Injury and weather squash SL further
Twist and shout
Andrew Symonds' innings started in a hurry despite a slip on the damp surface. Opening with a cut from his second ball, he followed it with a cover-driven boundary and turned his ankle running on the grass next to the pitch. He grimaced and limped but continued to bat and when he planted Muttiah Muralitharan for a straight six he had 14 from five balls. After making an unbeaten 50, his injury prevented him from fielding.
The squash ball has returned to haunt Sri Lanka. Adam Gilchrist chopped one up to strengthen his grip during the World Cup final against them and struck 149, which created claims in Sri Lanka that it was against the rules. The appliance was back in his glove today when he hit his 100th six in Tests.
Sri Lanka's struggling fast bowlers were placed under more pressure with the absence of Farveez Maharoof due to a stress fracture in his ankle. Muralitharan took the load at one end and Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando carried most of the duties from the other. Once this series is over, the Sri Lankan attack may put in for group stress leave.
Bad light has caused regular disruptions during the first two Tests and the reduction in play has upset some spectators. However, Adam Gilchrist was in no doubt about the decision to call play off early. "It was difficult to see out there," he said. "It's more cut and dried here, where there are no artificial lights [like in Brisbane]. That's where it gets confusing and uncertainty comes in for everyone. Here it's a pretty clean-cut decision."
The sweaters Sri Lanka have lugged around were not wasted as the weather turned cold, misty and windy at Bellerive. It was good for the sailors wanting to use their spinnakers, but it made things even more uncomfortable for the hand-rubbing visitors.
Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo