Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 2nd day January 4, 2013

Sri Lanka fight but Australia build lead

80

Australia 6 for 342 (Hughes 87, Warner 85) lead Sri Lanka 294 by 48 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ostensibly, Australia finished the second day at the SCG in front. In reality, this was a much more even day's play than most throughout the series, and one that will give Sri Lanka some hope of upsetting Michael Clarke's men - a slim hope, perhaps, but a hope nevertheless. It was a day on which David Warner, Phillip Hughes and Clarke all scored half-centuries yet failed to bury Sri Lanka. It was a day on which run-outs cost two of Australia's top five their wickets, one a result of laziness and the other due to a poor call.

By stumps, Australia's lead had reached 48 runs thanks largely to the acting No.6 Matthew Wade, who was unbeaten on 47. Peter Siddle was with him, on 16, and Sri Lanka's challenge was to ensure Australia's lower order and tail-enders didn't drag the game out of their reach. Much will depend on how quickly the Sri Lankans can finish things off on the third morning and how well they then bat themselves, but on a pitch that was quickly drying out they knew that even a seemingly small target could be tricky for Australia in the fourth innings.

First, they need to get through Wade, who appeared to take his increased responsibility seriously. He was not always comfortable against spin but fought through, surviving a prod to short leg on 22 that was put down by Lahiru Thirimanne and being reprieved by a review on the same score when he was given out caught at short leg, only for replays to show the ball lobbed off his pad and did not touch bat or glove. Rangana Herath was denied on both occasions, but his spin will only become harder to handle as the match wears on and the pitch wears down.

Soon afterwards, the second new ball accounted for Mitchell Johnson, who edged behind off Nuwan Pradeep for 13, and that ended a 36-run partnership between Johnson and Wade, who had come together after a moment of rashness from Clarke. Australia's captain appeared to have started 2013 in much the same way as he cruised through 2012, finding gaps, using his feet to spin and generally making life difficult for his opponents. But on 50, he went for a slog sweep of Herath and his top edge was taken at midwicket. It was far from Australia's only lapse in judgment.

Michael Hussey was the victim of another such brain fade, when Clarke called him through for a single that wasn't there. At 37, Hussey remains one of the quickest runners in world cricket and even a full-stretch dive could not save him from Dimuth Karunaratne's direct hit. Hussey's innings, which had started with a guard of honour from the Sri Lankans, ended on 25, and while there is a strong chance he will bat again in the second innings, it was far from what Hussey wanted from his final Test.

Karunaratne's throw was sharp and accurate, and the Sri Lankans were to be commended for their fielding on several occasions. The day began with another run-out and while Pradeep's work in the deep was responsible for it, so too was an awful piece of running from Ed Cowan. On 4, Cowan ambled through for the first run when Warner pushed a ball into the leg side. There should have been a comfortable two, but Cowan's slow movement, sluggish turn and a slight hesitation combined to cost him his wicket.

That brought Warner and Hughes together and they put on 130 for the second wicket as runs flowed through the off side when Sri Lanka's seamers gave them width - which was often. Hughes picked up nine boundaries in his innings, cutting and cover-driving well and he also pulled a boundary forward of square leg off Pradeep. Warner's ten boundaries all came through the off side, including one to backward point off Pradeep to bring up his half-century from his 37th delivery.

However, on 85 Warner threw away the chance for a hundred, skying a catch to long-off when he tried to clear the boundary off Tillakaratne Dilshan. Hughes also missed out on his century when on 87 he went for a cut to a Herath ball that stayed low and was a touch quicker than the batsman anticipated, and his toe-edge was very well collected by the wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal.

The day could have been even better for Sri Lanka had Herath been able to convince Mahela Jayawardene to ask for a review from the first ball Clarke faced. Aleem Dar turned down Herath's appeal and replays showed the decision would have been overturned has the Sri Lankans reviewed. Had they done so, they might even have ended the day with a first-innings lead. As it was, they ended up behind but with the knowledge that if they start day three well, anything can happen.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Moppa on January 4, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but how badly has everyone misread this pitch? The ball is already going through the surface and Australia would have been much better off batting yesterday - it played much better then. Dilshan has bowled as many overs as any of SL's frontline pacemen, whilst Randiv sits on the sidelines. Australia have four pacemen and limited back up spin options on the assumption that Clarke will not bowl (although Warner is OK). With a tour of India coming up, might have been interesting to see how Beer or O'Keefe are travelling in the red ball stuff? Meanwhile, Aussie batsmen throw their wickets away with an abandon exceeded only by the Sri Lankan tailenders. All in all, a very funny Test match.

  • disco_bob on January 4, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Not long ago our bowling cupboard looked bare, then suddenly it was overflowing. While our battings stocks are not exactly overflowing, if Hughes continues to develop and Warner keeps improving all we need is for Khawaja to step up and the situation is not looking too shabby for the Ashes.

  • zenboomerang on January 5, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    Only one person misread this pitch & that was Clarke... The curator said the day before the match that it would be a dry pitch - bat 1st with a backup spinner... Mahela agreed... So far this summer Clarke has made fundamental mistakes - poor bowler selection or use at AO, WACA, SCG - running out Hussey & poor shot selection when a more mature approach would have led to a much bigger 1st innings lead in this match... Expect a few blunders by new captains, so hope he is learning from his mistakes...

