Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 4th day December 17, 2012

Long way ahead for limping Australia

Australia's performance against Sri Lanka in Hobart so far suggests they are far from being close to the best cricket outfit in the world
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Amid the management-speak excesses of Pat Howard's verdict on the South Africa series, Australia's team performance manager offered the following succinct line: "To be the best you've got to be well and truly the best, and we've got a long way to go." Limping like Michael Clarke was on day four, that journey seems even longer.

Whether or not Australia will get much closer to becoming "well and truly the best" during this series against Sri Lanka is questionable. Irrespective of the opposition, their progress in Hobart so far has been at a cost that has reinforced the precarious state of the national team so close to a pair of major assignments against India and England.

To lose another fast bowler in Ben Hilfenhaus was unfortunate if not entirely unexpected, given that the Tasmanian's side ailment makes him the seventh pace bowler somewhere near the national team to fall prey to injury. The sight of Clarke stepping gingerly between overs to assume a stationary position at first slip was altogether more concerning, for while Australia does have a rich supply of fast bowlers, the list of men behind the captain capable of leading the national team is even less numerous than the poorly attendances at Bellerive Oval this week.

Clarke's mere presence on the field, rather than seeking treatment in the rooms for a hamstring problem, spoke volumes about the lack of ready replacements for his tactical flair and ideas when Australia are attempting to bowl an opposing team out in the fourth innings. It did not reflect a great deal of confidence in Clarke's deputy Shane Watson, who has led his country in ODIs before and now looks a chance of assuming the Test captaincy should Clarke fail to recover in time for the Boxing Day Test.

Watson's value as a bowling option was to be confirmed when he struck the first blow of Sri Lanka's chase, coaxing an outside edge from Tillakaratne Dilshan with a ball that bounced and seamed away a fraction on an immaculate line. But like Dilshan, Watson's skills appear best suited to being used without the burden of captaincy, something that he wrestled with at times during his time deputising for Clarke in ODIs in Australia and the West Indies earlier this year.

Another issue of considerable worry for Australia on day four was the team's play against the spin of Rangana Herath. As the world's most prolific wicket-taker in 2012, Herath poses problems at least the equal to those that will be presented by India's bevy of slow bowlers in early 2013 and Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar later. But the failure of Watson, in particular, to deal with his flight, spin and variations in pace suggested that the scheduling crossover, which will have most of Australia's ODI exponents unavailable for the opening match of the Test tour to the subcontinent in February, will be ill-timed for some.

"It's inevitable, with our scheduling at the moment that type of stuff is inevitable," Australia's coach Mickey Arthur said. "For us to give best possible preparation to the Test squad we've got to get as many of them into India as soon as we can, so they can prepare properly for what's going to be a tough four Test matches. We'll split our staff, I'll definitely see the one-dayers out, I suspect if Michael Clarke's fit he'll do the same, because we've got that responsibility to the Australian public and to the sponsors, but we wouldn't be preparing ourselves properly for the four Tests if we didn't give ourselves maximum opportunity to go out to India earlier and prepare."

Watson batted at No. 6 for Australia on the tetchy 2008 tour of India, and played the odd decent innings against the old ball. In 2010, he played his longest and most patient Test knock against MS Dhoni's team at the outset of the Mohali match that would end in such heart-rending fashion for a team then led by Ricky Ponting. However the surfeit of ODI and Twenty20 matches played by Watson since, and his continuing shuffle around the batting order, do not appear to have helped his progress against the spinning ball. He was bottled up by Herath and unable to work the ball around, a fretful five also featuring a pair of beseeching LBW appeals before ending with a stumping as ball spun past a groping bat.

Herath's wiles will be useful ahead of India, most notably on the SCG where this summer the pitch has shown a return to its slower, spinning ways of yore rather than the slightly faster and often seaming surface of recent seasons. "He's a quality performer and he's shown it this year, he's got a phenomenal record this year, so hopefully that goes some way [towards] giving us a little snippet of playing [Pragyan] Ojha or [Ravindra] Jadeja, whoever it is, in India," Arthur said. "And Herath is a really good bowler, so looking forward to that confrontation through the summer."

