop the captain? The swimming pool is becalmed. Bell is the new batsman. He survives the over. Vaughan didn't look too stoked with the decision by umpire Bowden, and the replays suggest the ball brushed his thigh.

2nd over: 1-0
It's the Slinga into the attack. Apparently Bell was trying to replicate Malinga's bowling style in the nets before this match. All very well, but he serves it up at around 60mph at the best of times. Joyce prods at one and the ball passes beneath his bat. Maiden over.

"Can someone please explain to me why Bopara was picked for his bowling and yet he has not bowled during this match? If they were not going to use him why not drop Bopara and play Strauss?"
Louise in the TMS inbox

1st over: 1-0
Players are out and it's Vaas to have first go with the ball. Good, tight line with his first four balls before Joyce gets England under way with a turn to third-man. Vaughan blocks the final ball of the over.


"I just read on a hate-site that Scrappy-Doo was 'the first sign of the apocolypse'. Must remember to check Revelations some time, I think I must have missed some bits."
Justin Noack in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
WICKET - Fernando run out 2, SL 235 all out
Fernando is run out from the final ball of the innings and England will be very satisfied with that effort - they've turned up to the party at last. Mahmood finishes with 4-50.

Wicket falls
WICKET - Arnold c Joyce b Mahmood 20, SL 231-9
Mahmood, the butt of many jokes from you lot at the start of this innings, takes his fourth wicket! Another leg-side full-toss and Arnold sticks it straight down Joyce's throat on the square-leg boundary. What should have been the last ball of the innings is very nearly a beamer, which Murali just manages to fend away for one. Mahmood picks up a warning.

Wicket falls
50th over: WICKET - Malinga c Nixon b Mahmood 2, SL 226-8
The Slinger gone and the boys and girls in the pool go wild. Mahmood serves up a bit of chin music, Malinga takes the bait and top-edges to Nixon behind the stumps. England turning the screw. Arnold picks up one to extra-cover. Murali's first ball is a full-tracker and he swings it away for a single. Mahmood, maybe trying an off-cutter, sends one wide outside Arnold's off-stump, Nixon misses it and the ball dribbles away for a couple.

49th over: 226-7
Arnold gives Freddie some hammer but the ball ricochets off Malinga's boot - lucky for England, that would have been four. As it was, it was only one. Malinga is very nearly mopped up by an in-swinging yorker before Arnold drives and gets a thick outside-edge for a couple. Freddie finishes with 3-35 from his 10 overs.

48th over: 221-7
Slinga Malinga is the new batsman. I've said it before and I'll say it again, what is going on with his barnet? He looks like he's had a Soul Glo and gone straight from the barbers to a barn and rolled about in some hay for 10 minutes. Arnold gets one for a drive into the covers and Malinga is off the mark with a glide to third-man. Two from the over and Colly finishes with 1-44 from his 10 overs.

Wicket falls
WICKET - Vaas c Collingwood b Flintoff 4, 219-7
And another for England, Vaas pushing at Freddie and Collingwood pulling off a superb one-handed catch diving to his right at backward-point.

Wicket falls
47th over: WICKET - Silva b Flintoff 23, SL 215-6
Hi, Ho Silva! Freddie castles him with a text-book yorker and England's position is getting stronger with each passing over. All-rounder Vaas is next in and he's off the mark with a yank for a couple. A lady has just walked into our office and everybody has gone quiet. We don't see many in our line of work.

46th over: 215-5
Arnold opens the face and runs Collingwood down to third-man for one before Silva sweeps him away for a couple. Colly floats one up outside Silva's off-stump and is lathered away for one. Arnold gets one with a nudge to mid-off and there are six from the over.

"Nothing wrong with fancying cartoon characters. I fancied the Cadbury's Caramel Bunny when I was a kid."
Liam in the TMS inbox

45th over: 209-5
Arnold comes down the pitch to Anderson and larrups him through the extra-cover for four. Bopara it was with the despairing dive and Anderson finishes with figures of 0-38 from his 10 overs.

"Good to hear that Leighton Buzzard's musical heritage is at last getting the credit it deserves. Let's not forget that they also gave the world Kajagoogoo (except for the lead singer)."
Guy Jackson in the TMS inbox

"I found Scooby hot, but then I opened the car window for a bit."
Dave Stone in the TMS inbox

44th over: 200-5
Arnold and Silva pick up a single apiece before Arnold brings up the 200 with a push to point. Just three from Colly's over, and Sri Lanka will have to revise that target again - 240 would be a good score from here.