  • Meety on January 5, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    LOL! Any doubts that TommySaffa was a dope can be expelled right here & now. "..australia stuggling with this Sri Lankan ..." -he forgets that Sri Lanka just recently won aTest in Sth Africa AND the less said about Sth Africa in Sri Lanka the better. I seem to remember MJ & Sanga putting on about 800 runs in partnership against them. Oh dear!

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 1:40 GMT

    If Sri Lankans play sensible cricket, Sri Lankans have a good chance of winning the game. I believe that Aussies expected a higher score than this. But, they have another innings plus 138. So, it's time for Sri Lankan batsmen to keep the game alive by not throwing wickets away. Karunaratne played well (now it's lunch), but he was chasing the out swinging balls wide of offstump. That's going to be creating chances. I wish all the best for Sri Lankans. No big hopes, but keep fighting and fighting. Don't give up.

  • disco_bob on January 5, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    A thoroughly deserved, well crafted, superbly timed ton from Matthew Wade vindicates his escalation to no.6 Especially as we had a tail order mini collapse.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on January 5, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    This pitch is turning dry and dusty. If Lyon cant take wickets on this gift of a surface he should he dropped. Time after time he's been given a 3rd/4th innings surface and he's failed to turn it at all. The cricket world awaits with baited breath - Will Lyon turn just a single ball?

  • on January 4, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Quite like the look of Wade, in fact, quite like the look of Aus in general. Shaping up to be an interesting summer. Not sure he's the best wk/bat in the world though, Electric loco etc, though I commend your enthusiasm I detect a faint touch of anti english bias,and , by extension, anti every other test playing team on the planet. I hear that De Villiers chap is quite decent, and some bloke called Prior's a bit useful, too.

  • Moppa on January 4, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    @BigBoodha, I felt you wouldn't want to chase on it, but I was surprised by how fast it has dried out. I think Clarke's theory was that they would only need to bat once, but if the tail folds today, that strategy could really backfire. My prediction is for Australia to limp home chasing 180 odd - hopefully Huss to hit the winning runs! @electric_loco_WAP, Wade is a very very poor man's Gilchrist!

  • dunger.bob on January 4, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    What is wrong with cricinfo. .. no comments posted. .. come on dudes, get your stuff together. .. why have a website if you don't run it properly.

  • Moppa on January 4, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but how badly has everyone misread this pitch? The ball is already going through the surface and Australia would have been much better off batting yesterday - it played much better then. Dilshan has bowled as many overs as any of SL's frontline pacemen, whilst Randiv sits on the sidelines. Australia have four pacemen and limited back up spin options on the assumption that Clarke will not bowl (although Warner is OK). With a tour of India coming up, might have been interesting to see how Beer or O'Keefe are travelling in the red ball stuff? Meanwhile, Aussie batsmen throw their wickets away with an abandon exceeded only by the Sri Lankan tailenders. All in all, a very funny Test match.

  • disco_bob on January 4, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Not long ago our bowling cupboard looked bare, then suddenly it was overflowing. While our battings stocks are not exactly overflowing, if Hughes continues to develop and Warner keeps improving all we need is for Khawaja to step up and the situation is not looking too shabby for the Ashes.

  • zenboomerang on January 5, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    Only one person misread this pitch & that was Clarke... The curator said the day before the match that it would be a dry pitch - bat 1st with a backup spinner... Mahela agreed... So far this summer Clarke has made fundamental mistakes - poor bowler selection or use at AO, WACA, SCG - running out Hussey & poor shot selection when a more mature approach would have led to a much bigger 1st innings lead in this match... Expect a few blunders by new captains, so hope he is learning from his mistakes...

  • Meety on January 5, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    LOL! Any doubts that TommySaffa was a dope can be expelled right here & now. "..australia stuggling with this Sri Lankan ..." -he forgets that Sri Lanka just recently won aTest in Sth Africa AND the less said about Sth Africa in Sri Lanka the better. I seem to remember MJ & Sanga putting on about 800 runs in partnership against them. Oh dear!

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 1:40 GMT

    If Sri Lankans play sensible cricket, Sri Lankans have a good chance of winning the game. I believe that Aussies expected a higher score than this. But, they have another innings plus 138. So, it's time for Sri Lankan batsmen to keep the game alive by not throwing wickets away. Karunaratne played well (now it's lunch), but he was chasing the out swinging balls wide of offstump. That's going to be creating chances. I wish all the best for Sri Lankans. No big hopes, but keep fighting and fighting. Don't give up.

  • disco_bob on January 5, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    A thoroughly deserved, well crafted, superbly timed ton from Matthew Wade vindicates his escalation to no.6 Especially as we had a tail order mini collapse.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on January 5, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    This pitch is turning dry and dusty. If Lyon cant take wickets on this gift of a surface he should he dropped. Time after time he's been given a 3rd/4th innings surface and he's failed to turn it at all. The cricket world awaits with baited breath - Will Lyon turn just a single ball?

  • on January 4, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Quite like the look of Wade, in fact, quite like the look of Aus in general. Shaping up to be an interesting summer. Not sure he's the best wk/bat in the world though, Electric loco etc, though I commend your enthusiasm I detect a faint touch of anti english bias,and , by extension, anti every other test playing team on the planet. I hear that De Villiers chap is quite decent, and some bloke called Prior's a bit useful, too.

  • Moppa on January 4, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    @BigBoodha, I felt you wouldn't want to chase on it, but I was surprised by how fast it has dried out. I think Clarke's theory was that they would only need to bat once, but if the tail folds today, that strategy could really backfire. My prediction is for Australia to limp home chasing 180 odd - hopefully Huss to hit the winning runs! @electric_loco_WAP, Wade is a very very poor man's Gilchrist!

