1st Test SL vs Ban 1st Day

It is often said that a Test pitch should not be judged until Sri Lanka has had a chance to fall on it. But unless the surface changes drastically over the next day, this pitch seems to prevent a fall even for this Sri Lankan, who unveils a new monument to bat an incompetence once every Test (in their last 12 punches, they’ve all been out for less than 200 five times).

Early on day one, the ball hardest, the freshest (and springiest in general), wicket keeper Niroshan Dickwella collected the ball at knee height and below. Batters played and lost occasionally, but not often, with little movement available either off deck or in the air. Even if there had been margins, there was a decent chance they would have bounced before a catch behind the wicket could be claimed. By mid-morning, batters were pulling and grabbing Lahiru Kumara’s 140kph-plus bouncers in front of the square.

All this on the greenest Best Test pitch seen in Sri Lanka in at least five years. In South Africa, the surfaces of this toner are called green mambas – the ball, jump, spit, bite off. On day one, this field was so lame that it was more like green earthworms, the kind that reproduce asexually and live its whole life in the dark, probably in its parents’ basement.