Virtual Test: England battling to save game and win series against Sri Lanka
Sky Sports statistician Benedict Bermange using cricket simulation to play out Virtual Test Match of postponed series between Sri Lanka and England
Last Updated: 30/03/20 2:22pm
England will go into the final day of the Second Virtual Test at Colombo needing 352 runs to win - or more realistically - having to bat out the day to preserve their 1-0 lead and clinch the series.
Sri Lanka's second innings of 344 owed much to Angelo Mathews (135), who scored his 11th Test century and Kusal Mendis, who made 77 in a third wicket partnership of 152.
Any rain about on final day Benedict?? Just asking for a friend ...— Nasser Hussain (@nassercricket) March 30, 2020
Benedict's Virtual Simulation
Sky Sports statistician Benedict Bermange is using a cricket simulation that takes into account batting averages, strike-rates, bowling averages and bowling speeds and plays out a five-day Test match based on those figures.
Mathews was always positive and reached three figures from just 144 deliveries - the fastest of his Test centuries to date. He struck 16 crisp boundaries and one beautiful lofted straight six off Dom Bess which threatened to take out the cameramen at the far end of the ground.
Mendis continued his good form and was more circumspect, reaching his fifty from 103 balls before attempting to strike Jack Leach over the top and offering Jos Buttler an easy stumping.
Sri Lanka reached lunch at 146-2 on the fourth day of the Second Virtual Test. They lost Oshada Fernando early, but Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews took them to the break without further loss. Their lead at the interval is 153. pic.twitter.com/hNXfVWeyxw— Benedict Bermange (@Benedict_B) March 30, 2020
First-innings centurion Dinesh Chandimal added 71 with Mathews before Joe Root took the new ball with Sri Lanka sitting pretty at 283-3. The decision paid immediate dividends with Stuart Broad nipping one back to Mathews in the next over and trimming his off stump.
It was a superb, match-defining innings from the former captain and he left to a standing ovation. That wicket seemed to inspire the England bowlers, who thwarted the Sri Lankan's attempts to up the scoring rate by taking regular wickets.
Angelo Mathews scored his eleventh - and fastest - Test century to help Sri Lanka to 264-3 at tea on the fourth day of the Second Virtual Test at Colombo, a lead of 271. England's only success in the session came when Kusal Mendis was stumped off Jack Leach for 77. pic.twitter.com/umMQkk5NBN— Benedict Bermange (@Benedict_B) March 30, 2020
In fact, seven wickets fell in the final session, with Leach wrapping up the tail with three wickets in 10 deliveries.
It was the seamers who had done the initial damage using the second new ball, with Sam Curran forcing Chandimal to edge to Ben Stokes in the gully before Broad induced the same error from Niroshan Dickwella.
Kusal Perera's bright and breezy innings of 24 was terminated by a Curran in-ducker before Leach set to work on the tail.
Can’t change a winning team 😔— Chris Woakes (@chriswoakes) March 30, 2020
Running the drinks well though! Boys putting in a shift on the bench 👊🏼
The Stokes-inspired victory at Leeds last year may have preyed on the mind of Dimuth Karunaratne, who decided against an early declaration and so - barring a miracle - there is probably only one possible winner in this Test.
The first session of the final day could well be crucial and Sri Lanka will hope that the pitch will show more signs of wear and tear than it has been so far, while there will be some irregular bounce.