How Australia fares on the final day in Hobart will be intriguing in itself of course, as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara dig in for battle amid the increasingly variable bounce offered by the surface. The hosts' chances of getting closer to the high mark set by Howard, Arthur and the limping Clarke will be best measured on their travels, and they stand little chance of enjoying success if they suffer the sorts of injuries and hiccups against spin witnessed here.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 18, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    I think Staarc bowled as he is capable of bowling and that was more than enough for australia . I think there is too much doom and gloom amidst aussie ranks. India does not have a decent spinner and that was evident against England. I expect Warner to do well. He has played so much cricket here that I am sure the conditions will be a lot easier for him than for Cowan. I expect Clarke and Hussey to score heavily . If the australian pace bowlers bowl well they can be a handful for the indian team that is currently at a low. As for the ashies, I think australia and australian supporters should take one series at a time and hope that their bowlers are fit. If Cummins and Pattinson are fit, then the series could be fun . Cheer up australia, you finally won a test match this summer. Ramanujam Sridhar

  • Meety on December 18, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    @Jono Makim - I don't think Warner is that good (atm) in Test conditions against a spinner. His only Test ton against a recognised spinner was at AO v Tahir & we know how unforgetable he was that day! I think Warner goes too hard at the ball against spinners. That is okay in Oz, but I think he could be a bunny in India. I picked Smith as I believe he is very good against spin, a good fielder & gives a variety option in spin bowling. @Rahul_Ashok on (December 17 2012, 12:50 PM GMT) - man this is about the 4th time you've misunderstood what I said about Ussie. I am backing Ussie for the tour of India, with Hughes & Watto opening. I am happy with the "4 openers" policy Oz have atm. Ussie will get his chance - he has put a good case fwd & his time is soon.

  • Meety on December 18, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    @Beertjie on (December 17 2012, 22:24 PM GMT) - yeah true though I think Rogers is past his use by date - just. I am not sure he would be all that effective in Indian conditions. He'd be a good fill-in for the Ashes should Cowan tank. I am not sure that Patto is the type of bowler that will succeed in India - I could be spectacularly wrong though! (Probably am)! @Wajira de Abrew - I am assuming you are fairly new to following cricket or taking a joke. The fact is a good pitch should start to deteriorate late in a match (Day 4 onwards). When a pitch is POOR - it has variable bounce on Day 1. Given Oz rattled up 299 runs on Day 1. The reality is, this is an excellent pitch, whereby pace & spin bowling is rewarded if bowled well. Good batting gets rewarded to (Dilshan, Clarke & Hussey). FOURTH innings are not meant to be easy!

  • Thushaa on December 18, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Well written article , but re-stating the facts that the viewers already know. Other than that can we know about the ball-tampering issue that has been reported. I know the match referee can only put any fines after the match, and those things will be confirmed after the match. But only Andrew fernando has raised this obvious issue and no coverage by the other OZ commentators.This has to be closely monitored as the media coverage can only pinpoint these issues, only if its made aware.Otherwise all can be swept under the carpet.

    Its good that if Daniel can put forward his thoughts on this. Cheers mate.

  • Cool_Jeeves on December 18, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    Jakespin, why bring in Broad, Bresnan and Onions? At least in the case of Broad and Bresnan, I wonder if even the bowlers themselves would agree with your rosy assessment. But Anderson and Finn, yes, they are oozing class.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 17, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    Still struggling to win a single game at home, huh? What an embarrassment.

  • othello22 on December 17, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    Oh come on, this article is mostly rubbish, Daniel. Rangana Herath is the leading test wicket taker for 2012 and is a far superior operator to anything India is currently fielding so it would be nice if you guys in the media could afford him, and Sri Lanka, some respect. Besides, just because he took a couple of wickets against us while we were swinging the bat around like hammer throwers trying to get to a declaration total does not mean that the Aussies are going to start having nightmares about Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ohja. Australia are being challenged by a good team, so what? They are still in a dominant position as they have been for much of the summer, you make it sound as though they are on the verge of a resounding defeat. It never ceases to amaze me how negative and cynical the cricketing media gets whenever the subject of Australia is being discussed.