"In response to Matthew's post, 'Was it wrong for me to find Velma hot?' - no, not all Matthew...if you find a cartoon depiction of a young Anne Widdecombe attractive."
David, Haddenham, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
43rd over: WICKET - Dilshan run out (Bell) 5, SL 193-5
Another wicket for England, Silva playing a fine cover-drive and Bell making a fine stop and hitting the timbers at the non-striker's end. Choker for Dilshan, but Silva was probably within his rights to send him back. Arnold is the new batter and he's off the mark with a quick single into the off-side.

42nd over: 193-4
That comes out all wrong from Mahmood, and Silva drags him to the long-leg boundary for four. Dilshan pulls Mahmood away for another couple before Colly shows some sharp work in the covers, but Dilshan just makes his ground.

"Umpire Bowden is strutting around out there like an old hen, pointing at people. Why is his finger crooked when he signals six but straight when he gives someone out?"
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

41st over: 184-4
Colly doing a good, no-frills, manful job for England here, just one from the over. He is to cricket what Jim Taggart was to detective work.

"Surely Scrappy-Doo was brought up to be bilingual, where as Scooby must have learned English at a much later age, making it strictly a second language."
Edward Liversidge in the TMS inbox

40th over: 183-4
Silva, as if he's spreading butter on a giant piece of toast, sweeps Monty away for four. Silva picks up a couple with a flick to leg and the Sri Lankans are fancying Monty today. Eight from the over and 250 might be the target now for the Sri Lankans.

Wicket falls
39th over: WICKET - Jayawardene c Joyce b Collingwood 56, SL 175-4
Silva picks up one with a push into the covers before Jayawardene plays a cute leg-side tickle to the long-leg boundary. However, Colly gets his man with an off-cutter, Jayawardene going for some long handle and holing out to Joyce at deep mid-wicket. The pendulum swings back England's way, Dilshan is the new man at the crease.

"Just Googled Scrappy-Doo and was rather worried to encounter several sites to his detriment. One in particular, called 'Scrappy Stinks', expresses such statements as 'Scrappy broke up the gang' and "every cartoon with Scrappy in it should be burned'. Rather harsh I have to say - Lemme at 'em!"
Steve Lowther in the TMS inbox

38th over: 170-3
The Sri Lankans continue to work Monty around like with the minimum of fuss and it's been a pretty frustrating day so far for the England spinner.

"Was it wrong that I found Scooby hot?"
Colin Cornish, Incon, USA, in the TMS inbox

37th over: 166-3
The mistake about Scooby-Doo being Scrappy-Doo's father has triggered an almost unheard of torrent of emails into the TMS inbox. Tight stuff from Freddie, and he gets one past the outside edge of Jayawardene's upright bat. Sri Lanka's skipper does get one for a wristy drive into the covers.

"My colleague, who is also watching this text commentary, has just informed me his poll isn't working. How does one respond to such a frank and honest admission?"
Gavin, Bristol, in the TMS inbox

That's 50
36th over: 164-3
Silva is the new batsman and Monty is hauled back into the attack. Bit of hesitancy from Silva, pushing into the off-side and getting sent back by his skipper. Silva does get off the mark with a tickle to leg. Jayawardene moves to his 37th one-day fifty with a push to point. Good knock that.

"Was it wrong for me to find Velma hot?"
Matthew Hibbett in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
35th over: WICKET - Tharanga c Pietersen b Flintoff 62, SL 161-3
Apologies folks, we've just had one or two technical glitches and the clockwatch hasn't been updating for the last few overs. But there is good news on your return! Freddie has done for Tharanga, the left-hander trying to swing him over mid-wicket and top-edging the ball to KP.

34th over: 156-2
Tharanga and Jayawardene milking the dibbly-dobblies of Collingwood. Tharanga picks up two with a push to backward-point.

"Scooby was not Scrappy's father, he was his uncle."
Thomas Eggar in the TMS inbox

"Did Scrappy-Doo go to the same school as Godzooki? His speech was far better than his dad's as well."
ATL in the TMS inbox

"The character in Scooby-Doo was Velma not Thelma."
Danny, Stratford-upon-Avon, in the TMS inbox

Note from the Vote Man: "Seems most of you don't fancy England's chances of surviving the Super 8s. Our vote for readers of the website is asking how far England will go in this tournament and the vast majority of you are saying the adventure will end at the Super 8 stage. Then again, 12% reckon England will win the World Cup. What do you think? There's nearly an hour of voting left, so get involved."

