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

Fighting draw could set-up improving Sri Lanka

If Sri Lanka can fashion a draw in Hobart, they will head into the rest of the Test series in high spirits and with most parts of their machine humming nicely
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When a back-of-a-length delivery from Mitchell Starc hit a crack in the Bellerive pitch and scooted through to the wicketkeeper at ankle height in the final hour on day four, Sri Lanka's hopes of a maiden Australian victory in Hobart had all but sunk.

It had always seemed the least likely of the tour's three venues to deliver a triumph, but there had been a sniff of victory at tea. Sri Lanka's last fourth-innings total in Hobart had been 410, and they needed 17 fewer to take a series lead here, against an Australian attack depleted by injury. But as the shadows grew longer, the surface began to turn on the visitors. Survival will be preferred to offense on day five.

It is fitting that Sri Lanka's fate now largely rests with Nos. 3, 4 and 5. Tillakaratne Dilshan had showcased his enduring worth in the first innings, while the remainder of the vastly experienced top order had faltered. On day four, even Sri Lanka's bowlers proved more capable than many had suspected, knocking nine Australian wickets over in two sessions. Had a plumb lbw off Ed Cowan been awarded on day three, Australia would not have had as fine a platform upon which to aggress as their 132-run opening stand.

Still, Rangana Herath collected his seventh five-wicket haul in nine Tests this year, and Chanaka Welegedara collected three wickets. If Sri Lanka's batsmen can achieve a defiant draw tomorrow, the visitors will move to Melbourne not only in high spirits, but with most parts of their machine humming nicely.

The consistency that features in Herath's 2012 harvest may not suggest he is a bowler who relies on confidence, but his first spell in a Test is almost uniformly reserved. Low trajectory and a rapid swish of the arm characterised his bowling in the first innings, and accordingly, he was economical but wicketless. At home, even the quicker ones can bite to win him a scalp, but Hobart's surface was not given to the same largesse, and Herath was made to wait for an errant cut from David Warner to add to his year's tally.

When the breakthrough came though, Herath unpacked his bag of tricks in earnest. The variations in pace became more acute, the ball hung in suspense a moment longer, and even the carrom ball appeared on occasion. Herath only has two right-hand batsmen in the Australian top six to take the ball away from, and Shane Watson, one of them, did poorly in his tussle with the spinner.

In the first four balls he faced from Herath, Watson survived two lbw shouts, and was stumped overbalancing on the fifth. Like Muttiah Muralitharan, Herath prefers to have men on the fence - even when he is bowling well - and today that hankering earned him a wicket, when Matthew Wade's belligerence came to rest in the hands of the long-on fielder.

"Five wickets is a good achievement because this is my first Test in Australia," Herath said. "Melbourne and Sydney, from what I've heard, will be more helpful to spinners. This is a good start for me in the series."

Many of the negative appraisals of Sri Lanka's attack before the tour had been founded on a cursory perusal of bowling averages, but Chanaka Welegedara's stats do not do justice to his improvement in recent years. He was the worst of Sri Lanka's bowlers in the first innings, despite having the healthiest wicket tally, but his three wickets in the second dig were much better deserved.

Welegedara is working his way back from injury and hitting 130 kph regularly, allowing his movement to pose a significant threat. Twice he found the leading edge of an aggressive Michael Clarke, only to see the ball sail over the infield and to the boundary in a resounding endorsement of Clarke's batmaker. He had already removed Ed Cowan, however, with one that came in off the seam, and Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc were ill-equipped to counter Welegedara's reverse-swing with the old ball. Sri Lanka have regarded Welegedara as the leader of the pace attack, and he now seems to have found some of the rhythm that he lacked when he was left out during the recent series against New Zealand.

It is also encouraging for Sri Lanka that Mahela Jayawardene remains at the crease. In recent years he has been peerless on disintegrating pitches, and a dour but chanceless 37-ball stay on the fourth evening will steel him for the epic test to come on the fifth day. Australia are well aware of his mastery on such surfaces, having been Sri Lanka's opponents on a staggeringly dry Galle surface where Jayawardene was the only centurion.

