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The Bulletin by Jenny Thompson
November 10, 2007
Sri Lanka 2 for 80 (Vandort 15*, M Jayawardene 8*) and 211 (Atapattu 51, Lee 4-26) trail Australia 4 for 551 dec by 260 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Australia's new era continued to look much like their old one as they dominated mercilessly at the Gabba for a third day, forcing Sri Lanka to follow-on a massive 340 runs behind. The visitors then lost both openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu to complete a miserable day.
Ricky Ponting has been prone to batting again to give his bowlers a rest, so his decision to make Sri Lanka follow on may have raised a few eyebrows, but it was not entirely unexpected. Sri Lanka, with the odd exception, haven't batted well all tour and they were well behind when their first innings closed.
It was an innings notable for Mitchell Johnson's first Test wicket and Brett Lee's 4 for 26, while Stuart MacGill nudged closer to 200 Test victims after eventually breaking through in the final session following some excellent, but hitherto unrewarded, toil. He will begin day four needing one more for the milestone.
Wickets, though, didn't come as easily as the scoreline may suggest. The bowlers certainly found it hard work on a pitch that remained good for batting, but once they had prised out the big guns by tea, the tail folded shortly after the break.
Stuart Clark opened the day by finding the captain Mahela Jayawardene's edge in the third over, but the biggest cheers were reserved for Johnson's first Test wicket, that of Thilan Samaraweera. Johnson may have had to wait a year to make his debut, after being 12th man for the entire Ashes series, but he needed only eight overs to open his account, angling across the batsman with good pace and bounce, inducing a prod and sparking celebrations.
Atapattu then took root and played out a battling 51, compiled over 183 deliveries. His great powers of concentration had flickered with a pop back just short of Lee, but they finally gave out when he pulled Johnson uppishly to Michael Clarke.
Chamara Silva's quickfire 40 brightened up play, although he dodged two bullets before falling, with two drops off MacGill - Adam Gilchrist on 13, and Clarke off a pull on 20. Silva batted like a man who wasn't aware his team were 4 for 65 when he came in. He blazed here, he flashed there, and at last there was some of the spark and aggression that Sri Lanka had promised coming into the series. He finally sent one slash too many, off Stuart Clark over to Clarke, who made no mistake this time at wide short third man, having just been moved there by Ponting.
Sri Lanka soon reverted to defence mode, eschewing the singles, as Australia's hungry attack clamped down with tight lines and lengths. Then came the post-tea procession where they lost 4 for 30.
Farveez Maharoof was bowled by Andrew Symonds before the new ball was due, with MacGill then bowling the left-hander Chaminda Vaas for 8, clipping the rough as it spun back in to him and took middle stump. MacGill was particularly impressive around the wicket, landing the wrong'un well and often deceiving the batsmen. Over the wicket, he allowed them room to cut.
Three balls after Lee had taken the new ball, he trapped Prasanna Jayawardene on 37 with a full delivery on off which swung late. Lee made it four when Dilhara Fernando straight-pulled to Johnson for a comfortable catch at mid-on.
Atapattu then found himself back out in the middle, two hours after Johnson had dismissed him. He and Jayasuriya added a solid 53 for the first wicket before he gloved one down leg off a jubilant Symonds. Jayasuriya played with his usual flair before departing just before stumps to bring up Lee's fifth wicket of the match, edging to first slip where Ponting gratefully accepted following another good decision to bring Lee back on.
The day finished with Australia's tails up and Sri Lanka's heads down and it will take something remarkable for the visitors to salvage anything from this match, as they still trail by 260 runs. Australia, meanwhile, will return on Sunday with the chance to wrap up the series opener inside four days.
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