That's 50
33rd over: 148-2
Tharanga reaches his fifty with a delightful glide to third-man. It came off 91 balls and included just one four. Jayawardene gets down on one knee and sweeps Monty away for four and Monty looks as though he's got the hump and starts gesticulating that he wants another man on the leg-side. Players have a wet.

32nd over: 140-2
Just four from Colly's over, but it should have been three, Bell mis-fielding a Tharanga drive at mid-off.

"Sri Lanka are playing against England the way England play against the minnows - perhaps they think we are minnows?"
Vic Marks on TMS

"Just heard your TMS commentators say there are few nine-year-old children who want to be spinners. My son, Tom, will be nine next week and has been bowling spin for over a year. Loves it. Doesn't want to bowl anything else. I grew up wanting to be Dennis Lillee, he wants to be Shane Warne."
Andrew Moran in the TMS inbox

31st over: 136-2
Sri Lanka continue to milk Vaughan, but I would have thought they'd be trying to give his part-time tweakers a bit of tap. Just four singles from the over and Sri Lanka will be looking at around 270 at this rate.

30th over: 132-2
Me and my big mouth, there goes Tharanga, trotting down the wicket and swatting Monty to the long-off boundary. He and Jayawardene exchange singles before Tharanga tries to go after Panesar again, chips it to mid-off and perhaps should have been caught. Anderson it was who was caught in two minds, but I reckon he should have had a dive.

29th over: 124-2
Jayawardene shovels Vaughan round the corner for a couple. Tharanga misses out on a long-hop from Vaughan, clipping to straight to Collingwood at point. Really struggling, Tharanga - Sri Lanka could do with him sacrificing his wicket.

"If Bopara is Scrappy-Doo, Ian Bell must be Thelma."
Doug in the TMS inbox

28th over: 119-2
Good stroke from Tharanga, lacing Monty through the covers for a couple. Tharanga then plays a delightful stroke, waiting for the ball to come on to him and feathering it to the wide third-man boundary. Good fielding from Freddie down there, he covered plenty of ground. Jayawardene nicks a quick single, Tharanga easily making his ground running to the striker's end. Sri Lanka playing Monty pretty comfortably at the moment.

"Talking of Scrappy-Doo - why was it that he spoke fluently in an American accent when his dad, Scooby, could only produce incorehent dog-talk? Better schooling?"
Keith, Glasgow, in the TMS inbox

27th over: 111-2
You will notice we have a big green box on the top right of the screen - that is a vote. Not sure what it's about, but we would like you to click on it. Vaughany has brought himself into the attack and there are five singles from the over. Surely the Sri Lankans will go after him at some stage?

26th over: 106-2
Tharanga sweeps Monty for one before Jayawardene turns him away for one. Tharanga nicks the strike.

"Monty used to kick his feet up at the start of his run, like a big wading bird making his way through some water, but he's not doing that today."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

25th over: 103-2
Rancid ball from Colly and Jayawardene yanks him round the corner for four. Monty it was with the dive, dust flying up behind him like he's being dragged behind a horse. Up comes the Sri Lanka ton, Jayawardene picking up two with a push to mid-off. The game's on a knife-edge.

24th over: 95-2
It's Monty time, and the English contingent are in raptures. Jayawardene nurdles him to mid-wicket for one. Tharanga paddles one round the corner for one before Jayawardene nicks the strike with a tickle to leg.

"'England in the driving seat?' Let's not get carried away. I'd say England are still half-way up the bus playing cards. Sri Lanka are still in the driving seat and Jayawardene is the Holiday Rep."
Keith in the TMS inbox

23rd over: 92-2
The cameraman's roving eye kicks in again, and he's particularly taken by a woman greasing up her man-friend. I don't care what factor that cream is, he's going to fry - he's almost see-through. Dreamy stroke from Jayawardene, timing Colly sweetly through the covers for four. Bell it was with the unsuccessful dive. Jayawardene tries to glide Colly down to third-man but is beaten. Good comeback by the Durham all-rounder.

