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

Lyon a likely threat on final day - Herath


Sri Lanka will have to contend with turn in addition to variable bounce on the final day of the first Test in Hobart, after Rangana Herath credited a surface that was becoming increasingly conducive to spin for his five-wicket haul on day four. Herath's 5 for 96 helped restrict Australia to 278 in the second innings, and was aided by a wearing, cracked surface that offered much more lateral movement for him than in the first innings.

Australia's offspinner Nathan Lyon had already exploited the bowler's footmarks when he bowled earlier in the Test, and dismissed Thilan Samaraweera with a topspinner that leapt off the turf. Lyon is set to have a high workload on day five, with Ben Hilfenhaus' injury leaving Australia a bowler short, and Michael Clarke also unlikely to bowl his left-arm orthodox spin due to a hamstring strain.

Herath will now likely finish as the top wicket-taker in 2012, with 60 wickets and a Test to go. His five-wicket haul in Hobart was his seventh of the year in nine matches.

"I didn't get a wicket in the first innings, but on a fourth day pitch I thought that there would be some assistance for the spinner, and there was some turn and bounce," Herath said. "The ball does not spin as much as Sri Lanka, but if you maintain a good line and length, you can take wickets.

"Lyon will get turn and bounce as well - he always gets bounce because he is tall, and he will have the assistance of the surface as well."

Several seasons of county cricket before he became a mainstay in Sri Lanka's Test side also contributed to his performance in Hobart, he said.

"I used my experience of playing in England. When you get wickets on a pitch like this it's always pleasing. The main thing is that it helped me to adapt to the situation and the pitch, and I managed to do that. That's why I was successful."

Herath said Sri Lanka had not ruled out victory, and backed Sri Lanka's batsmen to see out the final day if a draw seemed the better option. Sri Lanka were set 393 for victory, but lost both openers in the 37 overs before stumps. They will begin at 65 for 2 on day five, with Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara at the crease, and 328 runs required for victory.

"Draw is possible if we can bat the first session without losing wickets, it's going to be an interesting day," he said. "The pitch is a bit up and down, but apart from that it looks a good track so far."

David Warner set out to dominate Herath in the first session of the day, venturing a switch-hit sweep off his bowling after already having struck him for six, but Herath said he did not want a rule change disallowing batsmen from changing their grip, mid-shot.

"Batsmen have done it against my bowling before as well. I don't mind Warner playing that shot because he is creating more chances for me to get him out. In the end I took his wicket."

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anupam on December 18, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Oz won the match. if siddle & starc will not took 9 wickets, then i guarantee that Mr.threat will take all 10 wickets LoL. or IF the pitch is plough by the tractor then he will definitely. or the match was played in Tasmanian High school campus then. @OzWally you compared Swann with Lyon how? there is no scale to compare School Campus Cricketer and A WORLD class bowler. its sounds like Khwaja avg is 29 ang bradman avg is 99. dude if you look at the stats then Sachin is World's best ever but is he is a match winner?

  • Mark on December 18, 2012, 1:18 GMT

    Aside from the usual ignorant comments here, I have watched Lyon on and off all year. He to me looks a genuinely threatening off spinner when conditions help. Now I am watching a penetrating spell and given his age he can only get better. He currently doesn't have the rip of Swann or the variance yet, but things are falling into place for him. Keep going Nathan and up the conventional off spinner.

  • Ben on December 17, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge, shows how much you know. Lyon's stats aren't far behind Swann's and are a damn sight better than Monty's. Given that he is only 25 years old and 16 games into his test career he is only going to improve. Australia is ranked 1 spot below your beloved England and just gave the world number 1 team a good shake, whereas your boys were totally embarassed by the South Africans at home earlier in the year. Considering Australia are at their lowest ebb since the 1980's and most English fans are saying this is your best team ever I think we all know who the real minnows are. Our best XI's throughout history totally outclass yours my pasty friend.

  • John on December 17, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    @Front foot keeps calling Australia and just about every one of its opponents "minnows". Mate, cricket isn´t played by many countries and you seem to write off most of them. Who do you want to play with?? Yourself .. Judging by some of your comments, you've been doing too much of that already.

  • pan on December 17, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    why these indians keep commenting here...the match is between Aus & Sl and we are here to appreciate two good spinners in the world cricket. Pls guys go and make comment on relevant forums..(tip) India got trashed by Eng.. cheers

  • Daniel on December 17, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    Calling Australia a Minnow county and Sri Lanka as well. Wow! It's very clear to see that Front Foot Lunge is a one eyed crciket fan with no memory of how australia DOMINATED the game for over a decade, and is still holding their own. You watch us crush England this Ashes. It's very obvious you are a Pom.

  • disco on December 17, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    @AKS286, it's a pity that the SL supporters cannot be as gracious as the players.

  • Peter on December 17, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    Indeed, Sinhaya, well played to Herath. I also liked the way he stuck his tongue out at Lyon after bowling him, nothing like a little jousting between tweakers. It is harmless & adds a little overall to the proceedings.

  • disco on December 17, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    @FrontFL, you are TommyTS in disguise and I claim my 5 quid.

  • Anthony on December 17, 2012, 20:22 GMT

    And when Australia replaces England as #2 in the world after the SL tour, does that mean England will then be a minnow?

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