  • dunger.bob on January 4, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    What is wrong with cricinfo. .. no comments posted. .. come on dudes, get your stuff together. .. why have a website if you don't run it properly.

  • StarveTheLizard on January 4, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    SL might have a chance here. This is the first test where they have shown some fight. Still, it would require a solid effort from the SL bats in their second innings (it could happen) and a collapse by Australia at the end.

    On another note, I'm really touched by the amount of time TommytuckerSaffa devotes to Australian Cricket. He never misses a post. I can only assume that, deep down, he really, really likes us.

  • wellrounded87 on January 4, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 I'm a fan of Matthew Wade but i think you're getting ahead of yourself here. Wade shows some promise but to say he might possibly be the best wk/batsman in the world ahead of deVilliers and Prior is a very strong suggestion. And one without footing i'd say given Wade's lack of runs and missed stumpings of late.

    Give him more time, he's not a superstar but he can certainly become very handy and one of the top keepers in the world

  • on January 4, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    have been hearing that Rangana herath has died in a car accident in Sydney.. not sure if its a rumor or real.. Please update if someone has any information on it.

  • whoster on January 4, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Australia were pretty sloppy with some of their dismissals today. Apart from Clarke and Hussey, none of the others are proven in Test cricket. The Aussies have had a fair few run outs in recent times, and that doesn't install confidence. The younger batsmen need to start making big scores to cement their places, because they're going to face a much tougher examination at Trent Bridge come July.

  • cammo82 on January 4, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    Unfortunately the selectors will pat themselves on the back again for winning the game and series. Johnson is not a all rounder just a decent tailender. I could not think of a better time to add khawaja to the team than this test match - perhaps even have given Siddle a rest - Also the Aussies batting has struggled for quite some time - yet there were players in first class David Hussey (avg 53) and Cris Rogers (avg 49) who have played one test match between them - Great players and never got the chance - they really should have been given a go years ago :(

  • Htc-Android on January 4, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    @Sugath. I agree with u mate. even dilshan looks threatening on this wicket. Had played randiv played in this wicket, with his helping him getting bounce he definitely would have given nightmares to the aussie batsmen.

  • Sinhaya on January 4, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    Well the first hour tomorrow will decide the game. Aussies are still in control of this game as it is 80-20 in Australia's favor at the moment. If Australia get a lead of 100 or more, it is gameover for Sri Lanka sadly. But I hope we excel in the 2nd innings. Not reviewing Clark'e LBW and dropping Wade might prove to be the root cause behind our defeat. Anyway, a far fight so far by the Lankans in contrast to the 2nd test. We should have played Ajantha Mendis today as Lakmal was a pure passenger.

  • Htc-Android on January 4, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    I hope Aussies dont make more than 100 runs lead. our fast bowlers are really useless. Thats why randiv should have been playing in this test match.

  • RVC-38 on January 4, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa on (January 04 2013, 08:16 AM GMT) you have it wrong again Tommy, it is the once mighty Saffers, the Aussies have always mighty.

  • OzWally on January 4, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    Australia appear to be trying their hardest to keep SL in this game. Even though MJ appears to want no part of trying to win - he doesn't bowl his best bowler all morning, only manages 88 overs in a day when 41 were sent down by spinners. Cowan should be dropped purely for his lackadaisical approach to running between wickets. On the plus side - I've changed my mind about Warner, his average is now up to 45 and each series he improves on this ever so slightly. This reincarnation of Hughes also looks much better. That being said, both should be unhappy with when they got out.

  • RandyOZ on January 4, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    @Tommy, maybe should should spend less time on her and more at your grounds supporting your team, because virtually no one else in South Africa gives a damn about cricket. But wait, let me guess, you live in Perth with the other half of South Africa?

  • gnanzcupid on January 4, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    Considering the talent quotient of lankan team, this is a better performance. They are atleast not getting defeated by an innings going by the present scenario. But who knows? Lanka may fold like nz if mj does not fire again.

  • landl47 on January 4, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    The day went pretty much as expected, except for the two runouts. Sri Lanka's seamers managed to take one wicket between them and that was Mitch Johnson, who showed while compiling a scratchy 38-ball 13 that he isn't a #7- a fact apparent to everybody but the Aussie selectors. Warner, Hughes and Clarke all helped themselves to runs and all got out to poor shots. The Sri Lankans missed a couple of sharp chances in the field. The DRS wasn't used correctly by SL and showed yet again that the decision should be ALWAYS be left to the 3 umpires (what's so hard to understand about that?). Aus has the lead, but less comfortably than if their running between the wickets hadn't been so dodgy.

    If SL could wrap up the innings for another 20 or so runs and then make 300 themselves, there might be some life left in this game. However, if the Aussies extend the lead beyond 100 and bowl SL out for 250 or less, it looks like another Aus win. Which is more likely?

  • on January 4, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    we have a chance here, all depend on our batting i second inning .one century oh we will win

  • bumsonseats on January 4, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    just reading the telegraph in the uk with warne saying brad hodge should be considered. can an aussie tell me is there another player of the same name, as far as i can see, he has not been selected for his state other than T20. geeze the cupboard is bare maybe all rounders is the way to go as he also hes also wanting andrew mcdonald in the party for the ashes, mind they are all Victorian so maybe hes tongue in cheek. i even i did not think it was that bad.

