Third Test – Day 2: Australia does its best to keep SL in contest

Day 2: Australia 6/342, lead Sri Lanka by 48 runs

Australia did their best to ensure Sri Lanka remained in the contest, though did manage to post a healthy total on a pitch which may not be so easy to negotiate towards the end of the Test.

Ed Cowan and David Warner started brightly, with Warner sending balls to the cover boundary at will. Unfortunately, Ed Cowan managed to run himself out in inexplicable circumstances. He ambled, turned blind, the hesitated. The Channel 9 commentators pounced on this, siezing the opportunity to lay the boots into poor old Ed throughout the day. A casual observer could be excused for developing the impression that Cowan had committed some form of crime against Australian cricket. Perhaps Cowan’s self professed ‘thinking cricketer’ persona does not sit will with them. Thankfully, the Channel 9 cameras were soon focused on a makeshift beach orchestrated by a soft drink company, and a hundred or so people dressed as Richie Benaud. The coverage is always more enjoyable when they refrain from talking about cricket.

Warner was playing shots with ease. The impressive aspect of his play, is that he is managing to be much more circumspect in Test cricket. He doesn’t play too many full blooded strokes; rather, he caresses the ball with shades of butality. Phil Hughes has joined him at the wicket and I think to myself that these two will face more testing situations in the next year or so. The pitch is apparently flat, the Sri Lankans are missing most of their attack and the weather is great. The two realise the opportunity and play themselves in, while the scoreboard rollicks along.

I will confess that I enjoy watching Phil Hughes bat and I am glad that he is in the side. I have not properly watched him since his resurrection, and I am impressed with what I see. He is very still at the crease and well balanced. There is still a streaky edge to his play, though he can play some beautiful shots and appears comfortable. I enjoy a fierce pull shot that he hammers through mid wicket early in his innings, which I had not previously seen from the young son of a banana farmer.

Warner and Hughes both appear destined for big hundreds, though the opportunities are spurned. Warner tried to loft Dilshan over the sightscreen and succeeded in hitting a skied catch to mid off, while Hughes fell to Herath on 87. Clarke should have gone for a first ball duck, though Mahela Jayawardene appeared to revert to the backyard ruling that a “batsman shall not be dismissed after one delivery,” as he turned down a golden opportunity to appeal an LBW decision. Clarke’s feet immediately started moving, and he breezed through his early innings with a series of crisp strokes.

Hughes’s dismissal brought Michael Hussey to the crease, who was given a gaurd of honour by the Sri Lankans. The two players have dug Australia out of plenty of holes in recent memory. Unfortunately, this partnership did not prove as fruitful, with Clarke calling the fastest man in the world over 22 yards through for a risky single. Karunaratne threw down the stumps and Hussey was on his way back. Clarke then tried a slog-sweep, which is probably option number 24 in his kitbag of potential boundary scoring strokes. The effort proved that conventional cricket shots are exceedingly more fruitful and reliable, and Clarke was on his was for an even 50.

Matthew Wade played with some determination and remained unbeaten at stumps, though some very poor dismissals underscored the fragility of the batting line up. At 1 for 150 with Hughes and Warner scoring boundaries at will, Australia were set to bat Sri Lanka out of the game, however a raft of soft dismissals and a deteriorating pitch ensure that there is hope for some success for the tourists in this series.


  1. John Harms says

    It’s a real opportunity to see what Lyon has now, after gaining the experience of a summer’s worth of Tests. The SCG wicket is definitely going to assist him. I’m wondering how what they’re thinking over in the Old Dart when they watch N. Lyon. I say he is still developing. Richie Benaud must favour him. He put up a comparison with his own early-career figures which favours Lyon marginally.

    I enjoy watching Lyon bowl. He has the tricks but he is like a technically sound boxer with no big puncherooney. (My new word of 2013)

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