Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 3rd day January 5, 2013

Australia tighten grip on Test


Sri Lanka 294 and 225 for 7 (Karunaratne 85, Jayawardene 60) lead Australia 432 for 9 dec (Wade 102*, Hughes 87, Herath 4-95) by 87 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Australia tightened their hold on the Sydney Test on the third day and stand an excellent chance of sealing a clean sweep against Sri Lanka. Matthew Wade scored his second Test century in front of a raucous crowd engulfing the venue in a sea of pink on Jane McGrath day, and stretched his team's lead to 138 before Michael Clarke declared. Half-centuries from Dimuth Karunaratne and Mahela Jayawardene gave Sri Lanka hope, not just of recovery but even putting Australia under pressure in the fourth innings, but much of it was crushed by a middle-order implosion in good conditions for batting.

The opener Karunaratne and captain Jayawardene had taken Sri Lanka to within six runs of erasing the deficit, after the early loss of Tillakaratne Dilshan, but Australia wrested the control they had achieved at the end of their innings. Karunaratne, let off on 54 but solid for the bulk, drove at a fullish, reverse-swinging, delivery from Jackson Bird in the final session to feather one to the keeper. Hot Spot didn't capture any heat signature - Karunaratne did not call for a review after being given out - but Snicko later indicated there may have been a nick. Sri Lanka still had the batting to guide them to a competitive lead but much of the damage they suffered from then on was self-inflicted.

Lahiru Thirimanne impressed with 91 in the first innings but failed while trying to hook a quick, short ball from Mitchell Johnson, top-edging it to fine leg. Thilan Samaraweera, inexplicably and totally out of character, charged out to Nathan Lyon third ball, only to miscue it to Michael Hussey, who took a well-judged catch running back from mid-off. Angelo Mathews called and ran after playing one to midwicket but met an unresponsive Jayawardene, who stayed his ground as David Warner dived, collected and returned an accurate throw to Wade to catch the batsman short. When Jayawardene nicked a wide one from Peter Siddle to first slip, Sri Lanka had lost five for 46, leaving Dinesh Chandimal and the tail too much to achieve to test the hosts.

Australia were largely disciplined when they bowled but that didn't prevent Karunaratne and Jayawardene from scoring fluently, both displaying ease and confidence in their century stand. The only threat of discomfort on the pitch for the batsmen was some uneven bounce, but Karunaratne set the tone for the stand as early as the first over. Karunaratne has a tall frame, doesn't have too much flourish in his shot-making, but showed he is especially strong on the off side while being an excellent timer of the ball. He dispatched Mitchell Starc for two boundaries in the first over, chopping him past point then driving a half-volley past mid-off.

The seamers tried to bowl tight lines but occasionally provided width, allowing Karunaratne to be expansive. He scored freely through cover and point, and drove well on the up against Starc, whom he took for four boundaries. He even stepped out to Nathan Lyon, launching him for a six and four past long-on. Jayawardene looked assured, worked the ball around for singles and twos despite the field being brought in and collected boundaries with ease. He scored off Starc on either side behind the wicket, and pulled well, cracking Starc and Bird for fours through square leg. But his own anxiety and frustration grew as he saw two of his partners throw their wickets away, and it wasn't long before he, too, made his way back.

The role played by Wade, who found able partners in Siddle and Bird, in extending the lead to 138 acquired greater significance once Sri Lanka's batting began to unravel after tea. The hundred was still a distant landmark for Wade when the day began, as the priority appeared to be improving Australia's position from one of a slight advantage to greater control. Wade was busy, running hard and occasionally attempting the aggressive shot, but also timed the ball superbly, his first four being just a punch past point off Suranga Lakmal. Siddle fell when he edged Nuwan Pradeep to the keeper - ending a 77-run stand for the seventh wicket - and Rangana Herath hit back with two wickets in quick succession.