22nd over: 87-2
Tharanga takes a quick run to mid-on and he wanst to get a wriggle on, he's been crawling along like the 0813 from Forest Hill to London Bridge. Jayawardene gets one for a cover-drive and there are just three from the over.

21st over: 84-2
Colly is into the attack. There are some wags (not WAGs) in the crowd wearing T-Shirts with the legend 'Hoff Will Save You', clearly a reference to Freddie's pedalo incident. Tremendous. Four singles from Colly's over and England's bowlers are doing a fine job here.

"Well, to settle this Knights issue, let's hope the Barron Knights are there and give them all a good showing. They're from Leighton Buzzard."
Jeremy Leese in the TMS inbox

"Would now be the wrong time to mention Peter Willey?"
Steven Middleton in the TMS inbox

20th over: 80-2
Bopara really is a bundle of energy, the Scrappy-Doo of the England outift, and he pulls off a fine save at square-leg. Jayawardene twirls his wrists and gets a couple to backward-square.

"Surely the only way to prove if Mahmood has eaten Jack Russell is to have him appear on Watercolour Challenge and see if he knocks up a cracking view of Chipping Sodbury."
Mr Trebor in the TMS inbox

"Similar to Kevin's recent submission, I live on a road called 'Sri Lanka are well on their way to a decent high-200s innings and giving England a good stuffing Avenue'. Surely a premonition?"
Paddy, Notts, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
19th over: WICKET - Sangakkara c Collingwood b Mahmood 17, SL 69-2
Mahmood's done it again! A slow, wide full-bunger from the Lancashire man and Sangakkara just prods it to Collingwood at backward point. England in the driving seat, Mahmood with a bit of Golden Arm. Skipper Jayawardene is next in and he's edging first-up, but the ball dribbles past the slips for a couple. Trapalot Nixon giving it some chat, "come on lads, he's Mr Leading Edge this boy, Mr Leading Edge". What is it about English people and their inability to pronounce foreign-sounding names? Jayawardene plays his first authentic stroke, a cover-drive for three. Tharanga turns the final ball away for one.

"It is with relief that I have just called an old cricketing colleague of mine and found that Mahmood has not eaten ex-Sussex legend Albert Curly-Wurly

18th over: 69-1
Sangakkara scampers a sharp single after nudging Flintoff to mid-on. Some mongrel from Freddie, getting Tharanga to arch his back with a bumper. Just the one from the over and this is a watchful start from Sanga.

17th over: 68-1
Mahmood is back into the attack. Two singles from the over and Mahmood has now bowled six overs and has figures of 1-25. Handy.

"On my way back to the office from the obligatory liquid pub lunch watching the game, I passed a road called Vaughan Court. Just wondering whether this was some sort of sign that I should pop to the bookies? Can you get odds on how a batsman gets out? Or maybe I should just go back to the pub..."
Kevin McCrindle, Fleet, in the TMS inbox

"It's not a bad pitch by any means, but it seems difficult to time the ball on."
Gus Fraser on TMS

"A worrying possibility is that Mahmood has eaten Jack Russell, the dimensions would allow for it."
Tim Wakeham in the TMS inbox

16th over: 66-1
Peche de la peche from Sangakkara, lacing Flintoff through the covers for four. Sanga picks up another single with a clip to leg. Mello, the World Cup mascot, has his arm round a chap in the crowd - makes a change, he's normally trying to goose up a lady. Tharanga grabs a single with a push to point. Players take drinks.

15th over: 60-1
Leg-bye for Sri Lanka before Sangakkara tries to get after Anderson, attempting to swing him over mid-wicket but mis-timing the shot and only picking up a couple.

"Mahmood would almost certainly have consumed 'Beefy' Botham, had he not been fended off with a bowl of Shredded Wheat."
Mike, London, in the TMS inbox

"Umpire Bowden does like his leg-bye signal. It's a little stroke of the inner thigh followed by a wiggle of the foot. I imagine he practices it in front of the mirror."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

14th over: 56-1
Sangakkara bends his front leg and unfurls a fluent drive, but Bell limits him to just one run with more athleticism in the covers. Shot of the day so far from Sangakkara, pouncing on a ball in the slot from Freddie and unleashing a doozy of a drive for four.

13th over: 50-1
Tharanga gets two for a drive through the covers, Bopara saving the boundary. England look like mustard in the field at the moment, pouncing on everything that comes their way. Just two from the over, Anderson tighter than Andy Fordham's watch strap.