  • Herath-UK on January 4, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    Sri Lankans showed their high class moral principles by offering a guard to an average player but would the Aussies have such a capacity to reciprocate,I wonder,if so would be mighty please to hear. Sri Lanka can make a fist out of this Test if they battle hard to get a 200 odd lead and release my namesake Rangana on the drying pitch. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • jmcilhinney on January 4, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    No doubt Australia contributed to their own downfall today but not playing worse than the opposition is just as important as playing better. No doubt SL will be very disappointed to have put Wade down a couple of times. With him gone they could have potentially kept the deficit down to around 50. That's by no means a given though, as there's a few runs in the Australian tail. As it is now, they'll be lucky to keep it below 100 and a stirring second innings with the bat will be required to avoid defeat and then I'd expect some deterioration in the pitch would be required to give their bowlers a chance of pushing for victory.

  • VivGilchrist on January 4, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    @Tommytucker......, quite the bigmouth aren't we? Considering rain saved you in Brisbane and a compromised Aussie attack let you of the hook in Adelaide. Sad existence when you have to go around rubbishing other teams to build yourself up....

  • bumsonseats on January 4, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    just saw a good looking batter today who deserves another chance. marcus north had only a few chances to show his quality. there nothing else coming through and hes been an ashes looser before, so it will not hit him so hard when it happens again. he even has his bowling talent if lyon is dropped.

  • postandrail on January 4, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    TommytuckerSaffa Gracious of you to describe Australia as once mighty. Never heard that adjective used to describe SA or England though. Just never been good enough I suppose.

  • postandrail on January 4, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    TommytuckerSaffa Yes but SL haven't won it yet. Unlike the last time SL played in Durban and beat SA by what was it now? 208 runs I think. Now that is embarrassing and SA didn't even have the excuse of rebuilding as Australia does.

  • Test-is-the-best on January 4, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    It looks like Australian lower order set to extend the lead over 100 runs as Sri Lankan fielders and fast bowlers leaking runs after getting the top order out for 270 .

  • Test-is-the-best on January 4, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    The collective effort by the Sri Lankan fast bowlers at the end of day 2 is not much different to what I anticipated before this test match. However i do not need to blame them or the selection committee either as they sent the best fast bowlers at the beginning of this series. Unfortunately Sri Lanka lost No 1,2,3,4 fast bowlers ( Welagedara, Kulasekara,Eranga & Thisara) for this test match because of injuries or fitness issues.The Selection committee made a mistake in selecting Randiv as the 2nd Spinner for this squad as his recent record is not good enough to threaten Australian batsmen in any surface.Had Sri Lanka brought a spinner like Sachithra/Malinda or Ajantha Sri Lankan captain could have used two spinners with two fast bowlers to reduce the burden on Dilshan & Herath.

  • on January 4, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 .....

    Today Wade was dropped twice and had two very, very near misses. In his first century he was dropped on 22.

    He has dropped catches and missed stumpings this season.

    I obviously see his performance in a different light.

  • Flemo_Gilly on January 4, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    @Disco_bob hopefully they take Khawaja for the Indian series as he is in great form, back to bak 50s for the Thunder in the last few nights and he is looking good. Hughes looked very good today as well.@Shaggy076 agree with you that it makes no sense to play Johnson batting at 7, Khawaja must come in at 6.

  • on January 4, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    Finally, we're out of that period where scoring low-mid 200s all out is past us! Would be great for a Hussey century next innings, Wade looking responsible. Another great innings for Hughes, practically cemented his spot, Warner unlucky, wrong of him to 'go for it' on that occasion.

  • gnanzcupid on January 4, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    @for someone who is claiming sl team is better than nz,kindly follow the other test match which is happening sa vs nz. There are fighters in that team,i guess(though have to wait and see). With some real talent coming up in the name of brownlie. Happy to see young talents propping up. Nz team is playing without most of their seniors and they are showing promise,though only in the 2nd innings. In the battle for the worst team in the world,sl are overtaking nz well ahead for that spot. Their will own that spot permanently after the two 10k club members retire. Sl future is utterly bleak.

  • Jaffa79 on January 4, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    @ crh8971 are you serious? Having an Australian accuse you of arrogance is hillarious! You are the most one eyed, self congratulatory mob of hypocrites. What goes around, comes around boys. When you have sneeringly given it out to all and sundry for years through your obnoxious supporters and boorishly behaved team then expect it to come back at you. Aussies are not a great team at the moment; stop crying about it and take it on the chin. As my old teacher used to say to me as a child: if you can't take it, don't dish it out.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on January 4, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    Good fight from SL and I agree with other comments that both sides seem to have misread the pitch. All this makes for an interesting match between two enterprising sides. @crh8971 England? Success? Over the past 135 years it seems to me that England's extremely rare and fleeting moments of success occur between decades long periods of failure.

  • TheBigBoodha on January 4, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    LOL, @EdwardTLogan. What exactly is your point? Sack Warner because he scores too fast! Look, anytime we find an opener who averages 46, I say keep him. Or maybe he can try to bat like A. Cook. When he gets to 80 in 70 deliveries next time, he can shut up shop and block out the next 100 balls, mirroring Cook's strike rate. That way he'd get in his ball allotment. What do you think?

