The Winter witnessed something of an emotional meltdown for England cricket fans withexciting Test series in South Africa where Ben Stokes proceeded on his merry way to cricketing immortality. The series was drawn but boy at times it was a doozy.Then later there came the - no, sorry - I still can't talk about THATworld T20 final against the West Indiesand thegut-wrenching final over without feeling physically sick and still just a little bit on the emotional side of tearful disbelief. So no, there will be no recap of the Winter.

Back to proper Cricket..... in May?

Sothis week the 1st Test match of the summer began, and two days into the contest it's been glorious.

This is in spite of the collection of geniuses at the ECB who decided that the first international of the summer should take place in the middle of May in the North of England. In other words, it's technically still winter there. Well done ECB, but hopefully they'llhave probably learnt their lesson and planned the 2nd Test somewhere more southern and therefore more conducive to going somewhere to providing a modicum of uninterrupted play. I mean, the ECB wouldn't have done anything even more stupid and arrange for the match to take place even further up the country in the most northerly Test match ground in England would they? Oh, hang on.......... Yep they have. Durham. Genius.

Not the best of starts

Of course, this being the England team it didn't go initially to plan as some of our batting order on the first day thought they were still playing some of that T20 malarkey. It could be that the team felt a little sorry for the Sri Lankans who were quite clearly confused at having to play cricket near the Arctic circle.

Nevertheless, at 83 for 5 part way through day 1 it seemed that this new dawn of 'fearless cricket' from Captain Cook's brave boys was going to make fools of us all.

Jonny to the rescue

However that was until Jonny Bairstow came to the crease and joinedAlex Hales to show the rest of the batting order how it should be doneasthe first innings finished with England on a respectable 298.

I know that I may be a cynical old git (I realise that I hide it well) but seeing Jonny reach his 100 at his home ground brought a lump to my throat. It really did. In all seriousness it really should now be about time that the doubters get off Bairstow's back and accept that we have something special here in a number 7 that can instil fear into bowling attacks in much the same way a certain Mr Gilchrist did for the Aussies back in the day. How the heck Jonny isn't in the one day set up is beyond me.

The Jimmy/Stuart show

The afternoon of the 2nd day witnessed the collapse of the Sri Lankan batting order at the hands of what now should be regarded as perhaps England's greatest ever pace bowling partnership.

Yes I know that there are many who would quite rightly extol the virtues of the likes of Trueman/Statham or Willis/Botham, but for me the Anderson/Broad attack in statistical terms is stunning.There were periods yesterday when the deliveries were at times unplayable as the tourists were faced with a stellar exhibition in the art of swing bowling. In the process it sawJimmy Anderson reach 6th in the all time list of leading wicket takers. All we need is for him to stay fit for another 20 or 30 years and I'll be happy.By the end of the day Messrs Anderson & Broad had claimed nine wickets between them as Sri Lanka crumbled to 91 all out and thus amazingly eight runs short of the follow-on target.

The evening was set for one of those magical crowd induced periods of glorious swing bowling as our brave boys went for the jugular. Well it would have been if not for the winter weather moving back in as bad light meant the players came off for the day to sit by the fire and get warm again.

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