Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 2nd day

Hussey, bowlers keep Australia in control

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

December 15, 2012

Comments: 110 | Text size: A | A

Sri Lanka 4 for 87 (Dilshan 50*) trail Australia 5 for 450 dec (Hussey 115*, Hughes 87, Clarke 74, Wade 68*, Warner 57, Welegedara 3-130) by 363 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Michael Hussey works one through the off side, Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 2nd day, December 15, 2012
Michael Hussey made an unbeaten 115 © Getty Images
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On a rainy day in Hobart, Australia tightened their grip on the first Test considerably thanks to Michael Hussey's third century of the summer, a bold declaration from Michael Clarke, and a quartet of top-order wickets, including Sri Lanka's two best batsmen. When stumps was called at 6.40pm, the day lengthened considerably to make up time lost to wet weather earlier, the Sri Lankans were 4 for 87, still trailing by 363, and they were relying heavily on Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was on 50.

Dilshan had looked solid, striking eight boundaries, and was especially strong when crunching the ball through point. Mitchell Starc had not provided the level of control Clarke wanted from his new-ball bowler, leaking a few too many runs, but the rest of the attack was tight and drew mistakes from the Sri Lankans, most importantly from Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, neither of whom had any real impact.

Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle, both of whom missed Australia's previous Test against South Africa in Perth, struck early blows, finding handy seam movement on the Bellerive Oval pitch. Hilfenhaus, whose weapon is typically swing, seamed a delivery across the left-hander Dimuth Karunaratne, whose thick edge was taken at shoulder height by Matthew Wade as the pitch showed some of the inconsistent bounce it had displayed on the first day.

The bigger blow came when Siddle enticed a drive from Sangakkara, who was on 4, and the thick edge was snapped up by Hussey at gully. That left Sri Lanka at 2 for 42 in response to Australia's 450, and things got worse for the visitors when Shane Watson nipped a ball back in to Jayawardene, who was adjudged lbw for 12. After a few glances back at the stumps to see how far forward he was, Jayawardene asked for a review, but replays did not save him.

If that wasn't trouble enough for Sri Lanka, the loss of Thilan Samaraweera for 7 at the end of the day's play was another major concern. Samaraweera cut hard at Nathan Lyon and the extra bounce surprised the batsman, whose edge was taken on the second grab by Wade, and stumps was promptly called. Wickets had punctuated the Sri Lankan innings far too frequently for their liking, and they closed the day still 164 runs away from avoiding the follow-on.

Smart stats

  • Michael Hussey scored his fifth century in six Tests against Sri Lanka. Among Australian batsmen who have 500-plus runs against Sri Lanka, Hussey averages the highest (125.28).
  • Only Sachin Tendulkar is ahead of Hussey on the list of batsmen with the most centuries against Sri Lanka. Hussey's average is by far the highest among all batsmen with four or more centuries against Sri Lanka.
  • The 146-run stand between Hussey and Matthew Wade is the third-highest sixth-wicket stand for Australia against Sri Lanka.
  • This is the first time against Sri Lanka and the seventh time overall that Australia have had century stands for the fifth and sixth wickets.
  • For the fifth time, Australia managed five fifty-plus scores in the top order (1-7). The previous occasion also came in Hobart in 2007-08.

Captains can be reluctant to enforce the follow-on if their bowlers have had a heavy workload, but if Clarke's men are able to knock over the Sri Lankans cheaply on the third day, he will be seriously tempted to send them in again, given the possibility of further showers over the course of the match. Wet weather had delayed the start of the day's play by 50 minutes and also caused a lengthy postponement straight after lunch, and the delays might have encouraged Clarke to call an early end to Australia's innings.

The brisk rate at which Hussey and Matthew Wade scored after lunch helped make the decision a little easier though, and Clarke called the batsmen in at 5 for 450 with about half an hour left until tea. The Hussey-Wade partnership reached 146 by the end of the innings and the boundaries had started to flow in the later stages as Sri Lanka struggled to find any way into the lower order.