  • ajithabey on January 4, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Oh! for another genuine spinner for SL and aussies would have been groping.SCG has had the reputation of assisting spinners.Impossible to understand why the selectors on tour are not proactive in their thinking as all the genuine spinners are warming the bench. Afterall,SL pacies cannot match the aussie fast bowlers so SL should attack with all the spinners.Get them early tomorrow and bat sensibly Sri Lanka .You can win this game with a good strategy. Do't throw it away like the previous game.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on January 4, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    Australia picked the wrong team which forced them into the wrong choice at the toss which will, if SL can keep the lead under 100 and bat reasonably, probably cost them a Test defeat. Unfortunately at the end of this summer Australia arent that much further forward except that they know Ponting & Hussey HAVE to be replaced. As said Australia have a few batsmen(ie Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Khawaja) that they cant be sure of , a keeper and spinner both with L plates on and a revolving group of fast bowlers that they cant keep fit. It may all fall into place in the next 6 months but thats unlikely. When Australia regained the Ashes in 1989 I think they had 5 of their top 6 batsmen in place at the end of the losing 1986/7 series.

  • SherjilIslam on January 4, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Whoever Australia take to India....one thing is sure, Lyon and Mitchell Johnson are just ordinary.They cannot win matches in India.However Starc with his swinging abilities and Siddle with never giving up attitude can do some damage. Aus batting without Hussey i am not sure could do anything.Leaving Clarke/Watson/Warner, rest are just finding their feet.So the contest in India could be even and exciting.

  • RVC-38 on January 4, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    @rednwhite ...History tells me people USED to call Briton great, Englands football team USED to be called good, Englands Rugby team USED to be called average, and their cricket team USED to be able to win sometimes other than against India. how times have changed.

  • Nerk on January 4, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Was impressed by SL's feilding. Out of the three sub-continental teams that have toured in recent years, SL have been by far the best. Pakistan could and perhaps should have won the last test series they had here, but were ridiculously bad at catching, India seemed lethargic and uninterested, but SL have caught well, attacked the ball and have not been afraid to get their creams dirty. They have also had such enthusiasm in the field, seems like they are enjoying themselves. Australia can be a little disappointed today. Warner lived by the sword and died by the sword, but it was an exciting hit. Hughes should have gone on, but was troubled by spin which is worrying with India on the horizon. Same with Wade. Cowan has continued his habit of getting out stupidly. He'll have to bat with more determination. If he does that, he can be the perfect foil for the more aggressive Warner, so I won't be amongst those calling for his head just yet. Three exciting days to come... I hope!

  • Smithie on January 4, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    Left right batting combinations are a distinct advantage and the Aus line up risks looking left side heavy - which would make Swann very happy. The Poms will also have taken note that both Warner and Hughes scoring is heavily weighted between point and third man. Much work remains for Langer and Law to get the batting in prime order.

  • dunger.bob on January 4, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @ RednWhiteArmy on (January 04 2013, 04:07 AM GMT) : I agree with you for once. .. the configuration we have gone in with for this test has got to be some sort of lab experiment. .. they can't seriously be considering going to India with a balance like that. .. if they do, let's not forget the small matter of no Mike Hussey to guide them out of the pooh. .. suicidal thinking imo. .. please don't let it be so. .. It's got me as to whjat they were trying to prove with this mix. .. the only forced change from the previous test was Watson. .. I'm agnostic when it comes to Kawaja, but here in Syd. he would have been on the spinningest pitch in Oz up against the best spin bowler in the world wicket-wise in 2012. .. that sounds like a good bit of practice for India to me ! .. if not Ussy, then why not Maxwell, the alleged spin bowling all-rounder. .. I wouldn't have minded having a look at some-one like that in a dead rubber. Not with India next in line.

  • disco_bob on January 4, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    @EdwardTLogan "Warner is a liability - he is not there to score a run a ball 80" Classic. Warner a walking run-a-ball-80 wicket.

  • westsider on January 4, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    REDNWHITE ARMY.Agree with you Warner wont make 100 runs in the Tests in England He'll make in excess of 400.I Chappel, Taylor and CO who are as sound Judges of technique as you will find( and probably have forgotten more than you'll ever know )consider he has developed a very sound technique both off the front and back foot. He is a success in Tests these days and a failure in 20/20 and could be dropped from that format.He is currently batting with great control and is punching the ball through the field rather than playing the big shots.I'm in my 70's so have seen most of the greats and as a youngster played Grade cricket at the WACA bowling swing into the Doctor so consider myself able to access a batsman's strengths and weaknesses.If he continues to improve techniquely as he has over the past 12 months he will be a sensation by the time he is 28 .He has still only played a handful of 1st class games and yet has carried his bat on a green seamer in Tas when P,C & Huss failed

  • disco_bob on January 4, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy, calling Warner a T20 hack is fine because the fact is, (and he proved it by carrying his bat on a pitch that no one else could fathom) in 7 months it will be time for the argy bargy to take a backseat to the cricket. I'm sure that Clarke will have Cook for dinner. The fact that you aren't calling Hughes a 'walking wicket', shows that the reality of the task that faces you is beginning to dawn.

  • dunger.bob on January 4, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    At last we have a bit of a contest. SL have picked up their game and the Aussies are on a mistakeathon. Au started b4 a ball was bowled by picking a wierdly ill-balanced team that almost played chicken with a batting collapse. Hasn't happened yet but we should have to bat a second time in this test so there's still time for the poultry to hit the radiator. .. @Moppa .. agree re the pitch misread. That's oz's 3rd mistake hot on the heels of actually electing to bat last. (ie, sending SL in).. .. I'm sure this isn't the actual answer, but it's almost like Au are deliberately putting themselves under as much pressure as possible. .. I think they've got some agenda that doesn't necessarily have much to do with this series, but I'll be blowed if I can work it out.

