Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 3rd day December 16, 2012

Australia add a touch of Silk

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the third day of the Hobart Test

The substitute

In a week in which England unveiled a batsman whose name was every sub-editor's dream, Australia provided a pun-susceptible player of their own as a substitute fielder for Ben Hilfenhaus. Jordan Silk's sleek running on the square fence saved Australia runs on several occasions, and though Matthew Wade's hard hands had given Nuwan Kulasekara a reprieve on three, Silk's fielding was cut from a different cloth when he settled under a skied sweep at deep square leg, and accepted the catch with luxuriant, soft palms. No word yet on whether he is in possession of a flowing cover drive, or if he is a batsman who often retreats into a cocoon.

The shot

Australia have been the victims of ferocious Angelo Mathews pull shots in the past, but they conspired to fashion a downfall out of that strength when they put two catching men in front of square on the leg side and plied Mathews with short bowling. Not one to slink away from a challenge, Mathews regularly took the field on, but his best pull came off Shane Watson's seventh over. Watson delivered a waist-high short ball outside off stump and Mathews stepped back and bludgeoned it hard, low and in front of square to the fence.

The statement

Tillakaratne Dilshan did not take long to reveal Sri Lanka's plans for Nathan Lyon when he stepped out of his crease to scorch the offspinner straight of mid-off, and three balls later, Mathews continued the aggression, hitting Lyon aerially down the ground this time. Michael Clarke was already hamstrung by an injury to Ben Hilfenhaus, and when Lyon disappeared to the fence again in his second over, Clarke had little choice but to bring himself into the attack. But he too was quickly pummeled out of it. 

The chance

Mathews and Dilshan had several close brushes in their running, but none so worrisome as the indecision that led to David Warner's shy at the stumps in the 70th over. Dilshan hit the ball square towards Warner, who was at a deepish point, and though the pair had scampered several singles to that fielder throughout the day, this one was hit straight to him. Almost out of habit Dilshan called Mathews through, but just as his partner took off, Dilshan had a change of heart. Warner had already collected the ball when Mathews turned back, and though the batsman dived, he would have been at least a foot out of his crease had Warner's throw hit the almost-three stumps visible to him.

The covert edge

Dilshan was the recipient of some good fortune in the afternoon session, when he edged Peter Siddle to the keeper on 125, but the nick was missed by almost everybody. Siddle got one to leap up from a back of a length, and believed he had merely beaten the outside edge, even when Matthew Wade yelped out a half-hearted appeal. With no support from any of his teammates, umpire Tony Hill made little of Wade's cry, but replays showed the wicketkeeper had been right to go up, as hotspot suggested a faint nick.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent