Cheat storm threatens early tour calm
Although the England camp have been keen to play things down there is no doubt the on-field argument surrounding a disputed catch during the opening match in Sri Lanka, and the very strong words about it from Graeme Swann, have caused an early tour stir.
There are few stronger things that a cricketer can say about a fellow player than to call them a "cheat" let alone using language like wanting "to kill the batsman".
England coach Andy Flower is an exceptionally calm individual who is always measured about what he says in public and although his comments about the need to respect the "opposition" were not made in direct response to Swann's "cheat" allegation, I think it's fair to assume that is probably what he was getting at.
He also made the comment that England players have to be very careful preaching about "walking" because it's not necessarily the case that they are all the first to leave the crease before an umpire's finger goes up.
I would be surprised if the incident has much impact on the forthcoming Test series, the player in question Dilruwan Perera has played international cricket for Sri Lanka in the last year but is unlikely to feature in their Test side.
But there has been some coverage of the row in the local media.
England continue their preparations for the Test series with a three-day match against a Sri Lanka Cricket Development XI in Colombo on Tuesday. Photo: Getty
The Island newspaper have run an interview with Perera under the banner "poms are whinging". Perera is quoted as saying "I wasn't sure of the catch and the umpires weren't sure of the catch as well. So I stood my ground. I can't understand why they are making an issue out of it".
He also brought up other incidents in the game where he said the Board XI were on the wrong end of decisions and says "these things happen in cricket and I think England are barking up the wrong tree".
But although there is unlikely to be any long-lasting effects from this rumpus it is true sometimes early tour incidents can set a tone.
On the 2001 tour here Darren Gough was reported for using abusive language in the opening fixture, then a race row erupted at a game in Matara when another player named Perera, this time Ruchira, was accused of using a slur towards Craig White before Gough again was seen wagging his finger at an umpire during a practice match in Kurunegala.
There followed a highly acrimonious Test series with controversial umpiring and an onfield row between Michael Atherton and Kumar Sangakarra with both players reprimanded by the match referee. The captains had to have a meeting before the final Test to try and calm down the situation.
It would be highly unfortunate if the incident at the Premadasa stadium on Saturday was any kind of precursor to any trouble ahead - but the intensity England showed in that match demonstrates how desperately they want to succeed out here and perhaps how difficult it can be to keep your cool when the thermostat reaches 34C plus.