Australia in Sri Lanka Test Series, 2nd Test: Day 3

Australia in Sri Lanka Test Series, 2nd Test: Day 3

A satisfied Marsh

 

Shaun Marsh went to bed a happy man, having scored an unbeaten 87* on Test debut, and playing a big role in his team sealing their dominance over a misfiring Sri Lanka. With Australia leading by 90 runs with still 7 wickets left, Day 3 was set to be another long slog for the new-look Sri Lankan bowling attack, which was, yet again, let down by its batsman. Even though Australia's top order stuttered, Marsh and Michael Hussey had no trouble guiding the visitors to a position of dominance only two days into the game.

 

 

 

 

Marsh continued here he left off, hitting the first ball of the day for a boundary to move into the 90s. Hussey joined him shortly afterwards, and both Australians reached their Test centuries in the same over - Hussey's 14th ton and Marsh's first, proudly watched by his dad and former Australian batsman Geoff. With Hussey's century, Australia also moved past 300, with the partnership itself worth more than Sri Lanka's first innings total of 174.

 

Marsh was content to enjoy his century, but Hussey  was more aggressive, bringing up the 200 stand with a series of boundaries off everything the Sri Lankans threw at him. The two broke the record for highest partnership for Australians in Sri Lanka, and it took the part-time spin of Thilan Samaraweera to finally break the stand. He had Hussey caught for a indomitable 142, after Hussey and Marsh had put on a massive 258 together. Australia 374/4, with four more runs added to the total before the lunch break.

 

Marsh continued well after the resumption, moving past his father's highest Test score. But that was as good as it got for the debutante, falling to Suranga Lakmal for a brilliant 141 in his first Test at bat. Australia 391/5, Sri Lanka exercising some modicum of damage control. It (finally) got better for the hosts in the next over, as Suraj Randiv continued Brad Haddin's struggle for form, having him caught for 1, and then bowled Mitchell Johnson the very next ball for a duck. Randiv on a hat-trick, but it was not to be. Still, some measure of revenge for Sri Lanka, as they clawed back from 374/3 to halt Australia's progress at 392/7.

 

Ryan Harris and Usman Khwaja fought back to carry Australia over 400, but rain and bad light halted play shortly after. With no resumption in sight, stumps were called with Australia at 411/7, leading by 237 with 3 wickets left.

 

Sri Lanka have had two good passages of play in this game - when they took 3/56 at the top of the Australian innings, and when they took 4/18 later on. Note that neither of those two good passages of play came from Sri Lanka's batting. Note also that there was an absolute mountain of runs between those  two passages, meaning that Sri Lanka will have a long, hard graft for them whenever it is their turn to bat again.

 

Three cheers for Shaun Marsh, who greatly impressed on Test debut. Sure, he was facing a depleted and deflated bowling attack, but it says a lot when your first Test ton is a biggie, and came in foreign conditions. It bodes well for an Australia still searching for their next set of heroes.

 

I wonder how Sri Lanka felt when the newbie made 81% of their first innings total.

 

Day 3: Australia 411/7 (Michael Hussey 142, Suraj Randiv 43-7-103-3

lead Sri Lanka 174 all out

by 90 runs with 7 wickets remaining