  • Beertjie on December 17, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    Spot on @Marcio - enough of the negativity, Dan! @Meety on (December 17 2012, 09:52 AM GMT), you make a fair point when you write that "we can't aford to be tinkering with the line up prior to the Ashes." Now instead of Smith at #6 why not pick Rogers instead of Cowan (at least for 2013)? Watson's bowling is going to be needed so he could be #4 or 6. Pattinson is likely to be fit for India so he should go, but like all the bowlers, he needs to be rotated judiciously. Reverse swingers like Harris and Pattinson should play alternate tests alongside Siddle, with a leftie like Starc a good back up. @mikey76 on (December 17 2012, 16:59 PM GMT), the two currently injured stars of the 20013 Indian tour are expected to be available: Harris and Pattinson. If they are fit they'll make Anderson and Finn look like the over-hyped Poms they are.

  • MinusZero on December 17, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    I dont think Watson should be VC/Captain. He barely deserves selection. What about Butterworth, Cutting or Henriques? They are all outperforming Watson

  • Shaggy076 on December 17, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    Jontycodes - He should have had Sangakkara already out on a defensive shot. Yes its harder to get wickets when players are hell bent on defence but least Australia are continuosly getting themselves into positions where they are the only team that can win. Everyone else, I've seen variable bounce on every pitch in the world lated day 4 and day 5 - not much difference here. Pitches need to break up to test batsmans skills otherwise every match will be a draw. I guess Sri Lankans and Indians arent used to playing a day 5 in Australia and is completely unaware that this does happen.

  • on December 18, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    I think Staarc bowled as he is capable of bowling and that was more than enough for australia . I think there is too much doom and gloom amidst aussie ranks. India does not have a decent spinner and that was evident against England. I expect Warner to do well. He has played so much cricket here that I am sure the conditions will be a lot easier for him than for Cowan. I expect Clarke and Hussey to score heavily . If the australian pace bowlers bowl well they can be a handful for the indian team that is currently at a low. As for the ashies, I think australia and australian supporters should take one series at a time and hope that their bowlers are fit. If Cummins and Pattinson are fit, then the series could be fun . Cheer up australia, you finally won a test match this summer. Ramanujam Sridhar

  • Meety on December 18, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    @Jono Makim - I don't think Warner is that good (atm) in Test conditions against a spinner. His only Test ton against a recognised spinner was at AO v Tahir & we know how unforgetable he was that day! I think Warner goes too hard at the ball against spinners. That is okay in Oz, but I think he could be a bunny in India. I picked Smith as I believe he is very good against spin, a good fielder & gives a variety option in spin bowling. @Rahul_Ashok on (December 17 2012, 12:50 PM GMT) - man this is about the 4th time you've misunderstood what I said about Ussie. I am backing Ussie for the tour of India, with Hughes & Watto opening. I am happy with the "4 openers" policy Oz have atm. Ussie will get his chance - he has put a good case fwd & his time is soon.

  • Meety on December 18, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    @Beertjie on (December 17 2012, 22:24 PM GMT) - yeah true though I think Rogers is past his use by date - just. I am not sure he would be all that effective in Indian conditions. He'd be a good fill-in for the Ashes should Cowan tank. I am not sure that Patto is the type of bowler that will succeed in India - I could be spectacularly wrong though! (Probably am)! @Wajira de Abrew - I am assuming you are fairly new to following cricket or taking a joke. The fact is a good pitch should start to deteriorate late in a match (Day 4 onwards). When a pitch is POOR - it has variable bounce on Day 1. Given Oz rattled up 299 runs on Day 1. The reality is, this is an excellent pitch, whereby pace & spin bowling is rewarded if bowled well. Good batting gets rewarded to (Dilshan, Clarke & Hussey). FOURTH innings are not meant to be easy!

  • Thushaa on December 18, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Well written article , but re-stating the facts that the viewers already know. Other than that can we know about the ball-tampering issue that has been reported. I know the match referee can only put any fines after the match, and those things will be confirmed after the match. But only Andrew fernando has raised this obvious issue and no coverage by the other OZ commentators.This has to be closely monitored as the media coverage can only pinpoint these issues, only if its made aware.Otherwise all can be swept under the carpet.

