|Not a bowl and no roses visible|
But as and when the cricket gets underway, and now that all dressing room windows have been treated with shatterproof surfaces, what are the main talking points? The real challenge facing both sides is how to get 20 hats win the match.
Is the challenge less for Sri Lanka? After all, they only really have to get 16 wickets because when Strauss comes in they toss the ball to Welegedara and when KP comes in they bring Herath on, so fragile have these 2 looked this summer. Jimmy Anderson's return should give England's attack that bit extra compared to its monotonous and tall sameness at Lords, but even he cannot make a flat batting wicket into a result wicket. And unlike Ascot hats, Southampton's wicket appears to be a flat, to judge from recent scores.
The experts, whoever they are, think Anderson will come in for Finn which leaves former Hampshire player Chris Tremlett returning to his old stamping ground to show he is not the gentle giant they fondly remember. He is now a snarling hell raiser, almost. But Stuart Broad remains a puzzle - he got his 100th Test wicket at Lords but for long spells he looked like he had no idea how to take a wicket. FB has no idea why he persists with the short stuff when a goodly number of his wicket taking balls are pitched up. T20 skipper or not, to stay in Fantasy Bob's side for the rest of the summer, Broad has to get among the wickets, or wear cabbages for a hat. Putting the sulking behind him would also help. On the plus side, England's batting, KP aside, looks rock solid - and it's just a question of which 2 of the top 7 are going to get 100s.
|Sorry, did you say heads.....|
As seasoned readers of FB will know he is an enthusiastic but incompetent match forecaster. Actually he is enthusiastic but incompetent at most things, except those things at which he is only incompetent. The weather and the probable featherbed of the wicket suggest a draw to FB which will leave England 1-0 victors on the basis of that exceptional 20 overs in the final afternoon at Cardiff. A telling lesson for all junior cricketers - lose one session and you can lose the series. But Sri Lanka are probably firm favourites already for the ODIs.