Yesterday we suggested that, should they want to, Sri Lanka were in a strong position to pose a real threat to England and go for victory in the second Test.
What a difference a day makes. Having bowled Sri Lanka out for 479, seven runs short of their target, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott proceeded to put England right back in with a chance of winning this match.
If we rewind a week, England entered the final day of the first Test with a 92-run lead and a prompt boundary from Ian Bell to bring up his century left England with 50 overs to bowl at the Sri Lankan attack.
Sri Lanka promptly collapsed and as the early birds start to fill Lords, there will be plenty of optimism among the England camp ahead of the final day’s play of the second Test.
England enter today’s play with a lead of 156 runs and while the draw may be the very short 1/16 favourite, there will be many punters who will fancy England at 7/1.
In Cardiff England had the insurance of an extra innings in which to attack Sri Lanka, but we’re effectively into a one-day situation at Lords and in betting terms, England have a plus handicap of 156 runs.
With around 90 overs expected to be bowled and a bright sunny day at Lords, we will hopefully see England bat aggressively until lunchtime and then have a go at the Sri Lankan attack this afternoon.
Cook will start the day on 61 runs and he is 5/6 to score over 101.5 runs, and after the form he’s showed this year, he will surely better the 96 he scored in the first innings.
Pietersen has struggled for form this year but played himself in nicely last night and while he is the 8/13 favourite to be the next wicket to fall, Pietersen will take charge this morning and is 5/6 to score a 50.