Australia Chairman's XI v Sri Lankans, Adelaide October 29, 2007

Sri Lankans end with draw

Sri Lankans 6 for 368 dec and 2 for 125 (Jayawardene 52, Samaraweera 41*) drew with Australia Chairman's XI 409 (Mash 95, Hughes 49, Plant 124, Heal 58)
Scorecard



Tom Plant's hundred for the Chairman's XI ensured the tour match finished in a draw © Getty Images

The Sri Lankans flew into Adelaide last week looking for a handy work-out in the lead-up to the Tests. They certainly received one, albeit perhaps surprisingly as the Chairman's XI, mainly comprised of state rejects, swept aside their not-so-great expectations in a well-fought draw.

Tom Plant, a South Australian, rose to the occasion on the final day with a century in front of a home crowd of 150, picking up where Lloyd Mash had left off on the second, giving the Sri Lankan bowlers a thorough working over. Aaron Heal also added a strong half-century to boost them to a 41-run first-innings lead.

With Sanath Jayasuriya struggling with a heavy cold, Michael Vandort was given the chance to open, but he made 14, while Marvan Atapattu couldn't build on his first-innings fifty, with 15. Both fell early to Mick Lewis: Vandort trapped in front, Atapattu caught and bowled. Jayasuriya's first-innings hundred should be enough to seal his Test spot, if he wasn't inked in already.

Mahela Jayawardene then rediscovered some confidence - after two drops when fielding and a first-innings duck - with an innovative fifty, brought up in style with a lofted straight hit, but he soon fell to Cullen Bailey with a soft drive to mid-off reminiscent of his first-innings end. Thilan Samaraweera took over, and was on his quiet way to a second half-century when play was called off an hour early.

The Sri Lankan bowlers missed Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga, who were rested, while their pace attack was down to two on the last day - Dilhara Fernando and Farveez Maharoof - as Chanaka Welegedera sat out with a thigh strain.

Welegedera is unlikely to feature in the Tests, but more concerning will be the fitness of Kumar Sangakkara, after scans revealed a tear to his left hamstring. Whether he will be fit for the next practice match - he had time for only one run in the first innings before the injury - remains to be seen.

Fernando continued to bowl well, while Maharoof cleaned up the tail, but overall the attack lacked penetration and the batsmen were happy to profit. Plant shot up a gear from yesterday on his way to a hundred, finally showing some aggression, with several pulls off Muttiah Muralitharan.

He climbed into Maharoof with a few extra-cover cuts, a straight drive and late cut to bring up his hundred. He won't, though, be adding it to his one first-class ton from ten matches, as this doesn't count as a first-class game.

Muralitharan, at least, is warming up nicely in his first cricket for two months following a bicep injury in August. He took three wickets on the final day to end with 4 for 122, took a catch and was involved in a run-out. These could be the last overs he bowls before the Tests, as he is likely to sit out the other warm-up, with Malinga Bandara coming in.

Muralitharan gave his side a great start to the day with two quick wickets. The captain Luke Ronchi misjudged the second ball, his first, then Bailey moved backwards to a quicker ball to be trapped for 3. Bailey's dismissal, continued a frustrating match for him, with his leg-spin pummelled on the first day, although he had the wicket of Jayawardene as consolation.

The Sri Lankans dropped several catches in the morning - which Jayawardene later admitted was due to lack of concentration - but pulled it back in the afternoon session. Muralitharan had a hand in three of the four wickets to fall, first removing Heal for 58 courtesy of Atapattu's throw. Lewis contributed a breezy 12 but soon shuffled one over to Atapattu off a short ball from Farveez Maharoof. This triggered the slide in which the home side lost three wickets for one run in ten balls.

Plant top-edged a sweep off Muralitharan to end his six-and-a-half hour vigil - Mahela Jayawardene finally clinging on after dropping two, including Plant on 70. Paul Rofe quickly followed, with a skyer off Maharoof to a back-pedalling Muralitharan at mid-off. At last their fielding looked sharp.

The Sri Lankans, who entered the match promising aggression, now head to Queensland with some thinking to do. Their adjustment to conditions in Australia is only just beginning.

Jenny Thompson is an associate editor at Cricinfo