    Its good that if Daniel can put forward his thoughts on this. Cheers mate.

  • Cool_Jeeves on December 18, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    Jakespin, why bring in Broad, Bresnan and Onions? At least in the case of Broad and Bresnan, I wonder if even the bowlers themselves would agree with your rosy assessment. But Anderson and Finn, yes, they are oozing class.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 17, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    Still struggling to win a single game at home, huh? What an embarrassment.

  • othello22 on December 17, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    Oh come on, this article is mostly rubbish, Daniel. Rangana Herath is the leading test wicket taker for 2012 and is a far superior operator to anything India is currently fielding so it would be nice if you guys in the media could afford him, and Sri Lanka, some respect. Besides, just because he took a couple of wickets against us while we were swinging the bat around like hammer throwers trying to get to a declaration total does not mean that the Aussies are going to start having nightmares about Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ohja. Australia are being challenged by a good team, so what? They are still in a dominant position as they have been for much of the summer, you make it sound as though they are on the verge of a resounding defeat. It never ceases to amaze me how negative and cynical the cricketing media gets whenever the subject of Australia is being discussed.

  • Beertjie on December 17, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    Spot on @Marcio - enough of the negativity, Dan! @Meety on (December 17 2012, 09:52 AM GMT), you make a fair point when you write that "we can't aford to be tinkering with the line up prior to the Ashes." Now instead of Smith at #6 why not pick Rogers instead of Cowan (at least for 2013)? Watson's bowling is going to be needed so he could be #4 or 6. Pattinson is likely to be fit for India so he should go, but like all the bowlers, he needs to be rotated judiciously. Reverse swingers like Harris and Pattinson should play alternate tests alongside Siddle, with a leftie like Starc a good back up. @mikey76 on (December 17 2012, 16:59 PM GMT), the two currently injured stars of the 20013 Indian tour are expected to be available: Harris and Pattinson. If they are fit they'll make Anderson and Finn look like the over-hyped Poms they are.

  • MinusZero on December 17, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    I dont think Watson should be VC/Captain. He barely deserves selection. What about Butterworth, Cutting or Henriques? They are all outperforming Watson

  • Shaggy076 on December 17, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    Jontycodes - He should have had Sangakkara already out on a defensive shot. Yes its harder to get wickets when players are hell bent on defence but least Australia are continuosly getting themselves into positions where they are the only team that can win. Everyone else, I've seen variable bounce on every pitch in the world lated day 4 and day 5 - not much difference here. Pitches need to break up to test batsmans skills otherwise every match will be a draw. I guess Sri Lankans and Indians arent used to playing a day 5 in Australia and is completely unaware that this does happen.

  • hadld88 on December 17, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    Australia will do well to beat India in India, it will prob end 1-0 either way as I dont see either team capable to take 20 wickets on more than one occasion. Hearth is a much better than any spinner India has at the moment but I dont see Australia getting 20 wickets with the likes of Siddle or Lyon who, lets face it are hardly in the same class as Anderson or Swann.

  • Test-is-the-best on December 17, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    @ Peterincanada , I agree with you. More overs from Lyon can be expected on the fifth day. However we cannot rule out Watson, Siddle & Starc as all these guys bowled consistantly. So its a matter how Sri Lankan top & middle order handle the pressure as the wicket deteriorates.

  • Mitcher on December 17, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @Snick_To_Backward_Point: Comgrats on your team's recent effort to win its second series out of 5 this year. That dynasty didn't really eventuate after becoming number 1 did it?

  • Chris_P on December 17, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    Herath showed how valuable he for Sri Lanka, & rightly so. Dilshan, while a great attacking batsman has a technique that will see him suffer against moving balls & it showed. The pitch has variable bounce, as most pitches should have come day 4 & 5. We prrobably batted for at least 30 mintutes too long, but, unlike Adelaide, we have Watson as our 4th bowler.

  • Jakespin on December 17, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    'Aus has better pace bowlers compared to England' - hmm, it was a pretty toothless attack despite its hype prior to England hammering them in the one day games over the summer. I fancy that they will fall flat in the Ashes again - certainly no match for the swing and nous of Anderson, Finn, Broad, Bresnan and Onions, let alone the youngsters coming through the ranks. Good to see that that traditional Aussie gung-ho bullishness is alive and well, but I'd start getting the excuses ready - let me guess, South Africans, not fair that the substitute fielder could catch, but he hit it despite what all the technology says, Moon out of alignment with Venus....

  • on December 17, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    y ppl r so tensed in aus dressing room regarding tour to india?the aus has better pace bowlers compared to england and aus r generally regarded as better player of spin too,in short they will have it very easy in india

  • mikey76 on December 17, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    Losing these wickets to Herath on a seam friendly surface doesn't bode well for Australia in regards to the tour of India. They will face two canny operators in Ojha and Jadeja. It's also hard to see where Australia will get their wickets. England took 39 wickets with spin thanks to the excellent Swann and Panesar. Australia have a workmanlike spinner in Lyon and who else? A left armer surely to complement Lyon. Doherty? Beer? Both very ordinary. Then you factor in Anderson's consumate skill with both new and old ball and you look at Australia. Siddle will huff and puff but doesn't have subtle skills, Starc is raw and Hilfenhaus, if fit will struggle on those wickets. I think the Aussies might just struggle against a wounded but proud India.

  • Peterincanada on December 17, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    @test-is-the-best Right on but whether Oz wins depends on Lyon. He must be prepared to bowl a lot of overs, holding up one end and taking wickets while the remaining three alternate in short spells at the other end. The dropping of Sanga could prove pivotal.

  • Snick_To_Backward_Point on December 17, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Music to the ears of an Eng fan this! Australia rely so heavily on Clarke for runs when playing quality opposition. We;ve seen time and again Hussey fail against half decent bowlers in recent times and the less said about the openers and wickey when not facing 120 KPH trundlers the better. Australia's batting cupboard was already bare before Clarke's injury and I've yet to be convinced about the quality of Cummings et al (when they're not injured of course). Got to feel the next 2 Ashes are in pretty safe. C'mon Aussies, at least put together a competitive team! The Lankans and pitch are making you guys look a shade above minnow class right now.

  • Clyde on December 17, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    Variable bounce is not acceptable in a Test pitch. It can be green but it does have to be even. It seems the cricket authorities are not being straight with us about what is going on. There has got to be a hidden reason why there is not a decent pitch for a Test match.

  • Sinhaya on December 17, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    No matter how weak Aussies are, they are hungry to win. They never give up as they are the real fighters to the last breadth of all cricket playing nations.

  • KingOwl on December 17, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    Herath is way better than Ojha or Jadeja.

  • on December 17, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    look like austalia is going to win........................ its a battle between a most likely Australian Victory& draw.Given the number of injuries the Aussie attack looks poor barring Siddle . On the 4th day of a test match the ball suddenly keeps very low ('Shooters) on both sides of the wicket at both ends. If such a wcket was served up as a test venue in Sri lanka or India, it would have been slated as being unfit to host a test match.

  • mateyman on December 17, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    @Wajira, you completely misunderstand the rule. It is not for low bouncing balls, it is for balls that literally roll, which isn't happening. I think it's a great pitch, gives just enough for the bowlers, but will still go late into the 5th day

  • mateyman on December 17, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    We have been fine against Herath. Watson is the only one the struggled. In this test match, other than Watson, Herath has only got out those who are either going the slog or tailenders

  • KingofRedLions on December 17, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    I'm not sure Daniel realises that the Sri Lankans are still a long way from even achieving a draw.

  • Sunil_Batra on December 17, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    @Meety agree with you bud, Khawaja at 3 is the best option for me too as Hughes is the best opener in the country. If Clarke does not play then Khawaja is a must as replacement. Time to reward performance

  • Busie1979 on December 17, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    I disagree with your doomsday scenario Dan - the world is not due to end for 4 more days, and according to most people in this world it won't happen at all. But in case the Mayans were right, lets celebrate the good things in life. Australia are odds on to win this test match despite incurring two injuries during the game. With or without Clarke and Hilfenhaus, they should get 8 more wickets with 4 bowlers. Can't play spin? Herath didn't get any wickets in the first innings and got 5 for 96 in the second. That is not a disaster on Australia's part against "the world's most prolific wicket-taker in 2012". His match figures are 5 for 171 at an average of 34.20 - most of Herath's wickets came during garbage time in the second innings. That is a success, not a failure. This team has pushed South Africa all the way and could easily have won that series. They are not far off the world's best.

