Australia v Sri Lanka, Second Test – Day 4: Going through the motions!



What a lovely little village Manuka is.  Had enough of eating at the motel so I wandered around the streets and lanes of this tree lined surprise packet.  Plenty of eating places and I am sure that this is the gastronomic capitol of the capitol. Having breakfast outside under trees was quite pleasant.


The quietness is something that struck me as well, no hustle and bustle of say, Mildura in the morning.


A pleasant day but showers have been forecast. Will Sri Lanka hold on? With two days to go it is hard to see which has been reflected in the crowd size.  There are more television people and volunteers here than  there are spectators on this Sri Lankan National Day.


All the speculation over night has been about Khawaja, is he in or out for England. Many are saying his soft century of yesterday will not get him too many bonus points.  Then again, what have his main rivals done to enhance their prospects? Zilch!.


Starc starts the ball rolling when his speed beats Karunaratne (8) and seams a little to take his leg stump.  Starcers is back with a vengeance.  Sri Lanka 1/18.


Skipper Chandimal has had a disappointing tour and gets worse when Labuschagne takes a sharp catch at third slip of the bowling of Starc.  Out for 4 and Sri Lanka 2/28 and Starc has 2/14. Marnus continues to show us how good he is in the field, an outstanding catcher in every respect.


The game ripples along not like the Murray-Darling system which does not even do that.  The batsmen do not seem to be in any trouble since Starc departed the crease. 48 hours is a long time in cricket.  On Saturday Starc was just about out of the team for The Ashes.


Cummins brightens up the morning with a great caught and bowled to get rid of Thirimanne (30).  To be running in full pelt to bowl and then to steady yourself to run forward and take a catch a metre from the bat sensational. Outstanding athleticism.  Sri Lanka 3/58.


Tim Paine’s keeping continues to be outstanding and his taking of Nathan Lyon from sharp rising balls at the stumps is brilliant.


Starc continues on his merry way!  Dickwella (27) gets one that keeps a little low but it is too quick for the batsman. Sri Lanka 4/83.  Make that 5/83 as Perara (0) flashes first ball and Paine takes it. Starc now has 4/21.  What a great 24 hours he has had.


A big morning for the Australian team taking 5 wickets with very little opposition and the game is sure to conclude somewhere mid-afternoon.  As expected pre-tour Sri Lanka were not a very strong team.  What is going on behind the scenes in cricket politics in  that country is not helping their game. It certainly is showing on the field with their lack of endeavour and application.


At lunch Sri Lanka are 5/86 and a long way to go.  Mendis 13 and De Silva 1 are the not out batsmen.


It does not take long for the next wicket to fall as De Silva (6) lofts Richardson to Head for a neat catch. 6/97 and Richardson his first wicket of the match.  He has not bowled as well as he did in Brisbane which of course leads to the conversation is he or should he be the other fast bowler for England?


Mendis plays the shot of the day with a lovely straight drive off Richardson. With very little backlift  and follow through the ball speeds its way to the boundary.


The Lions are not giving up without a fight and although the task is nigh on impossible, they are getting behind the ball at every opportunity.  A bit more resilient than their neighbours from the north.


At last Labuschagne is given the chance to show his wares. A full toss to Karunaratne does not help his cause as the batsman puts it away for four. A dropped catch by Khawaja 2 balls later does not help either.


Mendis decides to take on Lyon and puts him away for a six and a four. Good rear guard action from the little fella.


Well captained Tim Paine! Labuschagne had the field out, Paine brings them all in and Mendis tries to put him over the top – out!  Mendis caught Patterson bowled Labuschagne for 42 and Sri Lanka now 7/143. 8 for 143 as Karunaratne (22) flashes at Cummins and the ball is taken by Paine.


Starc comes back into the attack and I can’t imagine why. Surely the leggie should have been given the chance to mop up the tail.


Hilarious over from Starkers to Rajiha. He has six slips and a keeper, every ball is outside the off stump, Rajihi pushes and every ball misses the bat.  It is left to Cummins to make the ball move slighty for Perera (4) to nick to Paine and Sri Lanka only have one wicket to fall 9/148.


Starc finishes the game by bowling Fernando (0) and has the match figures of 10/100. A great comeback. Cummins 3/15 and Australia win comprehensively by 366 runs.


So what have we learnt from this short series?  Firstly the bowling attack is strong as it has  been although a fifth bowler come batsman would be a real plus if Australia could find the right player. Labuschagne is interesting as he keeps taking a wicket or two but he needs more runs. The top order is brittle with the exception of Head and Patterson at 5 and 6.


Let us hear from all you armchair experts.


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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Thanks Citrus. I always look forward to your Test reports and I have enjoyed reading them all over the summer. It has been a most interesting summer for the Australian team and I’m certainly looking forward to the forthcoming Ashes series in the UK. The return of Smith and Warner undoubtably will be a bonus for the team, as to who else the selectors choose for the tour I await with bated breath.I have been most impressed by Tim Paine as a person and as the captain of the team. A worthy leader. Looking forward to your Ashes reports. Will you be there?

  2. Let’s not get too carried away. It wasn’t exactly a top Sri Lanka side. Never the less Khawaja and Starc should now have the asterisks rubbed out by their names.Paine didn’t get anywhere near as much diving practice (good). Cummins again magnificent and Lyon unlucky again. Khawaja wouldn’t make Australia’s got talent with his juggling act although it was an excellent attempt. Thankfully, there were not a single dreary moment in this test – I even enjoyed the banter between the players.

  3. PS It’s now off to bed for me and, hopefully, THE BIG PASH.

  4. John Butler says

    Citrus, well played throughout the summer.

    Re Mitch and Ussie, et al, you’d think we were swimming in talent from the number of blokes I’ve heard suggested that they should be dropped. I think this clamor says more about the various keyboard warriors than the players.

    We finish the summer with many unanswered questions, as we were always going to. The elephant in the room is how the reintroduction of Smith and Warner to the team goes. The even bigger elephant is how CA resolves the many contradictions it has locked itself into.


  5. Thanks for your coverage once more this summer, Citrus. With the upcoming schedule I’m not sure to what extent we’ll see the potential participants showing their long form wares before the Ashes. I am intrigued by the idea floated by Adam Collins and Geoff Lemon on the Final Word Podcast that Australia consider acknowledging the batting weakness by going all out in bowling and batting Paine, Pattinson and Cummins 6, 7 and 8. Genius or disastrous, I’m not sure.

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