Hobart's hazard stems from the cracks that have expanded with every ray of sunshine and every gust of wind on day four, while Galle's threat was more a result of a loose top layer of soil, but if Jayawardene succeeds in frustrating Australia on Tuesday, he will be largely following a blueprint he has already marked out. Kumar Sangakkara will be desperate to bust out of a poor run of form as well, and he need only look at his own fourth innings knock in Hobart five years ago for inspiration.

Only a near-miracle will see Sri Lanka score the 328 they need to win on a misbehaving pitch, but if at stumps on day five, they are not sitting on a series deficit, they will have learnt plenty and earned much for the matches that are ahead.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kumarsSansai on December 18, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    Many Sri lankan comparing their team with India. I don't know why they feel jealous with their neighbour. Some are satisfied because their team playing little good than India played. they don't want to see their team as champion. I can understand why they don't like Indian team because they cannot win easily from India and we have seen same thing many time. But it is not solution just think your team should not good than India Even your team should good than any team in the world. ALL THE BEST for SL

  • kumarsSansai on December 18, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    @Charudaththa Ekanayake so it is draw. You people comparing to You with India. First match is over let's wait for 2nd. How much u strong who just lost world cup final in your home.

  • Viraj_Hewage on December 18, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    Andrew Fernando's articles are most enjoyable. Keep up the good work. I am happy with the way Sri Lankas competed thus far (185/4 , 37 overs to go at this stage) , the end result is inconsequntial.

  • TORONTO123456 on December 18, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    It is shame that AUSTRALIAN has prepared Low and Uneven bounce wicket ,very dificult to survive in this type of a wicket - IT IS SHAME FOR AUSTRALIAN CRICKET

  • Meety on December 18, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    I don't mind a bit of patriotic good natured bias (bias in the nicest sense), in an article by a SL journalist. Sri Lanka have their worst head to head Test record against Oz, & they will be looking for anything promising. Whilst it has to be remembered that Oz did declare arguably TWICE, Sri Lanka have played well & Fernando's belief that this could set SL up for a series win is plausible. Oz are going to have some problems win/lose or draw out of this game. The main batsmen has a question mark over his fitness, the obvious replacement for captaincy has a /-mark over his place in the side, two strike bowlers may end up being overworked & so we may have 3 or 4 changes to the side moving forward. I think the SCG pitch has changed in nature in recent years, a bit more pace friendly, & the MCG depends on a good 1st innings, so there are some variables there. A draw will be LIKE a win for SL & give them a lot of confidence.

  • Slysta on December 18, 2012, 1:49 GMT

    Wow, some of us are touchy, eh? @endianwagona, did I say Australia dominated, in this game or at any other stage of the summer? No, I did not. Kindly refrain from putting words in my mouth. @Nmiduna, I have no idea what you think "snobbery" is, but I don't see any respondents here that are "offended" by the article. All anyone has said is that use of the word "dominance" is strange for a side that was so far behind in the game, and it would seem that either the author or the Cricinfo subeditor agreed, because the title of the article has been changed for the better. Nobody said that Herath and Welegedera didn't bowl well, but really, did the wickets they took place any pressure on Aus, given the state of the match? All cricket followers know the answer is "no", and that should be acknowledged. But Mr Fernando is correct to say that both bowlers will go confidently to Melbourne, and if they can take early first-innings wickets there and pressure Aus, then it is a whole different story.

  • on December 18, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    a draw means Sri Lanka has done much better than India. that'd be a moral boost to the lankan players

  • on December 17, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    It's time to briing Ajantha Mendis in, given the impotence of the current Sri Lankan attack, the poor recent record of Suraj Randiv and that his bunny Brad Haddin is tipped to be Clarke's replacement. Who, apart from Malinga do the Aussie batsmen fear most?

  • on December 17, 2012, 23:40 GMT

    Andrew Fernando is from NZ, so good calls there boys.

  • kumarsSansai on December 17, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    @Mayan so just satisfy only you doing well than India. improve your thought and think you should play well than any team in the world.

    You don't want world champion or just want good only than your neighbour country. Let us see how much Sri Lanka will Play well in Australia. Wait and watch

  • kumarsSansai on December 18, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    Many Sri lankan comparing their team with India. I don't know why they feel jealous with their neighbour. Some are satisfied because their team playing little good than India played. they don't want to see their team as champion. I can understand why they don't like Indian team because they cannot win easily from India and we have seen same thing many time. But it is not solution just think your team should not good than India Even your team should good than any team in the world. ALL THE BEST for SL

  • kumarsSansai on December 18, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    @Charudaththa Ekanayake so it is draw. You people comparing to You with India. First match is over let's wait for 2nd. How much u strong who just lost world cup final in your home.