  • johntycodes on December 17, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    The more lyon bowls on the final day the more chance they have of saving the match because he only gets wickets when the batsmen try and hit him in the crowd and never actually spins a ball. He is a slow bowler not a spinner.

  • postandrail on December 17, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Wajira De Abrew For your education and straight from the Laws of Cricket on the Lords website:

    Rule 24.6. Ball bouncing more than twice or rolling along the ground The umpire shall call and signal No ball if a ball which he considers to have been delivered, without having previously touched bat or person of the striker, either (i) bounces more than twice or (ii) rolls along the ground before it reaches the popping crease.

  • Marcio on December 17, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Way too much negativity in this article. What's this nonsense about being number one? An irrelevant issue. So, there are a huge number of injuries. That's just bad luck as much as anything. That Australia are so far in front given the physical state of the team and declaring at 5 down in the first innings might actually be cause for a little bit of praise, no? SA were outplayed almost the whole series vs AUS, yet when they finally played 3 days of good cricket at the end of the tour after injuries decimated AUS' bowling attack, they were heralded as 'rightful number one'. Bit of a double standard there, no? I say this - apply the same standards if you are going to judge the merits of teams by the last ball of the series only. Who is the winner? And Australia has been miles ahead in this game and will probably win tomorrow (though I do give SL some chance of drawing). What more can you ask?

  • NAD_SL on December 17, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    good article from Daniel Brettig..talking about herath, He's a way better bowler than Ojha or Jadeja.

  • postandrail on December 17, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Wajira De Abrew Your complaint about no balls not being called is a misunderstanding on your part.. What the commentators actually said was that a no ball should be called if the ball bounces MORE than twice or runs along the pitch with no bounce at all before reaching the batsman. No delivery has bounced three times or run along the ground. Clear now?

  • on December 17, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    @Meety, no Warner for India? Smith at 6? Not sure i am seeing the logic in playing Smith, as I don't see him bowling, why not play Warner who is proven at test level and has a ton of experience in India? I'd be really temped to open with Warner and Watson and tell them to get after it while the ball is hard. I'd most likely leave Cowan out too, but only for the Indian series. My starting xi, barring injuries would be... Warner, Watson, Hughes, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, O'Keefe, Siddle, Harris, Starc, Lyon. I would be very confident in that team to take wickets and make runs.

  • Test-is-the-best on December 17, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Early exit of DILSHAN has diminished any chance of a Sri Lankan Victory.So its a battle between a most likely Australian Victory & draw. The way Sangakkara & Mahela handle the pressure will indicate the outcome of the match.To me neither Sangakkara nor Mahela are born fighters who can counter attack when the pressure is over them.

  • Pappu_bhai on December 17, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Still we believe their fast bowling is too good For us to handle.No need for this strength as we will score maximum 300-350 in first innings due to our lazy batsmen.It depends on Ausise batsmen whether they can make 550 against us.Clarke can only make 200-250.Balance somebody need to score.If you have done this you can beat India easily nowadays.

  • swauzzie on December 17, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    Herath is a class act - I agree - as do the Kiwis I expect! But we have 1 day of cricket left here. Lets see what Lyon can do! He outbowled Herath in the first innings - yupp I said it! Outbowled him & I recon he'll get a swag of wickets 2morrow to show he has the goods too & have better figures than "the world's most prolific wicket-taker in 2012"!! The best thing at the moment with Lyon (compared with the rest of the aussie bowlers at this level) is he's injury free :). One more thought - totally out there I know but - Ben Cutting his alrounder status can't be ignored for too much longer can it? Granted he's a bowling alrounder - but boy can he turn games around!! In the sheild stats - 5th best bowler 7th in batting (Ponting just made it above him there :) ) food for thought.....

