Mash leads strong Chairman's XI reply
Australia Chairman's XI 4 for 262 (Mash 95, Hughes 49, Plant 63*, Ronchi 0*) trail Sri Lankans 6 for 368 dec (Jayasuriya 154, Atapattu 56, Vandort 55, Samaraweera 71) by 106 runs
Lloyd Mash made a stylish 95 to lead a strong reply for the Chairman's XI on the second day in Adelaide. Mash dodged the showers, the bouncers and three missed catches and then Tom Plant chipped in with an unbeaten 63 to leave the home side on 4 for 262 at stumps.
The Sri Lankans may have rested their two premier fast bowlers, Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga, but the left-hander Mash still played with a composure and forthrightness that provided a useful test of their attack. Doug Bollinger also gave their batsmen a good working over, removing both Jehan Mubarak and Thilan Samaraweera to prompt the declaration midway through the morning.
Mash played cleanly, driving crisply on a benign surface to take the attack to the tourists, but Dilhara Fernando, who bowled well throughout and was the pick, could have had him on 17. Mahela Jayawardene, though, put down the simple chance at second slip.
Mash then came down the track to Muttiah Muralitharan on 47, and flicked to short leg who missed the low catch. Mash made his ground quickly as the ball came to Prasanna Jayawardene, covering well behind the stumps for the injured Kumar Sangakkara. Mash was then missed on 72, also off Muralitharan.
Sangakkara is unlikely to play the next tour match after straining his left hamstring while batting yesterday, although his coach Trevor Bayliss said he should make the first Test, which starts on November 8 in Brisbane. "It's not the greatest, very stiff at the moment. They're keeping a close eye on him and they will probably send him for scans. He wanted to keep batting the other day but we had to call him off."
Chanaka Welegedara, Sri Lanka's left-arm fast bowler, also caused the management further concern by limping off with a strain to his right leg, while Plant later smashed a pull into Mubarak's leg. Mubarak, though, carried on fielding.
Mash finally succumbed to Fernando, who struck immediately upon his reintroduction into the attack in the 49th over, caught behind at the second attempt by Prasanna Jayawardene, who proved a worthy deputy with three catches behind the stumps. Fernando then picked up Callum Ferguson in his next over, trapping him for 5.
Plant picked up the reins from Mash, but had to battle hard for his runs. He was dropped on 40 at second slip, preventing Maharoof from getting his first wicket. His endeavours were rewarded with a half-century ground out from 168 balls, and he shared a fourth-wicket stand of 90 with 18-year-old Philip Hughes.
Hughes was heading for his own half-century before getting stumped in Muralitharan's last over of the day. The left-hander had batted with authority and wasn't shy of getting after Muralitharan, but in the end paid the price.
Muralitharan found some encouraging turn from the off, but picked up just the one wicket in his 30 overs despite causing problems and forcing the batsmen to play watchfully. Despite the huge talk in the build-up to this tour about crowd trouble, he had little to worry about here at the Oval: there were hardly any spectators. Indeed, the biggest threat came from the rain which caused three stoppages in the middle session, while the fielders struggled on a cold, windy day and spilled several catches.
Yet overall, it was a day of hard graft for the bowlers who picked up only one wicket in the afternoon: Greg Moller (33) edging a difficult catch to Prasanna Jayawardene off Welegedara, but not before he had put on 79 with Mash.
The Sri Lankan batsmen also struggled at times in the morning, thanks to Bollinger. With the pitch having quickened overnight, he favoured the short stuff and his two wickets were well deserved.
Mubarak fell early on 7, gloving a short one to gully where Plant took a good catch, tumbling forward, while Samaraweera skewed a thick edge to backward point, driving at a wide one. It was an unfortunate end to a good innings of 71 and, as the last recognised batsman, his fall signalled the declaration.
Bollinger, who has been bowling well in state games but missed out for New South Wales to make room for Brett Lee, has so far taken his chance here to impress - although he continued to struggle with no-balls.
Jenny Thompson is an associate editor at Cricinfo