  • on January 4, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    @ RednWhiteArmy .... odds are you are right.

    Warner, open with four slips and two gullies, and just pitch the ball outside off stump. Always goes for the big slash.

    Cowan, I am a fan, but I think that he is weak to a fast short ball just outside off stump.

    Hughes is looking good .... against SL .... but looks susceptible to dragging the ball back onto the stumps.

    Watson, will he last the series!!!

    Clarke, will his luck hold up!!!

    Wade, expect that he will drop a few and miss a few stumping. He will be a nice change up bowler if needed.

    Khawaja ..... not allowed to play, at least not against Test Bunnies who have five players out.

    To beat Australia all you have to do is take your chances when they are presented. Today Warner edged two through slips before he had scored 15 runs, Clarke lucky not to get a duck, Wade dropped on 3 and again on 22.

    Australia will need their quicks to fire ..... but I don't think that India will prepare suitable wickets for their talents.

  • RednWhiteArmy on January 4, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    @Shaggy076 My poor comments ey? Listen mate, the world had to put up with EXTREME aussie arrogance for about 10 years. My advice to you & all aussies: If you cant take it, you probably should'nt have dished it out so much. Enjoy the ashes.

  • Kolpak1989 on January 4, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    @RedNWhiteArmy, typically dopey Pom. Cowan, Hughes and Khawaja all have recent experience in English conditions and all 3 played very well there. Warner's average is comparable to Alastair Cook's in tests and anyone who thinks he is just a slogger obviously knows nothing about cricket. Granted he scores much faster than your blokes, but that isnt exactly unusual. Hughes has completely re-engineered himself and is a much more complete batsman than when he was last in the team, witness his feats dominating county cricket. Lyon is statistically a better bowler than Monty Panesar and I'm guessing is quite happy for arrogant Poms to write him off. You might be the one who is in for a rude shock my pasty friend.

  • stormy16 on January 4, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    SL will be he happier side as Aus were expected to score big and bat once but SL missed a couple of chances to take the initiative with dropped catches and missed reviews. At 270/5 with all front line batters gone, SL had their chance but credit to Wade and co who did well to build the lead to 48 which is already a vital lead. SL's aim should be to make sure Aus bat on the 5th day but for that to have any meaning SL must themselves bat well in the second innings when it really counts. The pitch will deteriorate and wont be easy to bat from now on. A lead of 100 will be enough for Aus I feel given SL's brittle batting in the series so all to play for on the 3rd day. Tomorrow will be the decisive day of the test one feels.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on January 4, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    Handy lead there... need to extend it to >130 tom. Wade looking good and should look to securing his 2nd test ton with Sidde very capable of a 50 of his own and this partnership mainly to see Aus to their desired lead. Then for the bowlers to do the clean up ...... don't think would be need to be chasing more than 50 in 2nd inn for the 3-0 sweep. And Wade is fast emerging as the best wk/Batsman in the world.....if not already. No reason why he can't be a 'poor man's' Adam Gilly with his talent.If he does so it's mighty good news for Aus cricket.... and more tough times of deep trouble awaiting the Poms- see 2 or 3 smashing 100s of his own @ no.7 at English bowlers' expense over the coming 2 Ashes series to d(r)own the Poms...ala Gilly... Keep it up!!

  • HowdyRowdy on January 4, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Australia needs Wade to keep going tomorrow morning, with support from the lower order. Not a pretty innings from Wade, but he plays better when forced by circumstances to put his head down and scrap. If he can get going tomorrow, he could made a crucial contribution with the bat.

  • kothumalli11 on January 4, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Fascinated to see all these (future) legendary SL seam bowlers making inroads into Aussie's batting line-up and successfully defending SL's first innings total and giving a slender lead. This is a great achievement for Sri Lanka cricket overseas. I wonder whether these below club standard bowlers at least watch how other countries seam bowlers are performing it and why they can't do. Another whitewash on the card (before 4th day lunch) and all the faithful and blind SL fans can compare how India lost to Aus & Eng and get self satisfaction. All they can do is just dwell in the past and lose matches after matches miserably in overseas (and also now in home soil).Good luck to SL cricket and its fans!!!!!

  • on January 4, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    MJ are you on nuts not to give Herath balling until Aussies pile up almost 150 runs.

  • Prabhash1985 on January 4, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Come on Sri Lankans, don't let them steal the runs... They keep giving you chances, you need to take them. Wrap this up quickly, and enter to the game. They can be really dangerous. Wish you all the best, and feeling good after a long time... :)

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 4, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    The once mighty australia stuggling with this Sri Lankan revised 2nd team. LOL Wade dropped twice too, not exactly a rock solid michael hussey is he? Shot a ball Warner continues to ride his luck, will this hit and hope stragegy pay off against quality bowling outfit like england in the ashes? Probably not.

  • colombo_SL on January 4, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Interesting to see how Sri Lankans play in their second innings. Lot of talented guys but not consistent. Lets See at least Dimuth Karunarathna can make a 50+ score in this series. He has spent 5 attempts to do that. yet to achieve a fifty.

  • colombo_SL on January 4, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    Sri Lanka is a weak test team & long way to go. I also think, Australia is not strong enough to claim the No.1 spot in test cricket.

  • colombo_SL on January 4, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    Australia's running between wickets was very poor. It gave Sri Lankans some hope.

  • Saishwat on January 4, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    The game still can go anywhere, only if Srilanka clear-up the Austrailian tail under the lead of 70-80. I would really want Srilanka to post a good total, so that I can see Mr. Cricket bat another innings.