  • on December 17, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    This Bellerive Oval is a disgrace. On the 4th day of a test match the ball suddenly keeps very low ('Shooters) on both sides of the wicket at both ends. If such a wcket was served up as a test venue in Sri lanka or India, it would have been slated as being unfit to host a test match. An important fact emerged from the TV commentary by Ian Chappel & Ian Healy.They said that a new rule states that if a bowler bowls a ball that bumps twice before reaching the batsmen ) ? or is it the wicket) OR if the ball travels along the ground, IT IS A NO BALL.Neither umpire called a no ball for such balls though there were many which fittrd that description during the Sri Lanka 2nd innings.From the lack of reaction from Sanga and & Mahela too, I gather that they too are unaware of this law.I hope that someone would acquint the umpires regarding this. Will a Sri lankan kindly acqaint the batsmen about this law and that they can't be out to one of these devilish balls! Howzat from NZ

  • Shafi79 on December 17, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    I would be more worried about Australia's bowling than their batting. I watched the first session yesterday and Dilshan and Angelo were toying with them. Given the number of injuries the Aussie attack looks poor barring Siddle. Mind you this is based on yesterday, didnt watch a single ball today, so i dont know how well (or badly) they bowled today. Having said that it does'nt say much of the SL batting cos they are in danger of losing the game, quite dissapointed in the way we batted against an ordinary attack.

  • Potatis on December 17, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    I'd rather Mike Hussey captain a one off game if Clarke needs a rest. Hussey is a legend and is respected. He has enormous experience and sums up the situations of the game very well, hence the nickname Mr Cricket. I agree with Macca_mat with the inclusion of Khawaja and Bird. I wish Australian players would stay away from the T20 garbage. If only test players could get the highest pay.

  • Meety on December 17, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    I would say Oz needs a different batting line up for playing in India. The problem being though, we can't aford to be tinkering with the line up prior to the Ashes. I would definately NOT play Cowan in India, (although would not hesitate to select him in England). I would look to open with Hughes & Watson, with Khawaja #3, Hussey M @ #4, Pup # 5, Smith #6, Wade #7, Lyon & SO'K the spinners, with any two of Starc, Copeland, Siddle, Cutting, MJ & Harris as the pacers. Reserve batsmen I would seriously consider Haddin, as he a good player of spin. The side I picked is more for Indian conditions, & I think if you look at England's successful campaign - apart from Cook, the main reason why they started winning is, they threw away their "old" formulaes. == == == IMO - Herath is a step up on India's spinners. Whilst I rate Swann highly - if he or Panesar are getting wickets, I'll be happy as we have seen off the pacers!

  • Herath-UK on December 17, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    My namesake Rangana will be a match winner at the SCG as he did in Durban.He has reached the highest pedestal as the world's No.one premier bowler ahead of Swann and I'm sure he will be a real handful to the Aussies come MCG & SCG. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • Mary_786 on December 17, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Australia's injuries are not specific to only here, other nations are facing the same difficulties with T20 putting alot more stress on players then ever before. If Clarke is not fit i would get Khawaja in as the batsman, and for Hilfe i would get Bird.

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  • Mary_786 on December 17, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Australia's injuries are not specific to only here, other nations are facing the same difficulties with T20 putting alot more stress on players then ever before. If Clarke is not fit i would get Khawaja in as the batsman, and for Hilfe i would get Bird.

  • Herath-UK on December 17, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    My namesake Rangana will be a match winner at the SCG as he did in Durban.He has reached the highest pedestal as the world's No.one premier bowler ahead of Swann and I'm sure he will be a real handful to the Aussies come MCG & SCG. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • Meety on December 17, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    I would say Oz needs a different batting line up for playing in India. The problem being though, we can't aford to be tinkering with the line up prior to the Ashes. I would definately NOT play Cowan in India, (although would not hesitate to select him in England). I would look to open with Hughes & Watson, with Khawaja #3, Hussey M @ #4, Pup # 5, Smith #6, Wade #7, Lyon & SO'K the spinners, with any two of Starc, Copeland, Siddle, Cutting, MJ & Harris as the pacers. Reserve batsmen I would seriously consider Haddin, as he a good player of spin. The side I picked is more for Indian conditions, & I think if you look at England's successful campaign - apart from Cook, the main reason why they started winning is, they threw away their "old" formulaes. == == == IMO - Herath is a step up on India's spinners. Whilst I rate Swann highly - if he or Panesar are getting wickets, I'll be happy as we have seen off the pacers!