  • Viraj_Hewage on December 18, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    Andrew Fernando's articles are most enjoyable. Keep up the good work. I am happy with the way Sri Lankas competed thus far (185/4 , 37 overs to go at this stage) , the end result is inconsequntial.

  • TORONTO123456 on December 18, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    It is shame that AUSTRALIAN has prepared Low and Uneven bounce wicket ,very dificult to survive in this type of a wicket - IT IS SHAME FOR AUSTRALIAN CRICKET

  • Meety on December 18, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    I don't mind a bit of patriotic good natured bias (bias in the nicest sense), in an article by a SL journalist. Sri Lanka have their worst head to head Test record against Oz, & they will be looking for anything promising. Whilst it has to be remembered that Oz did declare arguably TWICE, Sri Lanka have played well & Fernando's belief that this could set SL up for a series win is plausible. Oz are going to have some problems win/lose or draw out of this game. The main batsmen has a question mark over his fitness, the obvious replacement for captaincy has a /-mark over his place in the side, two strike bowlers may end up being overworked & so we may have 3 or 4 changes to the side moving forward. I think the SCG pitch has changed in nature in recent years, a bit more pace friendly, & the MCG depends on a good 1st innings, so there are some variables there. A draw will be LIKE a win for SL & give them a lot of confidence.

  • Slysta on December 18, 2012, 1:49 GMT

    Wow, some of us are touchy, eh? @endianwagona, did I say Australia dominated, in this game or at any other stage of the summer? No, I did not. Kindly refrain from putting words in my mouth. @Nmiduna, I have no idea what you think "snobbery" is, but I don't see any respondents here that are "offended" by the article. All anyone has said is that use of the word "dominance" is strange for a side that was so far behind in the game, and it would seem that either the author or the Cricinfo subeditor agreed, because the title of the article has been changed for the better. Nobody said that Herath and Welegedera didn't bowl well, but really, did the wickets they took place any pressure on Aus, given the state of the match? All cricket followers know the answer is "no", and that should be acknowledged. But Mr Fernando is correct to say that both bowlers will go confidently to Melbourne, and if they can take early first-innings wickets there and pressure Aus, then it is a whole different story.

  • on December 18, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    a draw means Sri Lanka has done much better than India. that'd be a moral boost to the lankan players

  • on December 17, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    It's time to briing Ajantha Mendis in, given the impotence of the current Sri Lankan attack, the poor recent record of Suraj Randiv and that his bunny Brad Haddin is tipped to be Clarke's replacement. Who, apart from Malinga do the Aussie batsmen fear most?

  • on December 17, 2012, 23:40 GMT

    Andrew Fernando is from NZ, so good calls there boys.

  • kumarsSansai on December 17, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    @Mayan so just satisfy only you doing well than India. improve your thought and think you should play well than any team in the world.

    You don't want world champion or just want good only than your neighbour country. Let us see how much Sri Lanka will Play well in Australia. Wait and watch

  • on December 17, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    tomorow history is going to be made...

  • Chris_P on December 17, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    @Mayan. Far better!......

  • Chris_P on December 17, 2012, 20:35 GMT

    @Herath-UK. We'll revisit your prophecy of an "easy" draw a little later my friend. You obviously haven't been watching the match in great detail.

  • on December 17, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    Andrew does not dwell on the fact that those balls which keep low and shoot along the ground are in fact NO BALLS.Our batsmen AND the umpires don't seem to be aware of this law.This was explained by Ian Chappel & Ian Healy during their TV commentary yesterday.This new law was apparently brought in to prevent another disgraceful incident like Trevor Chappels underarm ball VS NZ.This law states that if the bowler bowls a ball the bounces twiceor more before reaching the batsmen OR comes along the ground is a no ball.Yesterday they were not called and the batsmen though bemused did not appear to know that they were NO BALLS.In short the SL batsmen should be advised that they should stand their groung if given out to such a ball and perhaps ask for a review.The unpires should be made aware ir this law as well! Please clarify Andrew.