  • colombo_SL on January 4, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    If we can achieve 230+ lead, it may be an interesting match to see. No confidence on our seam bowlers. But Dilshan & Herath may be handy in Australia's second innings. But, still Sri Lanka has a lot to do. This is just an innocent hope. Most important thing is, it is difficult but possible.

  • Chris_P on January 4, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    @trumpoz. I wouldn't worry, his role here is only for comic relief.

  • Sugath on January 4, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    Well it showed didn't it? Of the 6 wickets 3 to spinners and two run outs only one to seam. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses as otherwise you will never know what to do. Sri Lanka must realize that the strength is in spin and they hunt in pairs. Had Ajantha and Akils being there it would have been a different ball game.

    Just because Aussies had 4 fast bowlers, that does not mean we copy same too, and history shows that in test days barring Rumesh, Vaaz, malinga and to some extent Demel Lanka never had top fast men. Pradeep and Eranga need grooming and lakmal again disappointing. Had the selectors sent at least Mendis in place of lakmal it would have been different. Still a good fight, and the need is to shot out the other four in first half hour. May saner council prevail in future

  • colombo_SL on January 4, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    Well played Sri Lanka. At least, now we can see 4th day's play in Sydney. It is better to get remaining wickets as quickly as possible. Less than a 100 deficit may be handy.

  • Dismayed on January 4, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    rohanbala are you serious? Cowan is the epitomy of fighting 20's and 30's.He is also over 30 years of age. I agree on Watson, fragile body and do not like the way he drags himself around the field or runs between wickets but the NSP seem to want him, but Cowan must go to make room for better players he is never going to be the next Katich.

  • crh8971 on January 4, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy - it is one thing to be confident, another altogether to be arrogant and dismissive. But then again the Brits have never been able to combine success and humility. It is true that you will be facing a team very much in transition compared to the stability of the Poms but we are seeing the emergence of a handful of players who look like 100 test players. Warner, Hughes, Kawahja, Wade, Pattinson, Starc, Bird, Lyon and Cummins all have huge futures ahead of them. In fact I am confident our seam attack will have more edge and depth than yours which is overly reliant on Anderson.

  • trumpoz on January 4, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Good to see a pitch that takes spin from day 1. A good old Sydney wicket at last. Sri Lanka are in with a chance IV they can clean up and get a lead of about 150. @rednwhitearmy I'll have great pleasure seeing your dribble rammed back your throat in the future. It may not be in the coming Ashes series, but this time next year the English better make sure the urn is packed.

  • EdwardTLogan on January 4, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    Warner is a liability - he is not there to score a run a ball 80. He completely misreads how a match is progressing. He will be lucky to keep his place through the tour of India, let alone two Ashes series. And who is Australia's batting coach? Graeme Wood? Disgraceful to have one run out in a Test innings, let alone two. My eleven for the first Ashes Test in England would be Cowan, Hughes, Watson, Khawaja, Clarke, D Hussey, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Bird and either Starc or Lyon.

  • TheBigBoodha on January 4, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    @Moppa, I called it right yesterday when I wrote that SLs score was OK, and that the very dry nature of the wicket would make it increasingly difficult to score, meaning that Aust would not want to be chasing more than 200 in the last innings - but could very well be. One other poster was outraged by my take, and believed I was SLankan! Not so. I Just know a little bit about cricket.

  • SamRoy on January 4, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy Sehwag scored 80 in his first test in England and 100 in his second test in England and both as opener. Don't be surprised if Warner does the same or even better. He is the most talented of all Australian batsman barring Clarke. Anyway, England big time favourites to win/retain Ashes with inexperienced Australian batting.

  • Shaggy076 on January 4, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    RednWhiteArmy - Please a little over confident. Im sure before the last series of AUstralia COok and Strauss had been found out by the Aussies - How did that work for us? Cowan is struggling but generally has got us of to good starts, Warner I thought he was only a 20/20 hack when he started but his technique aint to bad a lot better than Sehwag's. His recent cricket record has been very good and Hughes has improved (much Like Cook did). Khawaja will play for Hussey . Mitchelll Johnson has beaten better sides than England ie South Africa and Lyon has been the fixture as a spinner for a long time. England are favourites and should be but your poor comments may come back and bite you.

  • rohanbala on January 4, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    @Dismayed.. Bringing back Watson in place of Cowan is not the answer to the top order problems. I feel the likes of Cowan and Usman are to be groomed for future roles. Can anyone explain or give one instance where Watson has played one entire series at a stretch? Australia does not need players to score mere 20s or 30s or bowlers who cannot bowl more than 6 or 7 overs.

  • RednWhiteArmy on January 4, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    @disco_bob The odds are that only 1 of your batsman in the upcoming ashes series will have experience in English conditions. Cowan is struggling in aussie conditions, Warner is a T20 hack & wont score 100 runs all series, Hughes has been figured out, Watson is not a real batsman, Clarke will need to be on form, Khwajahaa cant even get in the team, Wade is apparently a bowler, not a keeper & if your taking Mitchell Johnson & No spinner then id say your in for a rude shock. Enjoy.

  • Sugath on January 4, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    I said it earlier well before this test and I say it again. There was no reason to go with three seamers who are pretty ineffective and so far have proven it, quite ordinary. On the other hand i said to get Mendis with his new found mystics and Akila with his so far unseen mysteries in to the team. But what did the selectors do, sent Lakmal and so far no wickets. The other two are same. Spinners hunt in pairs and had Mendis and Akila been there would have greatly complimented Herath. Herath was very effective against Kiwis because he worked with Suraj. All I can say it is not Aussies but Lanka themselves digging the pit so that Aussies can end with possible white wash. There is lot of management thinking to do here and not just cricket, doing the SWOT for each match, matching your needs and wants with resources and working on psychographics of Aussie players.

