Australia v Sri Lanka 2007-08 / News

Plays of the day

Johnson picks his first and Lee umpires

Peter English at the Gabba

November 10, 2007

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Sanath Jayasuriya provided some entertainment during his 49-ball 39 (file photo) © Getty Images
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First of many
The opening success of a Test career that had been tipped a decade earlier came in Mitchell Johnson's eighth over. Dennis Lillee discovered Johnson's promise when the bowler was a teenager and after a bumpy journey he made it to the big time, picking up Thilan Samaraweera and Marvan Atapattu in Sri Lanka's first innings. Johnson was mobbed by his team-mates after the first breakthrough. He did manage a small wave and fist clench to his girlfriend after escaping the throng.

Sanath strikes
Sanath Jayasuriya was unlucky in the first innings and he quickly aimed his frustration at Brett Lee when Sri Lanka batted for a second time. A pulled six was followed by a flick to midwicket and a slash over slips earned a third breath-taking boundary in three balls. His late-afternoon attack of 39 from 49 balls provided entertainment and brief hope.

Successful intervention
Governments are always attacked for ridiculous decisions so some praise is due for Gamini Lokuge, the Sri Lankan sports minister, who insisted Marvan Atapattu tour Australia. Without Atapattu's gumption the tourists' first innings would have fallen before tea and his 51 off 183 balls showed it was possible to hold off the Australians.

Spills and MacGill
Adam Gilchrist had a chance to take catches for the first five dismissals when Chamara Silva cut an edge off Stuart MacGill. The ball rebounded from Gilchrist's gloves and MacGill's push to 200 wickets was delayed further when Michael Clarke spilled another Silva offering while lunging at square leg. MacGill performed well without reward until he bowled Chaminda Vaas, but still needs another wicket to reach the milestone.

Sticking your neck out
A dive to beat an Andrew Symonds throw became a pain in the neck for Prasanna Jayawardene. The physio Tommy Simsek sprinted out to administer treatment immediately and at the following drinks break, but while Jayawardene was hurting it didn't affect his batting. He battled to a gusty 37 before being lbw to Lee.

Umpire or bowler
If Lee's post-bowling career had not already been mapped out for Bollywood he might have been applying for an umpiring job when he had Prasanna Jayawardene lbw. Lee, who was in trouble last year for not appealing to the officials, turned to Rudi Koertzen as he screamed and they raised their fingers in unison.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo

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