"Is Robin Smith dressed as a Ninja Turtle?"
Danny Tolhurst, Stratford-upon-Avon, in the TMS inbox

12th over: 48-1
Despite looking like a Jackson Pollock canvas, the pitch is actually playing pretty well. It's Freddie time - cue shot of Mrs Freddie and Freddie Junior in the crowd. The swimming pool is frothing with England fans - there's more red meat on display than Smithfield Market, it's like a little piece of Benidorm. Tight stuff from Freddie, just the one no-ball from the over.

"What's Richard Chapman going on about? The Saxons were a Germanic tribe that originated in Denmark. It is believed that their name came from their single-edged seax (sword). Under pressure from migrating Franks, the Saxons spread from Denmark to western Europe between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Their name survives in England (Essex and Sussex) and in Germany (Saxony)."
Boycie, Canary Wharf, in the TMS inbox 11th over: 47-1
Sangakkara mis-times a pull shot, but gets a couple for it. One more for Sanga with a push to mid-on. Anderson still toiling manfully on behalf of England.

"I'm in my office in Sassenheim, The Netherlands, drinking strong Dutch coffee, earning a fortune for putting some numbers in spreadsheets and I AM jealous of those people currently in Antigua catching some rays and sipping a crisp local beer."
Richard Wareing in the TMS inbox

"Other cricketers who Mahmood might have eaten could include Derek Pringle..."
Simon Charlwood in the TMS inbox

10th over: 44-1
Quick shot of the EWAGS in the crowd - more giant sunglasses than Posh Spice's handbag. New batsman Sangakkara is off the mark with a dab into the off-side.

"Yes Yes Yes! In your face, all the Mahmood haters, don't forget to put some Reggae Reggae Sauce on the words that you must now eat!"
Dominic, Manchester, in the TMS inbox

9th over: 41-1
Tharanga pick up a couple with a drive through backward-point. Monty fields out on the boundary - and the crowd goes wild. Tharanga moves to 14 with a flip off his pads for a couple.

"What are the Norman knights doing there? They were French. Let's hope if any Saxon knights are there, they can give them a damn good thrashing."
Richard Chapman in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
8th over: WICKET - Jayasuriya b Mahmood 25, SL 37-1
Jayasuriya gets a leading edge, but the ball falls well short of Mahmood. Mahmood tests Jayasuriya out with a bumper...and the old man drags him round the corner for a maximum. What was that David Lloyd said about the Sri Lankans not liking it up 'em? But Mahmood's got him! He gets one just to nip back at the batsman and Jayasuriya chops onto his timbers. Big, big wicket for England.

"Hmmm. If there really is a decent cricketer 'rattling around' inside Mahmood, it can only be because he has eaten one...Alan Lamb perhaps?"
Mark, Stoke Newington, in the TMS inbox

"Let's hope Collingwood's stiff neck isn't aggravated by having to look up to the sky as the ball sails over the boundary repeatedly for the next three hours."
Simon, London, in the TMS inbox

"Contrary to Simon Mann, I believe that somewhere within Mahmood is a decent plumber trapped in a county cricketer's whites."
Rob, Reading, in the TMS inbox

7th over: 30-0
Scampered single by Tharanga with a clip into the leg-side. Anderson drops short and Jayasuriya swings him awayfor four. Shocking fielding from Mahmood, dragging the ball back in front of the rope and kicking it over. Jayasuriya then shows his feminine side, angling Anderson to the long-leg boundary.

"With the need to pre-register musical instruments, would that mean that Placido Domingo would be refused entry if he failed to pre-register his voice?"
Jon Kendall, Torquay, in the TMS inbox

"Mahmood: All the consistency of my dear old mum's gravy."
Hutters, Dublin, in the TMS inbox

6th over: 21-0
A few Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in today, not sure which ones. I was one of those horrible kids who nagged my mum and dad to buy me some terrapins when that film came out. Me and my brothers used to attach Smurfs to their shells and race them in the living room. Robin Smith is in the crowd, what a batsman he was. One leg-bye from the over and a turn to backward-square for one by Tharanga.

