Australia in Sri Lanka Test Series, 1st Test: Day 2

Australia in Sri Lanka Test Series, 1st Test: Day 2

One day, sixteen wickets

 

Day 1 was a hard graft for the visiting Australians, as it was only Michael Hussey that stood between them and a disappointing first innings score. Unfortunate as he was to be out for 95, it gave the Sri Lankans a lot to do - erasing a first innings deficit of 273, then building a lead of their own, all on a pitch that was crumbling and deteriorating like a Michael Bay movie on Rottentomatoes.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Trent Copeland was given the honor of opening the bowling on his international debut. His first ball was thrashed to the fence by Tillekeratne Dilshan, who attempted to repeat the shot the second ball, but edged to Ricky Ponting at slip, who pulled off a sharp catch. Quick blood for Copeland and Australia, who removed one of the Sri Lankan dangermen before he could do much damage. Tharanga Paranavitana and Kumar Sangakkara were forced into a defensive mindset, scoring only 16 runs in the first 14 hours. Their strategy was complimented by the Australian pace attack, who sensed an opening and refused to relent.

 

Nathan Lyon was introduced into the attack on his debut and got an even bigger fish than Copeland did with his second ball, having Kumar Sangakkara caught off his (Lyon's) first ball. Sri Lanka in a spot of bother now at 24/2, but consecutive boundaries from Mahela Jaywardene kept things moving for the hosts. But then Jaywardene was needlessly run out to make it 44/3.

 

Things could've been much worse after the lunch break, when Mitchell Johnson had Paranavitana trapped in front. On review, though, it turned out that he had overstepped, reprieving the Sri Lankan opener, who had faced 85 balls for just 17*. As it was, he and Thilan Samaraweera provided some stability to the innings, taking Sri Lanka to a position of relative safety at 87/3. Then Shane Watson struck, trapping Samaraweera in front of the stumps for 26, and doing the same to Prasanna Jayawardene later in the over. Half the side gone for less than 100 now, and Watson ended Tharanga Paranativana's vigil in his next over, LBW for 29 off 115 balls. Suraj Randiv and Angelo Mathews dragged the score over 100, before Trent Lyon complemented his first-ball dismissal to claim a five-for on Test debut (including a fantastic caught and bowled) to bundle Sri Lanka out for a paltry 103.

 

Australia went into the second innings on a high, leading by 168 as early as Day 2, but they were in for a shock when their big gun Shane Watson fell to the first ball of the innings, caught at gully off Chanaka Welegedera. Australia already 0/1, which became 5/2 when Ricky Ponting was caught off Suranga Lakmal. Michael Clarke and Philip Hughes fought back, with Hughes taking Rangana Herath for 6 and 4, and Clarke bringing up the 50 partnership with a brace of boundaries off Tillekeratne Dilshan. Dilshan struck to remove Hughes for 28 (61/3), but Michael Clarke motored on to a solid half-century.

 

Michaels Clarke and Hussey took Australia over 100, the lead passing 250 in the process, but they both fell in consecutive deliveries to Rangana Herath. A stable 110/3 became a dangerous 110/5, and Herath removed Brad Haddin for a duck to end a difficult day's play for Australia at 115/6.

 

What a bizarrely frantic day of Test cricket. Sixteen wickets fell in one single day. 

 

All credit to Shane Watson, who reverse swung the ball with accuracy and precision to get all three of his wickets LBW, and Nathan Lyon, who has made the best statement an Australian spinner could've made for regular, if not permanent, inclusion in the team. Much as he was helped by Tillkeratne Dilshan's Sehwag-esque dismissal, the rest of the Sri Lankans didn't do much to help their cause, playing themselves into a hole and allowing Australia to walk all over them.

 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with having Australia at 115/6. There's everything wrong with being 103 all out in your own innings, and despite their good work in Australia's second innings, Sri Lanka are not likely to pull a victory from here.

 

Day 2: Australia 115/6 (Michael Clarke 60, Rangana Herath 12.5-0-51-3)

lead Sri Lanka 103 all out (Tharanga Paranavitana 29, Nathan Lyon 15-3-34-5)

by 268 runs with 4 wickets remaining