Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne, 3rd day December 28, 2012

Edgy Mathews escapes Bird trap

Plays of the Day from the third day of the second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Melbourne

The dismissal
Halfway through the first over of the second innings, Sri Lanka contrived a dismissal that betrayed their disturbed mental state. Dimuth Karunaratne went back to punch Mitchell Johnson towards cover, and though he had found a gap, he had not timed the ball well enough to truly pierce the infield. Two men gave chase and reeled the ball in, but Karunaratne, intent on two, turned and began charging towards the striker's end even as the throw was already on its way. Mitchell Johnson had to move well away from the stumps to collect the throw but, even so, he had time to remove the bails with Karunaratne comfortably short.

The blow
Johnson had already embellished his reputation as a bowler who inflicts injuries on batsman on day one when he fractured Prasanna Jayawardene's thumb, and although Jayawardene's loss hurt Sri Lanka in the field, Johnson may have put Sri Lanka at an even greater disadvantage for remainder of the tour by taking out their best batsman on day three. Kumar Sangakkara moved his hands up to fend away a Johnson bouncer at an almost identical height to the one that caused Jayawardene's distress, and managed only to get his left index finger wedged in between the ball and the bat handle. As soon as he crossed for a single, Sangakkara called for treatment, and the swelling on his hand was dramatic enough to warrant his exiting the field. X-rays revealed a fracture to his left index finger, and he will be out of action for at least six weeks.

The drop
Jackson Bird had found Angelo Mathews' edge with frustrating regularity, but Mathews had avoided being caught behind, largely by picking gaps in the slip cordon and hitting the ball down, so it landed short. When an edge eventually carried though, Shane Watson at gully wasn't up to holding on, shelling the chance as he fell to his right. The reprieve did not kill the trend though, and Mathews continued to edge Bird towards the slips until he played Johnson onto his stumps at the other end.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

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