"I am in my office in central London, drinking instant coffees that taste of dishwater, earning a pittance for making spreadsheets with some numbers in them. I would just like to say that I am in no way jealous of those people currently in Antigua catching some rays and sipping a crisp local beer."
Pete in the TMS inbox

5th over: 19-0
Tharanga gets two with a push to point. Bit of width for Tharanga and Anderson is swung through the covers for two more. But Anderson bites back, getting the final ball of the over to take off of a length and leave Tharanga groping.

4th over: 15-0
More of a carnival atmosphere today - just seen a gaggle of lost leprechauns and a couple of chaps dressed as St George. They must be losing about a pound a minute. Mahmood serves up a widish one, smothered in ice cream and with nuts on top, and Jayasuriya carves him away for four. No-ball from Mahmood and Jayasuriya chops it away for one to third-man. Mahmood gets Jayasuriya hopping with a bit of extra pace. Nine from the over.

"I feel with Mahmood that there's a decent cricketer rattling around in there somewhere, he just needs a bit of consistency. The Norman knights are here, I imagine they'll strip off later..."
Simon Mann on TMS

3rd over: 6-0
Anderson serves up another tempter and Tharanga misses with a wooly thrash. It's Aggers' birthday today apparently - Happy Birthday big man! Anderson all over Tharanga here like a Burton's suit and he almost cleans him up again, the ball just shaving bat and off-stump. England think they've got their man, but umpire Bowden reckons it just flicked his pad. Anderson strays onto Tharanga's pads with the final delivery and Tharanga is off the mark with a couple.

2nd over: 4-0
Sri Lanka have 1,912 one-day caps to England's 541, my colleague informs me. More importantly, Mahmood's first delivery is a load of old rubbish, a leg-stump half-bunger that Jayasuriya has on toast. Four. Jayasuriya passes Sachin Tendulkar as the most capped player in ODI history today - 385 games. That's more games than I've had cups of tea during this World Cup. Probably. Better from Mahmood, just that one scoring shot from the over.

1st over: 0-0
Anderson to have first bung and he gets a bit of away-swing first-up. Tharanga unfurls a drive and Bell makes a good stop in the covers. England's fielders, as you would expect, look animated. Another tempter from Anderson, the ball pitching on off-stump, gripping and spitting away from the groping Tharanga. Good first over.

1429 BST: Players are out and there's a decent England contingent in and they're making a respectable racket. Monty gets the first big cheer of the day, lovely touch.

"It's black and it's pale and it's shiny, and it's got these tram-lines down it."
Jonathan Agnew describing the pitch on TMS

1428 BST: I must admit, I don't really understand the psychology of winning the toss and putting the opposition in. It surely puts England's batsmen under more pressure having to chase whatever target Sri Lanka rack up, and it's likely to be a meaty one.

"Is it the flowing locks of Slinger Malinga that you particularly fancy Mr Dirs? Its probably not the wide-eyed gurning of Murali."
Nick Bell in the TMS inbox

1425 BST: Bizarrely, I've just heard that Bell is the only survivor from the England side that was beasted by Sri Lanka in Headingley last summer. That's interesting...isn't it? Quick update on the weather - it looks ruddy baking in Antigua with a few fluffy clouds dotted here and there.

"Victor Marks is wearing a very loud red shirt and Gus Fraser is wearing a cheap giveaway number from 2003..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

"Michael Vaughan says the World Cup starts today - I could have sworn it started three weeks ago."
Darren Kerins, Leighton Buzzard, in the TMS inbox

1412 BST: Bit of a scare with Collingwood this morning apparently, he woke up with a stiff neck, poor lamb. But he's ready to rumble and that's a relief for England. David Lloyd on Sky reckons the Sri Lankans "don't like it up 'em". Shame we've got a new-ball partnership of Anderson and Mahmood.

England: Ed Joyce, Michael Vaughan (capt), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Paul Nixon (wk), Ravi Bopara, Sajid Mahmood, James Anderson, Monty Panesar

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Dilhara Fernando, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan

1410 BST: We are about to find out whether England have the jaffers to win this thing. I've always fancied Sri Lanka, I think they're the most well-balanced outfit in the event.

1405 BST: Hello everyone. England have won the toss and have decided to bowl. Surprisingly, they are unchanged - there was plenty of chat beforehand suggesting Strauss might come in for Joyce and Pietersen might move up to three. Sri Lanka are also unchanged. The pitch is pretty good according to Ian Botham, with plenty of pace and bounce. This despite the fact it looks like it's had a buffalo and plough dragged straight down the middle.


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