  • Dismayed on January 4, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    Is this the 3rd or 4th run out Cowan has been involved in recently? Good time now to drop Cowan, Watson can come back into the top 3 along with the addition of D.Hussey the order of Warner, Watson, Hughes, Clarke, D.Hussey, S.Smith/D.Christian (an allrounder), Wade/Paine, Starc/Johnson, Siddle, Bird, Lyon/S.Okeefe looks well balanced to me and with plenty of options for all conditions. Make it happen Inverarity.

  • Dismayed on January 4, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    Is this the 3rd or 4th run out Cowan has been involved in recently? Good time now to drop Cowan, Watson can come back into the top 3 along with the addition of D.Hussey the order of Warner, Watson, Hughes, Clarke, D.Hussey, S.Smith/D.Christian (an allrounder), Wade/Paine, Starc/Johnson, Siddle, Bird, Lyon/S.Okeefe looks well balanced to me and with plenty of options for all conditions. Make it happen Inverarity.

  • Sugath on January 4, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    I said it earlier well before this test and I say it again. There was no reason to go with three seamers who are pretty ineffective and so far have proven it, quite ordinary. On the other hand i said to get Mendis with his new found mystics and Akila with his so far unseen mysteries in to the team. But what did the selectors do, sent Lakmal and so far no wickets. The other two are same. Spinners hunt in pairs and had Mendis and Akila been there would have greatly complimented Herath. Herath was very effective against Kiwis because he worked with Suraj. All I can say it is not Aussies but Lanka themselves digging the pit so that Aussies can end with possible white wash. There is lot of management thinking to do here and not just cricket, doing the SWOT for each match, matching your needs and wants with resources and working on psychographics of Aussie players.

  • RednWhiteArmy on January 4, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    @disco_bob The odds are that only 1 of your batsman in the upcoming ashes series will have experience in English conditions. Cowan is struggling in aussie conditions, Warner is a T20 hack & wont score 100 runs all series, Hughes has been figured out, Watson is not a real batsman, Clarke will need to be on form, Khwajahaa cant even get in the team, Wade is apparently a bowler, not a keeper & if your taking Mitchell Johnson & No spinner then id say your in for a rude shock. Enjoy.

  • rohanbala on January 4, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    @Dismayed.. Bringing back Watson in place of Cowan is not the answer to the top order problems. I feel the likes of Cowan and Usman are to be groomed for future roles. Can anyone explain or give one instance where Watson has played one entire series at a stretch? Australia does not need players to score mere 20s or 30s or bowlers who cannot bowl more than 6 or 7 overs.

  • Shaggy076 on January 4, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    RednWhiteArmy - Please a little over confident. Im sure before the last series of AUstralia COok and Strauss had been found out by the Aussies - How did that work for us? Cowan is struggling but generally has got us of to good starts, Warner I thought he was only a 20/20 hack when he started but his technique aint to bad a lot better than Sehwag's. His recent cricket record has been very good and Hughes has improved (much Like Cook did). Khawaja will play for Hussey . Mitchelll Johnson has beaten better sides than England ie South Africa and Lyon has been the fixture as a spinner for a long time. England are favourites and should be but your poor comments may come back and bite you.

  • SamRoy on January 4, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy Sehwag scored 80 in his first test in England and 100 in his second test in England and both as opener. Don't be surprised if Warner does the same or even better. He is the most talented of all Australian batsman barring Clarke. Anyway, England big time favourites to win/retain Ashes with inexperienced Australian batting.

  • TheBigBoodha on January 4, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    @Moppa, I called it right yesterday when I wrote that SLs score was OK, and that the very dry nature of the wicket would make it increasingly difficult to score, meaning that Aust would not want to be chasing more than 200 in the last innings - but could very well be. One other poster was outraged by my take, and believed I was SLankan! Not so. I Just know a little bit about cricket.

  • EdwardTLogan on January 4, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    Warner is a liability - he is not there to score a run a ball 80. He completely misreads how a match is progressing. He will be lucky to keep his place through the tour of India, let alone two Ashes series. And who is Australia's batting coach? Graeme Wood? Disgraceful to have one run out in a Test innings, let alone two. My eleven for the first Ashes Test in England would be Cowan, Hughes, Watson, Khawaja, Clarke, D Hussey, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Bird and either Starc or Lyon.

  • trumpoz on January 4, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Good to see a pitch that takes spin from day 1. A good old Sydney wicket at last. Sri Lanka are in with a chance IV they can clean up and get a lead of about 150. @rednwhitearmy I'll have great pleasure seeing your dribble rammed back your throat in the future. It may not be in the coming Ashes series, but this time next year the English better make sure the urn is packed.

  • crh8971 on January 4, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy - it is one thing to be confident, another altogether to be arrogant and dismissive. But then again the Brits have never been able to combine success and humility. It is true that you will be facing a team very much in transition compared to the stability of the Poms but we are seeing the emergence of a handful of players who look like 100 test players. Warner, Hughes, Kawahja, Wade, Pattinson, Starc, Bird, Lyon and Cummins all have huge futures ahead of them. In fact I am confident our seam attack will have more edge and depth than yours which is overly reliant on Anderson.