  • late--cut on December 17, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    Rodney Hogg is packing his bags now. He is going on an extensive vacation (at least till the end of SL tour ). He can't probably handle the media pressure now. He probably thought that the match would have finished within 3 days. This is what happen when some people don't know how to keep their pie-hole shut. Haven't you learnt anything from Murali incident ???? I guess Some people never learn.

  • johnnnnloveslcricket on December 17, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Typical Lions fight HOpe sanga gets some runs under his sleeves today..lankans have shown some good sprit and fight unlike indians were badly whitewashed by the mighty aussies..:)A great leader maiya im sure he s gonna end his career as a captain on a high note :) we lankans have talent eventhough our population is in the mid 20millions(India's population 1000millions) LOL

  • on December 17, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    I hope sanga and mahela wrong all these critics and pundits and win this match. Even though we win next test matches these critics are going to say , there was no clarke, most of the aussie bowlers were injured as such. Win this it will be a hard fought, come from the behind and memorable victory.

  • on December 17, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    trually Srilankans are showing good spirit...unlike India who were whitewashed here lions are showng a good fight

  • Crunchtime1 on December 17, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    australias 'aggressive' bowling attack has already been exposed as overrated via the dishan/mathews partnership, throughout which bowlers (who survived the previous days) like starc, watson etc were poor and lacking much. Granted siddle was decent. IF the pitch doesn't resemble the himalayas tomorrow, Sri lanka have the batting prowess to DOMINATE (yes i said it) a mediocre bowling attack. Key word being IF.

  • Mayan. on December 17, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    well, we r atleast doing way better than what indians did in last aussie summer

  • on December 17, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    watson is the difference here !!

  • Nmiduna on December 17, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    Funny how people are offended when an article of a less-fancied test nation is written by a 'fernando'. it's disgusting to see snobbery out here in cricinfo..Sri Lankans are a test-playing nation and over the last couple of years has at least performed much better than their mighty neighbours in 'alien' conditions and won a test series against the best spin attack in the world. these are not mighty achievements, still a long way to go, but snobbery is never a good thing!

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

    As a Sri Lankan fan, I fully agree. This is pure exaggeration. Until we draw tomorrow as I desire, I am silent.

  • CricPissu on December 17, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    @Marcio; Bottom line is; despite AUS batsmen carted the SA attack all over Brisbane and Adelaide, you still lost the series to them, period. (Ifthi - SHJ)

  • tallgrass on December 17, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    dominance? what are you talking about? Herath's wickets came because they were trying to score quickly. He is a good bowler when conditions help him. Period! Don't sing undue praise. This match...like most other 'away' tour openers...only illustrates how ill prepared (mentally and strategically) we are for Test cricket. I hope we drop Kulasekara and go with Pradeep for Melbourne...need someone with a bit of extra pace...and hopefully stick with Eranga and give him a chance to translate the experience of 3 back to back tests. Same for Dimuth! It would be nice to give Chandimal a go if Sanga fails again...but that's too much to ask i guess.

  • endianuwagona on December 17, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    Hi Marco and Slysta....yes yes yes...SL did not dominate. They were simply crushed by the Aussies. The Aussies are the greatest. They dominate and allows no one else a resemblance of dominance. Thier 9 wickets fell because they went for quick runs. They hit so many sixes and fours that the 9 wickets didn't matter. They also dominated so much against SA but lost the series...Hmphhhh!

  • sami01 on December 17, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    i think srilankan experts are trying to present their team as something who can beat any current top team of the world or they are better then australians?Mr Farnando this srilankan team is very weak and they are not performing well in this test too..Australian team is playing with 3 main bowlers and still they are so close to win in this test..srilanka doesn't have any match winner bowler...

  • va-mos on December 17, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    1st Test will finish in a draw. Australia don't have the guns to bowl Sri Lanka out twice. And Australia are in serious/series trouble, because the 1st Test is merely Sri Lanka's lead-up match (since Canberra failed to provide a real cricket wicket). Sri Lanka are working their way into form. Australia failing to win the 1st Test = Australia failing to win the series. Replay of the South Africa-Australia series.

