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

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

Sri Lanka's fortress falls again

 

Since making it to the World Cup finals back in April, things haven't gone easily for Sri Lanka. There was a controversial leadership shakeup, two legendary players retired, and the team lost both the Test and ODI series in England. Facing Australia (even a young, transitional Australia) is never easy, and the home advantage proved fleeting for the Sri Lankans, as they lost the ODI series and the first Test to the visiting Aussies. Much was needed for Sri Lanka to prevent yet another series slipping away.

 

 

 

 

Things went right with the toss, Tillekeratne Dilshan making the right call and choosing to bat. But with only one run on the board, Tharanga Paranavitana loosely feathered an edge to Brad Haddin off Ryan Harris without scoring. 1/1 became 10/1 as Dilshan shouldered arms to Trent Copeland and was bowled for just 4. Mahela Jayawardene scored a magnificent century in defeat in the last Test, but became Copeland's second victim for just 4. Sri Lanka in dire straits at 14/3.

 

As he has done so many times in the past, Kumar Sangakkara played the anchor role, pulling Sri Lanka forward and hitting two boundaries to take the total over 50. Thilan Samaraweera kept him company, but his 17 was nothing more than a short cameo, ended by a brilliant delivery from Ryan Harris. 57/4, and Prasanna Jayawardene briefly raised the chance of a fightback. He attacked Nathan Lyon in Lyon's first over, taking him for 6, 2 and 4, before throwing it away for an ill-advised slog sweep. Sri Lanka stumbled into lunch with half their side gone for just 76.

 

Sangakkara and Mathews crafted a partnership after the interval, gradually growing in confidence and taking Sri Lanka past 100. Michael Clarke felt comfortable enough to bring Mike Hussey into the attack, and the surprise move reaped a huge, and immediate reward, when Hussey had Sangakkara tamely caught for an important 48. The big gun finally gone with Sri Lanka 128/6, the door was open for Australia to push through. Suraj Randiv didn't last long, and only Angelo Mathews continuing to prove his caliber kept things interesting for the home team.

 

Seekkuge Prasanna fell in the last over for tea, and Sri Lanka only had two batsmen left by the final session of Day 1. Mathews brought up his 50 with his third 6, but was caught behind off Mitchell Johnson for the innings' highest score, 58. 166/9, and Johnson had the honor of taking the final wicket to bowl Sri Lanka out for a measly 174.

 

Shane Watson got Australia's first innings off to a good start with a brace of boundaries in the second over, and by the third over, Australia were already 20/0. Phil Hughes was content to play second fiddle to Watson, who found the ropes with ease. The 50 stand for the first wicket came as early as the 13th over, and it was only deteriorating light which ended Australia's day at 60/0.

 

Another weak-as-water batting performance from Sri Lanka, on a day when a specialist batsman could take a big wicket and end a threatening partnership. Michael Hussey may never bowl in an international game ever again, and these figures of 1-1-0-1 will be his proudest.

 

It's going to be another long game for the Sri Lankans. If there's any consolation, their fellow World Cup finalists India know exactly how they feel.

 

Day 1: Sri Lanka 174 all out (Angelo Mathews 58, Ryan Harris 16-7-38-3) 

lead Australia 60/0 (Shane Watson 36*, Seekkuge Prasanna 6.4-1-18-0)

by 114 runs