Sri Lankan soap opera production’s presents: The Balcony

A team in political crisis playing the form of the game they understand, completely choke an English line up to within inches of defeat.

We start with overpriced bad blended whisky poured into glasses in preparation for their win at the unofficial home of cricket.

Stuart Law is out the back booking flights to bangladesh, his work is done.  Marvan Attapatu is doing stomach crunches.  Lasith Malinga is eating whatever food Duleep Mendis has left behind.

And only Dilshan watches on the whole time. His face tattooed into a single look of “I think we’re alright, aren’t we?”

As the tension, from an artificial plot device, builds, the rest of the characters start becoming more prominent.

Lasith Malinga, who sprays the Lord’s members with samosa crumbs, is vitriolic towards the men in the middle. Screaming at them as the food in his mouth makes his words unintelligible.

Law, leaving his laptop for a moment, comes out to tell Dilshan that he has sent gloves out, and these are magic gloves that will save the day.

Dumith’s run out on the ground to bring gloves and water was brief respite from the seriouesness of the balcony, and his run back a few seconds later with a bat was a lovely almost instant call back that soap operas usually ignore.

The English boys all played their part.  KP the main who could not believe that anyone would put himself before his team.  Kieswetter as the guy trying to look angry while really looking like he was miscast.  To the outsider it may have looked Cook’s face never changed for a moment, but his subtle performance was all in the gap between his eyebrowes.

Mathews and Chandimal were amazing, giving the scene tension and farce, whilst reminding us that good writing doesn’t always have to be drama.  Mathews did so little in his performance that you could argue he was hardly there, but that was the real genius of him, he was the rock that the angst and worry pivoted around.

Attapatu was brilliant as the stoic friend to Dilshan who sits beside him as he goes through all the emotions, but never feels the need to complicate their relationship by speaking.

But ultimately it is Dilshan who steals the show.

Dilshan may be a pirate with a bat in his hand, but on the balcony he is the nervous matriarch of the family.  It’s his face that tells us that he is watching something going wrong.

As Chandimal and Mathews decided to get the remaining runs in agony, Dilshan’s face spoke to us all.

“Have I left the oven on.

Maybe I did leave the oven on.

I really can’t remember if I’ve left the oven on.

If I’ve left the oven, what will happen?

No, I didn’t leave the oven on, but I should always double check before leaving the house just to be sure.”

The whole time this happens, Dilshan barely says a word.

Yet, he carries the whole show.

It takes some special effort to be the man on the balcony, and still be the star.


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4 thoughts on “Sri Lankan soap opera production’s presents: The Balcony

  1. Anand says:

    I can just imagine what would have happened in sl dressing room if England pulled that off.

  2. Amsterdam says:

    Is there way we can get our eyes on scenes from the dressing room? There must be security cameras, it’s the Lords for god’s sake.

  3. Deep Cower says:

    So you’ve finally come round to accepting Angelo Mathews exists, huh?

  4. Sreejith says:


    I am disappointed that a blog that calls itself cricketwithballs hasn’t commented on the ballsiest thing I have heard during my watching cricket. Namely Sangakkara’s speech at Lords. My admiration for the man has increased 10 fold after reading about it.


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