  • on December 17, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    well done Mr.Fernando.Well written.If Sri Lanka can draw this game,they will be more than happy and proud under the circumstances of Rodney Hogg.BTW,We gave a good fight so far and all depends on tomorrow morning session and if sanga and mahela survived that,this will be a draw.Lot of work to do.But certainly gave a good fight so far and best thing is so far they were not looked really struggled with the bat in the test match apart from that loose period on first innings.I back them to draw this game.

  • Herath-UK on December 17, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    If Sanga & Mahela could survive the first hour tomorrow Sri Lanka can at least expect an easy draw. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • MaruthuDelft on December 17, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    Ferando is not English. He propably used the wrong term.

  • amilag on December 17, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    Excellent article Mr.Fernando. I feel that in this tour SL is going to claim their first ever test win in Australia. You may not be aware that Clarke is most probably not going to participate for next test at the time of writing this article. Aus are depleted and depleted. The batting is heavily depend on Clarke and other batters are below average except Hussey. Things are pretty well shaping up for SL, and I couldn't imagine how bitter will be the experience of defeat on boxing day for ausie fans.

  • KingOwl on December 17, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    Marcio - you seem to be confused! SL's next to test matches are in Melbourne and Sydney. Not in Brisbane and Adelaide. Besides, this Aus team is not the intimidating team of the past. If SL had not dropped so many catches in the first inning, they would have been all out. Having said that, I still think Aus hold the cards because of the nature of the wicket. But, it is clear that there was a lot of hype created about this Aus team before the series.

  • thewayitwass on December 17, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    A bit of a stretch to say that there have been spells of dominance, aside from the Dilshan, Matthews partnership, it is hard to think of any spells as such. Today in particular they were only able to take so many wickets because Australia pressed the accelerator and were looking for quick runs, granted SL bowlers made that very difficult, but had Clarke not got injured it could have been a different story.

  • Shaggy076 on December 17, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    The headline for this article is poor, the only dominance from Sri Lanka in this test came during Dilsham and Mathews partnership. Today once Australia got to a 250 lead they pushed hard on a pitch barely offering three runs an over and lost 9/146 from 32 overs at about 4.5 an over. They new they were save and in attempting to give there bowlers time they lost wickets. Herath's only genuilne dismissal was that of Watson the rest were through Australias aggression. Lyon outbowled him in the first innings and will likely do the same in the second. The Hobart pitch as its stand is likely to spin more than Melbourne. Sri Lankan cricket although gutsy is currently experiencing a down patch as the Aussies did a couple of years ago. Im sure they will improve over the next 12 months as they are gutsy cricketers that play with a lot of pride (unlike India). However, the truth is they have been out played in this test.

  • StarsnStumps on December 17, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Not dominance ... i would say spells of "near competitiveness" because srilankans were always a step behind australia in this test but it will be a good start if they can draw tomorrow but they have to get better if they want to win because it usually gets tougher for asian teams as the audtralian tour progresses

  • Marcio on December 17, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    I'm afraid you have it 180 degrees from the truth, Mr Fernando. Hobart was always the ground where SL had the BEST chance of winning, and beyond the obvious way AUS was trying to push the scoring to set up the win, the pitch is the very reason why SL's bowlers were able to do pretty well in the second innings (I wouldn't call the 1st inns 5/450 declared good for SL's bowlers). You saw how the AUS batsmen carted the SA attack all over Brisbane and Adelaide. Why would the SL attack do any better than Morkel and Steyn on mainland decks? I suspect that the Sl bowlers will really struggle in the next two games. What the SL bowlers have done is bowl pretty good lines most of the time. Herath will always come into play when the pitch starts to wear - and when the opposition is pushing hard for a win. BTW, I think writing "periods of domination" is more than a bit of a stretch when a team is so far behind from day 1.

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

    Even "spells" of "dominance" is probably a bridge too far, Mr Fernando. It's important to remember that all of those wickets fell only after Australia extended their lead to almost 250 with all 10 second-innings wickets still in hand, and were therefore predisposed to taking risks in search of quick runs to expedite a declaration... remarkably, an assessment of the match situation is almost entirely absent from your analysis. That is not to say the bowlers did not perform encouragingly, because they did, and Herath and Welegedera will move on to Melbourne with justifiably increased confidence. But please, let's not call it "dominance", not even in "spells".