Hussey was even willing to go for his strokes as his century approached and it nearly cost him, for on 96 he pulled Shaminda Eranga and should have been caught at deep midwicket, only to breathe a sigh of relief when the ball spilled out of the hands of Angelo Mathews and bounced over the boundary.

That brought up Hussey's century from his 171st delivery and it was his fourth Test hundred in 2012, the most he has ever managed in a calendar year. Generally his pulling was crisp and effective and after he reached his milestone, another pull off Eranga whistled off the bat and over the fence for his only six. He ended up unbeaten on 115 and had strong support from Wade, who finished on 68.

Wade's half-century came from his 119th delivery with a quick single and he was strong through the off side, a couple of cover-drives for four among his highlights. In his first Test innings on the ground on which he grew up playing his club cricket, Wade was cautious before lunch as the Australians aimed to consolidate following the early loss of Clarke, who was taken at first slip for 74 when Eranga nipped a ball away off the seam.

That breakthrough came in the third over of the day but the Sri Lankans didn't manage to put together the string of wickets they really needed, although they had a chance to get rid of Wade on 20 when he pulled Chanaka Welegedara and the ball whizzed through the fingers of the substitute fielder Suraj Randiv at midwicket. The ball was flying but Randiv, typically a very reliable fielder, had a genuine chance to make the catch stick, but instead it raced away and became Wade's first boundary.

It was the kind of chance the Sri Lankans could not afford to miss, given how few opportunities were created. By the close of play, it was up to Dilshan and the lower middle-order batsmen to ensure Australia weren't given too many chances either.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Solace1 on (December 16, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

@Sinhaya: What r u talking about? we dont need that side of angelo, we need his aggressive side to chase the big target that will be set up by australians!!

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 16, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

@Sinhaya-2, nice to see a response brother. But we made too many mistakes with the bat. Kulasekara should have stayed on. First 4 wickets falling all due to errors was pathetic. Well Angelo showed that he has the ability to wait long and that is a good sign for the 2nd innings of ours.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 16, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

@sachin_vvsfan, thanks a lot for your comments on Samaraweera. But I would say that until Samaraweera scored 2 tons in the South Africa tour last year, his overseas record was not upto the mark. Since that SA tour, Samaraweera is yet to make an impact. Hope he does it on this tour or if not, his career will be on the line. Laxman was always great against the Aussies more than any other side.

Also, mate you are right in asking SL India fans to stop bashing but what can I do when Narbavi like people never stop?

Posted by amilag on (December 16, 2012, 1:24 GMT)

Come on SL. You cannot write off SL very easily.Good fight from Dilshan and Mathews. If rain does not continue to interfere, we can see a good game of cricket.

Posted by Htc-Android on (December 16, 2012, 1:19 GMT)

@Narbavi. Clarke already realised that ur team is weaker than Bangladesh after winning the series 4-0.

Posted by TYJAY on (December 15, 2012, 23:56 GMT)

I hope Jayawardena will retire from test cricket soon. Like Ricky his time is up!! Pathetic batting in Hobart!

Posted by kc69 on (December 15, 2012, 23:27 GMT)

Wll done matey,i believe aussies are gonna retain their killer instinct against a weak lankan team after the drubbing they recieved against SA

Posted by   on (December 15, 2012, 22:23 GMT)

I hope yet another solid innings from Wade has the power to silence Brad Haddin and his extremely pushy publicist(s)..

Posted by CUSE on (December 15, 2012, 22:11 GMT)

@ Narbavi If INDIA was the opponent, Clarke would declare at 350/0 at 51.2 overs (run rate - 6.82 ) with Warner 203* and Cowan 134* (extras - 13), and so-called ASHWIN (18.2 - 0 - 154 - 0). hahahahahahaha !!!! LOL !!!!

POOR INDIAINS !!!!, Can not win at HOME or AWAY, Cannot at least draw a test at HOME or AWAY, which occasionally achieved by Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Cricinfo, if you have enough guts, please publish.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 15, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

Hussey could be the poster boy for Berger Paints, he just keeps on doing what he does.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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