|Sri Lanka Tour Diary|
Days 1 and 2
Whenever England meet at the airport there is always a dress code. This time everyone had to have a Pietersen coloured stripe in their hair, so arriving at Heathrow were 20 blokes with bleached hair ranging from blood red to bleached blond, this made passport control rather interesting.
The 13 hour flight was broken up by in-flight movies, video games and chicken currey for breakfast.
Our accommodation is great, it's located right on the beach. The staff think we are famous cricketers and so have been really helpful.
On Sunday we had training on some rather rough home grown concrete pitches which took some getting used too. Unfortunately our training ground was double booked as the local groundsmen were expecting the Holland U19 side who were due to play Sri Lanka in the U19 World Cup. This confused the groudstaff even more as the majority of the side look much older than 19. Anyway this potential crisis was averted thanks to the Sri Lankan Police who allowed us to play at their ground.
Monday sees the first match of the series and there are 3 new caps in the team, which goes so show that competition for places is higher than ever before. There are 4 Warwickshire players in the England team which is credit to the immense leadership qualities of Alan Humphries.
Good luck to England.
Nathan Muralitharan Foy
keep an eye out for more diary entries soon
The 6 o'clock wake up call was hardest on those still suffering with the effects of jet lag but the 2 hour coach journey through the Colombo rush hour was hardest on everyone.
On arrival at the ground we were met with a load ear piercing shrill which led us to believe that a bank robbery was in progress only to find out later that this in fact was the local school bell inviting everyone to attend their morning lessons.
Before the match commenced we met the local dignitaries (an obligatory task which all international players must get used to). The singing of the National Anthem that followed was of a standard that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth would have been proud of. Even the South African and Welsh elements in the team were singing their little hearts out.
We have played cricket in some hot places but this is the hottest weather I've ever played in and by a long way. I took my hat off at the drinks break and after 2 minutes my head felt like it was going to explode. The pitch was very rough and unpredictable which meant it was better to watch and play late, timing the ball was also difficult. The fast outfield meant that it was mostly a 1 or 4 pitch with not many 2s or 3s on offer. If you got a good bat on it then it raced away so it either went straight to the fielder for 1 or it beat him and went for a boundary. Field placings on this pitch was very important and I feel that Heindrich won this battle and essentially the match by having the right fielders in the right places for the right batsman hence the 2 catches and Matt Dean's run out.
Alan Humphries take a bow. You should write a coaching manual, because the Warwickshire 4 (as they're more commonly known) all pitched in. I took 3 wkts and blasted 80 off 44 balls, Mark Pickup was the stand out fielder and grabbed the first catch, Rhino had the first run out and a stumping and Andy Powers was 49 not out. However performance of the day has to go to Metro's Rory Field with his 173 on debut. A truly awesome display of batting in what were truly difficult conditions.
Our luck was definitely in on Monday as we entered the Hotel raffle and won all the prizes.
More soon Nathan (52 average against Sri Lanka) Foy
For Monday's match the 6'o'clock wake up call did not give enough time to get prepared, have breakfast and make the 06:30 coach to the ground. So for today's match the wake up calls went back to 05:45. This decision was met by some players with the sort of colourful language that is banned from this message board.
On arrival at the ground we were serenaded by a brass band which was err...nice. They continued to play whilst the match was underway which was very off putting. There is something about batting to the tune of Star Wars that just seems wrong.
I'd like to give special mention to the 12th men today who were outstanding. They worked tirelessly for the team making sure that drinks were always available.
The last 6 overs today were real edge of the pants stuff but we held on. It's Englandís closest ever victory and was very hard on the old ticker.
After the match there was very little time to celebrate as we were whisked off to the High Commission for some drinks and nibbles and to meet some of the local nobility. The only dignitary missing in my mind was Alan Humphries whose guidance once again was not found wanting as the Warwickshire "massive" (as we're now known) did their utmost to influence today victory.
On the journey home from the High Commission our captain Heindrich Swanepoel stopped the coach (quite literally) outside the local McDonalds and treated the entire team to a Supersized banquet. I'd like to mention that this treat is something that former skipper Adam Banjamin never did, the nearest we ever got was when he offered round a bag of out of date jelly babies.
Well it's the end to a great day with England taking an unbeatable 2:0 lead and another series in the bag however a 3:0 whitewash would be even better.
Nathan "totally supersized" Foy
With no wake up call before sunrise this morning many people took advantage and there were not too many players to be seen at breakfast. Some including myself did not surface until midday.
The beach was the choice of venue today for the majority of players apart from the rather entrepreneurial Mark Pickup who was haggling for cricket bats down to some low low prices at the local bazaar.
The busiest member of the team without a doubt is our physio Scott who's had a lot of treatment to administer over the past few days.
Today's team meeting was lead by the Godfather of inner city cricket himself Mikey Thompson. It included news about 2 new caps for Friday's match and why they were chosen. At 17:00 the bus arrived to take us to Colombo to attend a function held by the Sri Lankan blind cricket association. Heindrich and our tour manager Pete Sugg became instant television stars and the potato curry went down well.
The final match is on Friday.
Nathan "I can't believe it's not vegetable curry" Foy
We awoke to the hottest day in Sri Lanka this year and boy was it hot. When Sri Lanka were batting it felt like we were fielding in Lava it was that hot. The good news about today's match was that we didn't have to endure the long journey to Luitenant Columbo instead today's match was held in Katayanaka. The ground was one of the most amazing places I've ever played at. The pavilion was similar to the one at Hampshire's Rose Bowl. The wicket was like a strip of concrete between Colombo and Kandy and the outfield was as rough and uncut as Harmison's beard.
There was also a drum and trumpet band that didn't stop playing all day, at one point I'm sure they were playing La Macarena. To add even more to the experience the Sri Lankan softball championships were taking place in the adjacent field. Their sound system was twice as loud as ours and included adverts similar to crazy George's low, low prices. Then to finish off the cauldron of noise we were frequently met overhead by an array of Apache helicopters practising their manoeuvres. So standing at fine leg at the Tuc Tuc car park end I could hear a whole array of sounds in front of me i.e. the match, behind me I had the softball and crazy George, to the left was the trumpet and drums and to the right was the local supporters shouting and screaming oh year and overheard were the Apache's. After fielding for 40 overs in lava we were all overheating big time so the ice was passed around, when this didn't work the only option left was a team cold shower, it's a good job we're all good friends.
There was major concern by the management over the influence that Alan Humphries and his Warwickshire 4 were having on the England side therefore the decision was made to reduce their allocation to 3 and to allow Dan Field to make his debut in place of Andy Powers. With less of Alan's influence on the pitch, we lost, so I expect a call up for Alan for the Pakistan series in May is inevitable.
Anyway with the series won and the players saying Adam who...? we turned our attentions to the evening ahead. As every touring person will know the common mantra is "WHAT'S SAID ON TOUR, STAYS ON TOUR" so it would be totally unprofessional of me to mention anything regarding Hassan and the ti**y bar and Howard's mistaken identity with a local ladyboy. It's a bit different to Swansea Howard!!! or is it.
and that's about it from me,
Nathan "getting down with the ladyboys" Foy