  • Potatis on December 17, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    I'd rather Mike Hussey captain a one off game if Clarke needs a rest. Hussey is a legend and is respected. He has enormous experience and sums up the situations of the game very well, hence the nickname Mr Cricket. I agree with Macca_mat with the inclusion of Khawaja and Bird. I wish Australian players would stay away from the T20 garbage. If only test players could get the highest pay.

  • Shafi79 on December 17, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    I would be more worried about Australia's bowling than their batting. I watched the first session yesterday and Dilshan and Angelo were toying with them. Given the number of injuries the Aussie attack looks poor barring Siddle. Mind you this is based on yesterday, didnt watch a single ball today, so i dont know how well (or badly) they bowled today. Having said that it does'nt say much of the SL batting cos they are in danger of losing the game, quite dissapointed in the way we batted against an ordinary attack.

  • on December 17, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    This Bellerive Oval is a disgrace. On the 4th day of a test match the ball suddenly keeps very low ('Shooters) on both sides of the wicket at both ends. If such a wcket was served up as a test venue in Sri lanka or India, it would have been slated as being unfit to host a test match. An important fact emerged from the TV commentary by Ian Chappel & Ian Healy.They said that a new rule states that if a bowler bowls a ball that bumps twice before reaching the batsmen ) ? or is it the wicket) OR if the ball travels along the ground, IT IS A NO BALL.Neither umpire called a no ball for such balls though there were many which fittrd that description during the Sri Lanka 2nd innings.From the lack of reaction from Sanga and & Mahela too, I gather that they too are unaware of this law.I hope that someone would acquint the umpires regarding this. Will a Sri lankan kindly acqaint the batsmen about this law and that they can't be out to one of these devilish balls! Howzat from NZ

  • swauzzie on December 17, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    Herath is a class act - I agree - as do the Kiwis I expect! But we have 1 day of cricket left here. Lets see what Lyon can do! He outbowled Herath in the first innings - yupp I said it! Outbowled him & I recon he'll get a swag of wickets 2morrow to show he has the goods too & have better figures than "the world's most prolific wicket-taker in 2012"!! The best thing at the moment with Lyon (compared with the rest of the aussie bowlers at this level) is he's injury free :). One more thought - totally out there I know but - Ben Cutting his alrounder status can't be ignored for too much longer can it? Granted he's a bowling alrounder - but boy can he turn games around!! In the sheild stats - 5th best bowler 7th in batting (Ponting just made it above him there :) ) food for thought.....

  • Pappu_bhai on December 17, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Still we believe their fast bowling is too good For us to handle.No need for this strength as we will score maximum 300-350 in first innings due to our lazy batsmen.It depends on Ausise batsmen whether they can make 550 against us.Clarke can only make 200-250.Balance somebody need to score.If you have done this you can beat India easily nowadays.

  • Test-is-the-best on December 17, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Early exit of DILSHAN has diminished any chance of a Sri Lankan Victory.So its a battle between a most likely Australian Victory & draw. The way Sangakkara & Mahela handle the pressure will indicate the outcome of the match.To me neither Sangakkara nor Mahela are born fighters who can counter attack when the pressure is over them.

  • on December 17, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    @Meety, no Warner for India? Smith at 6? Not sure i am seeing the logic in playing Smith, as I don't see him bowling, why not play Warner who is proven at test level and has a ton of experience in India? I'd be really temped to open with Warner and Watson and tell them to get after it while the ball is hard. I'd most likely leave Cowan out too, but only for the Indian series. My starting xi, barring injuries would be... Warner, Watson, Hughes, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, O'Keefe, Siddle, Harris, Starc, Lyon. I would be very confident in that team to take wickets and make runs.