Two test matches played in different countries on different pitches, different conditions had different results. In Sri Lanka on a belter of a pitch batsmen made merry scoring runs without a worry as they simply went onto the front foot and made mincemeat of anything that the bowlers had to offer. There was neither swing in the air nor much deviation off the pitch for the new ball users as well as the spinners and once a batsman had played himself in for half hour or so he could pretty much close his eyes and play after that. It was that kind of a surface.
Kumar Sangakarra who had a tough first couple of tests when Sri Lanka visited India last year made up for that by hitting a double century which also happened to be his third consecutive century against the Indians. He also added a neat 42 in the second innings. His predecessor as skipper Mahela Jaywardene wasn't too far behind and showed his fondness for Indian bowling by smashing 174.
India had their own reply with Sehwag missing out on a third successive ton by getting stumped on 99. His hero Sachin Tendulkar ensured that he was not going to miss out and he duly made up for Sehwag's miss by going on to a double century. The test predictably ended in a draw and the most relieved were the bowlers who must be hoping that they would never have to bowl on such a pitch again.
In England it was totally different. The conditions were overcast for most of the days of the test and there was a bit of moistness in the pitch that helped the new ball to grip even as it swung in the air. Batsmen had to watch the ball till the last second and play as close to their pads as they could. They had to be watchful even after they had spent hours at the crease though not many managed to do so.
In fact the Pakistani batsmen had little idea which way the ball was going to move and despite that kept playing shots as they would in the sub continent where the ball comes on to the bat with hardly any movement in the air or off the pitch. Even in the earlier test match which they had won against Australia in similar conditions they made a small target look huge. Quite clearly the younger Pakistani batsmen have to do a fair bit of work on their technique but more so, on their temperament.
They were sitting ducks for Jimmy Anderson who got a duck on his birthday but then began the next day with a big haul of wickets. He bowled at good pace and got the ball to move prodigiously both ways which the Pakistanis just couldn't handle. Even the relatively more experienced batsmen hung their bats out and were consumed by some fine catching in the slips by England who hardly missed anything. Anderson then followed up with another five wicket haul to pick eleven wickets in the game and send Pakistan crashing to one of their biggest defeats.
For his superb bowling James Anderson is the Ceat International Cricketer of the week.