Marvin Vaas survives day three

Sri Lanka v Australia First Test Day 3 by Marvin Vaas

We’re finally becoming accustomed to the vehicular madness that is the A2 Galle-Colombo road. The journey to the ground hasn’t been without its considerable scares though.

Across the road from the Galle market, hundreds gather on the beach wishing to purchase some fresh-off-the-boat Indian Ocean catch. The market is Friday-busy. Bananas and sunglasses are the go. The bloke who sells the fish heads however remains the most eternal of optimists.

Play is delayed on day three for a couple of hours due to tropical downpours the night before and follow-up annoying morning drizzle. Like clockwork, just after midday, the soothing breeze kicks in at the Galle Cricket Club (GCC) Pavilion. She comes in handy this little darling. This zephyr off the Indian Ocean is on the par with the waft experienced in the Ladies’ Stand at the SCG in January. Just beautiful.

There is still much to take in from yesterday’s frenetic action. Most notable is Sri Lanka losing 7/18 on the back of Watson’s intelligent and aggressive offerings and Nathan Lyon thankfully falling short of the debutant wicket yield procured by Jason Kreyza (remember him?). Apparently, Arthur Coningham took a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket in 1894/95. After he retired from the game, Coningham served time in jail for fraud and died in an asylum. Cricketers have often experienced difficulties in life.

Australia pushes on industrially in the first hour losing Johnson and Khawaja. Debate rages as to who is Johnson’s AFL equivalent. Some think Stephen Reynoldson. Others think Patrick Ryder. Maybe it’s the latter because of the cricketing surname. Johnson will need to bowl well here. I reckon his position in the side is precarious. He upsets the balance of the side.

I reckon Khawaja is a little susceptible to the swinging delivery. Aren’t we all? He’ll need to tighten his technique a fraction.

Harris finally makes a score not consisting wholly of binary digits and plays pretty well for his 23. The band starts with Eric Burdon again and follows up with Happy Birthday. The mood in the GCC pavilion promptly becomes more upbeat. We are away again.

Copeland looks a cricketer. He can handle the bat, sweeps like Ian Chappell and fields well. Will his bowling stand up though? Pace and variation are required to thrive bowling in Test cricket. He and Lyon ensure the pitch doesn’t improve an iota by sneakily traipsing all over it on a good length. The Sri Lankans cut up as rough as the crumbling surface.

The debutants gain batting confidence with every ball negotiated. They share in a breezy and very handy tenth wicket stand. The last wicket falls with Australia 377 runs to the good. Herath bowled well in very conducive conditions. The Australians should win from here. Nearly every ball now creates a considerable puff of dust. I’d love someone to measure the moisture content of the pitch. Where is that bloody Channel 9 Weatherwall when you need it? In fact, the overnight precipitation may have helped to settle the pitch a tad.

Given the number of first-ball dismissals and talking-point incidents in this Test, Sri Lanka’s quest for victory starts predictably. The obdurate Paranavitana returns to the dressing rooms for a golden duck. First ball of the innings again. How many times have both teams been 1/0 after one ball in their second innings in a Test?

Sangakkara approaches the fort and immediately is a micron from following his opener back to the sheds. The close LBW shout second ball of the innings is adjudged to have pitched just outside leg stump. So close.

First ball, Dilshan creates a déjà-vu-all-over-again moment by thrashing Copeland through the covers for four. The band ironically belts out It’s Now or Never as Clarke takes an eternity to decide whether or not to defer a close decision. Dilshan continues to ride his luck. He’s going at it like an Oakleigh Plater. Tempo Dilshan. Tempo.

Percy, who is 75 years of age going on 45, disapproves of Dilshan’s modus operandi and seeks the sanctity of the GCC Pavilion Bar. He returns to wave his flag only to see Dilshan bowled by Harris. The runs Harris made have served as a confidence boost.

The two middle-order Sri Lankan guns begin the process of righting the ship. Lyon plies his trade with a helpful breeze. However, he doesn’t find things as easy as in the first innings however. Johnson actually bowls some deliveries that force the batsman to use their willow. The home side go to tea two wickets down and still with oodles of work to do.

Things happen at tea. They usually do in this stand. Percy returns most refreshed. Members of the band neck a heap of whiskey and lapse into a number of hybrid Sri Lankan/Western tunes. The band leader, who is 68, confides to us that the secret to longevity is a big crane. I reckon his name should be Derrick. Alas it’s not. As he utters his sage advice, he uses gestures that only a vet would find suitable.

Watson hustles, bustles, bristles, sledges and finally gets one to explode off the wicket. Sangakkara did well to get his bat on a brute as he fends it to slip. Samaraweera surrenders meekly shouldering arms to Johnson. Jayawardene, who boasts a formidable record on this great ground, plays Lyon on a break and the others with aplomb to notch a very classy undefeated half-century. He’s a good bat this bloke. Balanced. Unfussed.

The Sri Lankans end the day five down and massively in arrears. Given good weather, Australia should wrap thing up around lunchtime on Day 4.

The tuk-tuk ride home is a classic. We are Molly the Monk. Our driver is mad. He continually attempts to emulate Mick Dittman’s ride on Gurner’s Lane in the 1982 Melbourne Cup. In a tuk-tuk match race, we should get done for excessive (double) use of the whip in the straight. Terry Bailey would probably issue us a fine.

We also note a number of tuk-tuks have Geelong scarves waving proudly in the breeze on the way home. It doesn’t bode well for those who want to watch the Collingwood v Geelong match on delay without knowing the result.

The Cats blitz in a game where Intikhab Malthouse orchestrates one of the great fixes of all time.

The funny thing  is that it seems he hasn’t told Eddie.


  1. terry the troll says

    Any sign of zzz germans today mr vaas?

  2. Molly the Monk ?!? Goodness, that’s an old euphermism i haven’t heard for many a long year

  3. MQWERTYUIOP Vaas apologises for the lack of polish in this article. He was really rushed and really refreshed. It was a busy day.

    Great to hear from you Terry. I’m still thinking about the Moreton Bay Rug.

  4. Stephen Reynoldson! that could only have been PK Flynn’s suggestion

  5. P Flynn – how many Geelong scarves did you take to Sri Lanka?

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