Ford defends Sri Lanka's use of DRS
Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has defended his side's poor use of the DRS on day two in Sydney, after they burnt a review in Rangana Herath's first over, but did not refer an lbw shout that would have been turned in their favour a few overs later.
Sri Lanka could have had Michael Clarke out first ball when Herath struck him on the pad with one that pitched outside off stump and straightened, but were unsure if Clarke had inside edged a ball onto his pad. The unsuccessful review had been another lbw chance off David Warner, where the ball was not projected to hit enough of the stumps to overturn the original decision. Clarke went on to make 50.
"It was tough for Mahela [Jayawardene]," Ford said. "I think he wanted reviews intact. Having blown one he was reluctant to blow another one unless he was absolutely sure that it was out. I think the captain tries to get as much information as possible from close fielders, like what the height was, and he has to follow his gut feeling.
"It all happens quickly and standing in the slips, it's very hard for Mahela. If they had reviewed that and maybe if one or two chances stuck today, and a couple of things had gone our way, we would have been in a better position. Although we are still in the game, we could have been in a powerful position."
Australia finished 48 runs ahead of Sri Lanka at stumps, with four first-innings wickets still in hand. However the SCG pitch has already shown signs of dryness on day two. With Australia having to bat last, Ford was hopeful a strong second-innings performance might take the visitors close to a maiden win in Australia.
"We know we are in the game. We have fought hard and deserve to be in the game, because of the spirit and the fight we've shown. We're well aware that it's going to be tough from here on, but we certainly haven't been blown away and we are sitting in a much better position than at the MCG. We will take heart from that. A number of young players have come in and shown that they have the guts and desire to play at this level."
Ford also praised Jayawardene's knock on day one, which helped set a positive tone for Sri Lanka's first innings, as their captain collected 72 from 110 balls, hitting 12 fours and a six. Jayawardene had struggled in the first two Tests, in which he made 12, 19, 3 and 0.
"It was fantastic to see him go out and play so well. It shows what a fantastic leader he is. He was up for the challenge and went up the order and batted at three. He played superbly and I was hopeful he would get a hundred as this is his last Test match as captain, but I am sure he will have a bigger role to play in the second innings."
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here