Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 4th day January 6, 2013

Cheers for an Australian wicket

Plays of the day from the fourth day of the SCG Test between Australia and Sri Lanka

The throw
Australia had two run-outs in their first innings, and Sri Lanka would have matched them in their second, had Matthew Wade's underarm gone anywhere near its intended target. Rangana Herath had tucked Mitchell Johnson into the leg side, and was charging back for the second run, but despite having travelled more than two thirds of the pitch, was sent back by Dinesh Chandimal. The throw came into the keeper's end, before Herath had even begun his trek back, but Wade's underarm lob flew high over Johnson and towards mid-off, allowing Herath to return safely.

The red herring
Even before Sri Lanka took the field, Dinesh Chandimal's resistance on the fourth morning had given rise to hope that the visitors could achieve an upset victory, like South Africa did at the SCG in 1994, when they defeated Australia by five runs. That hope intensified in the second over, when David Warner edged Suranga Lakmal to second slip, leaving Australia at 1 for 0. But although wickets fell regularly during Australia's chase, they never threatened a collapse, and achieved the 3-0 whitewash with five wickets remaining.

The farewell
With the match drawing quickly to a close, only a modest crowd turned out to see Michael Hussey's final day as an international cricketer, but they were treated to a video celebrating his career in the innings break, narrated by Hussey himelf. In the video Hussey recounted childhood cricket memories accompanied by footage of him playing in the backyard with his brother, and explained why he didn't like the title "Mr. Cricket". "There are better cricketers in the world, and players who know much more about the game," he said. "But I don't know if anyone loved it more than me."

The cheer
Rarely have the Sydney crowd been moved to applaud an Australian wicket, but they could not have been happier to see the back of Michael Clarke for 29, with Hussey in next. The previous evening they had chanted "Give Huss a bowl", until Clarke did, and after Clarke and Cowan had neared Australia's target enough to make the game safe, the chants of "Huuu-sseeey" began again. Clarke succumbed to the crowd again before long, and Hussey was at the crease when the winning run was hit.

The bequeathal
The Australian team song has a storied history, and to date, has had seven custodians: Rod Marsh, Allan Border, Ian Healey, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer and Michael Hussey. Upon his retirement, it was Hussey's task to choose a successor, and to the surprise of some, he announced he had given the song to offspinner Nathan Lyon, because he felt Lyon "was a man of great character".

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Patrick on January 7, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    @Imsrk, it speaks for itself mate

  • Rahul on January 7, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    @PFEL. Look who is talking abt sprit of gAme .

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    HUSSEY ! really an great batsman of his time nd most importantly he played at a time when the best batsman of Australia were retiring nd this man held the australian middle order in a fantastic manner Hats off to great man !!!!!!!!!!11111

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    @stormy16 the "rule" is, it can't be the captain leading the team song. To everyone else, the only person who chooses the player to take on the leading of the team song, is the person handing it over. I too was surprised by Hussey's choice, but he knows more than anyone, who was ready to take it on. My understanding, is that it is given to those most passionate. So maybe there is a side to N. Lyon that we the public don't see. Go Huss you good thing, sorry you were shafted today by Inverarity. :(

  • Patrick on January 6, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    BTW, Wade's throw was forced upon him by Herath. By the new laws he should have undoubtedly been dismissed for obstructing the field, as there is absolutely no doubt he was deliberatly getting in the way of the throw. But given the state of the game (Aus going to win comfortably) and fantastic Australian sportsmanship (they're no India or England), no appeal was even considered.

  • Patrick on January 6, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    As terrible as FrontFootLunge's trolling posts usually are, I have to agree with him on this one. Lyon is nowhere near up to standard, and his current stats have been skewed by mediocre opposition, a gifted 5/34 on a dustbowl on debut where any club spinner would take wickets, and Michael Clarke always bringing him on when the tail comes in --> and frequently Lyon ends up with 2 or 3 tail end wickets after having no effect against the batsman. He is never going to be "the best off spinner Australia's produced", and at best he may develop into an Ashley Giles like bowler who can hold up an end. For these reasons the decision to make him the Singer of the Victory song is baffling, as it has always in the past been a player with an assured position in the side, and usually in both forms of the game. For these reasons it's surprising David Warner didn't get the gig. Seems suited to his personality aswell.

  • xxxxx on January 6, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    Two close, entertaining matches so 3-0 seems unfair on SL. Mitch J was on fire at the MCG and all opposition teams, even the top ones (South Africa & Pakistan) have trouble when he is in his best form. Excellent batting (Clarke, Dilly, Sanga, Wade), excellent bowling (Johnson, Bird, Herath ), new stars (Bird, Thirimanne, Chandimal) and above all attractive test cricket played by both sides with a great intent to win. Sad that this will be the last test cricket in Aus for some of the SL batting greats but this series has been test cricket as it was meant to be played.

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Ffl, lets consider too that Lyon has taken only 1 less 5 wicket haul in his 20? tests than Freddie Flintoff did in 70+, and I reckon his strike rate and avg are both a touch better

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    I was well chuffed Lyon got the gig, he clearly has tge respect of the most respected man in Australian cricket ... amd his team mates based on their congratulations. He has done very well os and lets not forget his first class career is tiny. Congrats to Clark for throwing him the ball as much as he did ... all Lyon needs is more time, the support of his team and he will be the best fingerspinner Australia has produced ...

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    A bit harsh Front-foot lunge, you have to remember that subcontinent teams are more comfortable against spin, and the pitch wasn't turning that much, there was still a fair bit of grass on the pitch. Lyon has bowled very well overseas and showed his worth by taking 12 wickets in the Aus-SA series, it's worth remembering that replacements won't be any better and finger spin is largely ineffective in Australian conditions.

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