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

    Even "spells" of "dominance" is probably a bridge too far, Mr Fernando. It's important to remember that all of those wickets fell only after Australia extended their lead to almost 250 with all 10 second-innings wickets still in hand, and were therefore predisposed to taking risks in search of quick runs to expedite a declaration... remarkably, an assessment of the match situation is almost entirely absent from your analysis. That is not to say the bowlers did not perform encouragingly, because they did, and Herath and Welegedera will move on to Melbourne with justifiably increased confidence. But please, let's not call it "dominance", not even in "spells".

  • Marcio on December 17, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    I'm afraid you have it 180 degrees from the truth, Mr Fernando. Hobart was always the ground where SL had the BEST chance of winning, and beyond the obvious way AUS was trying to push the scoring to set up the win, the pitch is the very reason why SL's bowlers were able to do pretty well in the second innings (I wouldn't call the 1st inns 5/450 declared good for SL's bowlers). You saw how the AUS batsmen carted the SA attack all over Brisbane and Adelaide. Why would the SL attack do any better than Morkel and Steyn on mainland decks? I suspect that the Sl bowlers will really struggle in the next two games. What the SL bowlers have done is bowl pretty good lines most of the time. Herath will always come into play when the pitch starts to wear - and when the opposition is pushing hard for a win. BTW, I think writing "periods of domination" is more than a bit of a stretch when a team is so far behind from day 1.

  • StarsnStumps on December 17, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Not dominance ... i would say spells of "near competitiveness" because srilankans were always a step behind australia in this test but it will be a good start if they can draw tomorrow but they have to get better if they want to win because it usually gets tougher for asian teams as the audtralian tour progresses

  • Shaggy076 on December 17, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    The headline for this article is poor, the only dominance from Sri Lanka in this test came during Dilsham and Mathews partnership. Today once Australia got to a 250 lead they pushed hard on a pitch barely offering three runs an over and lost 9/146 from 32 overs at about 4.5 an over. They new they were save and in attempting to give there bowlers time they lost wickets. Herath's only genuilne dismissal was that of Watson the rest were through Australias aggression. Lyon outbowled him in the first innings and will likely do the same in the second. The Hobart pitch as its stand is likely to spin more than Melbourne. Sri Lankan cricket although gutsy is currently experiencing a down patch as the Aussies did a couple of years ago. Im sure they will improve over the next 12 months as they are gutsy cricketers that play with a lot of pride (unlike India). However, the truth is they have been out played in this test.

  • thewayitwass on December 17, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    A bit of a stretch to say that there have been spells of dominance, aside from the Dilshan, Matthews partnership, it is hard to think of any spells as such. Today in particular they were only able to take so many wickets because Australia pressed the accelerator and were looking for quick runs, granted SL bowlers made that very difficult, but had Clarke not got injured it could have been a different story.

  • KingOwl on December 17, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    Marcio - you seem to be confused! SL's next to test matches are in Melbourne and Sydney. Not in Brisbane and Adelaide. Besides, this Aus team is not the intimidating team of the past. If SL had not dropped so many catches in the first inning, they would have been all out. Having said that, I still think Aus hold the cards because of the nature of the wicket. But, it is clear that there was a lot of hype created about this Aus team before the series.

  • amilag on December 17, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    Excellent article Mr.Fernando. I feel that in this tour SL is going to claim their first ever test win in Australia. You may not be aware that Clarke is most probably not going to participate for next test at the time of writing this article. Aus are depleted and depleted. The batting is heavily depend on Clarke and other batters are below average except Hussey. Things are pretty well shaping up for SL, and I couldn't imagine how bitter will be the experience of defeat on boxing day for ausie fans.

  • MaruthuDelft on December 17, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    Ferando is not English. He propably used the wrong term.

  • Herath-UK on December 17, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    If Sanga & Mahela could survive the first hour tomorrow Sri Lanka can at least expect an easy draw. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • on December 17, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    well done Mr.Fernando.Well written.If Sri Lanka can draw this game,they will be more than happy and proud under the circumstances of Rodney Hogg.BTW,We gave a good fight so far and all depends on tomorrow morning session and if sanga and mahela survived that,this will be a draw.Lot of work to do.But certainly gave a good fight so far and best thing is so far they were not looked really struggled with the bat in the test match apart from that loose period on first innings.I back them to draw this game.