Three men in the deep on the off side were not enough to prevent Wade from slicing Pradeep over point as he stepped up his attacking game further with just one wicket in hand; as he watched the field move back in, he picked up a boundary past gully by opening the face. He smashed Pradeep over extra cover, then neatly clipped him past midwicket for two more fours. Bird, at the other end, not only survived but scored during his short stay, long enough for Wade to reach his landmark. In what was to be the last over of the innings, Wade pierced a packed off-side field in the deep to cream Lakmal for two fours, the second of which brought up his century and sparked wild celebrations with an expectant SCG joining in.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Supun on January 6, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    @ JAyzuz - Umpires and commentators are assigned for doing an impartial job. Thats why they are paid. They have code of ethics to be bounded for. Do you think there are impartial fans exists on this earth. Are you such a fan???. Stop making funny comments mate. If fans are impartial the organizers cannot make money out of these tournaments

  • Graham on January 6, 2013, 1:52 GMT

    DocVInny - Not sure what game you are watching that was a clear catch by Clarke, Mahela watched it go into his hands. Mahela was convinced it was out as was Clarke and you come on here and say that Clarke lacks integrity. I thought most Sri Lankan cricketers and fans were gentleman, not sure your comments reflect that.

  • Edward T on January 6, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    Yet again Warner fails when he is required to play a patient innings. He will be found out in India and in the Ashes. Anyone want to wager he will still be opening in Tests at the end of next summer?

  • Graham on January 6, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    RandyOz - Dont get too carried away yes the Aussies have been clearly dominant but I would say this is one of the sloppiest games of cricket they have played for a long time. First mistake, putting the opposition in on a batting wicket and then poor bowling in those first couple of hours. Then batting there were many reckless dismissals and run outs like we were going to win in a canter. Followed up by a very average second innings bowling and fielding performance, particular Starc poor, Siddle going through the motions and thought Bird was over-confident attacking the stumps like every ball was going to be a wicket and an average keeping display by Wade. Think we need to switch back on before taking on India.

  • Graham on January 6, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge, Tommt Tucker Saffa nice of you to put the boot into Lyon again on his figures alone. I doubt you watch the game as he does turn the ball. He could easily have had Karunaratne out early in his spell but Wade dropped the catch through poor foot work, also same with Prasad another dropped by Wade. He also had Thirimane out LBW but somehow DRS showed that a ball that looked clearly to be hitting the stumps to be going over. If playing in India like Panesar, Swann recently he would have got this dismissal too - giving him 4 wickets for the innings and taking Australia to an innings victory. Sometimes when bowlers are out of luck they cop those figures yet clearly have performed better.

  • Graham on January 6, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    Jayantha Weerasinghe - "cricket is a gentlemans game, hope more gentleman become umpires" - very ungentleman like that comment. Lets look at the game in whole the decisions that are incorrect or have been overturned, firstly Thirimane in the first innings to a full ball that just looked out, half the ball pitched on leg stump and I still believe it should have been given out. This was overturned but you cant blame the umpire for giving it. THe Clarke LBW - I have only seen a quick replay but he was down the pitch and to the naked eye it didnt look out, Clarke got the advantage of playing forward which Thirimane didnt. Same second innings Thirimane caught on the crease to Lyon, somehow miraculous saved by DRS showing that the ball was going over, watching it i still dont believe that was going over and Thirimane was saved. You know what is ungentlemanly, the way Dilshan appeals and him standing at the crease after being clearly out. THe umpires have had no effect on the game.

  • Janaka on January 6, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    Well played Chandi and Pradeep. Lakmal should have done better than that. You did really well to bring 141. Defending against the Aussie bowling is really hard, and you showed the commitment, and eager to stay alive in the match. Great work. Keep fighting, we have a chance. Don't give up. And don't give any run easily. Now, it's time for the bowlers!

  • David on January 6, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    Sri Lanka are building a score which may test Australia's arrogNce in this match. By arrogance I take issue with the following bewildering decisions (especially with the SCG in mind): Firstly taking one less batsman into the match (four fast bowlers in Sydned..please); Secondly, winning the toss and batting second against a side with good spinners(the SCG and Adelaide are the two tests where winning the toss and batting first significantly increase your chances of winning); Thirdly, declaring without squeezing as many runs out of the last wicket partnership (the test had not hit the halfway point).

  • disco on January 6, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    @Moppa, don't forget FFL's alter ego TTS.

  • disco on January 6, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    @dunger.bob however on this occasion we are certain to have Mr Cricket himself opening the chase. Unless I have seriously misread Clarke's style.

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