Australia v Sri Lanka 2007-08 / News

Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Hobart, 4th day

Missing magic, and missing school

Peter English in Hobart

November 19, 2007

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Stuart MacGill didn't have the best of days © Getty Images
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No Murali magic
A subdued performance ended Muttiah Muralitharan's Test bowling duties in Australia. He had no impact on the fourth morning and looked ready to go home and prepare for England, where he is certain to reach the world record. Ricky Ponting's men smothered his attempt to pass Shane Warne and he will leave with 704 Test wickets. Only 12 came on his visits to Australia at the inflated average of 75.42.

No-ball, no catch
Over-stepping was one of Stuart MacGill's problems - a sore knee also led to a lot of full-tosses - and his push for extra effort cost him a wicket. Sanath Jayasuriya lobbed a ball straight to deep midwicket, but as it was on the way to being caught Aleem Dar called no-ball, a decision that did not improve MacGill's mood. The injury severely affected his control and he gave away 93 runs in 16 overs.

Sleepless in Hobart
Why didn't Kumar Sangakkara cross with Marvan Atapattu when the opener mis-hit the hook that led to his dismissal? If the batsmen had passed while the ball was in the air, Mahela Jayawardene would not have been on strike to receive the vicious inswinging yorker from Brett Lee and the story could have changed. "That's true," Sangakkara said. "Thank you for reminding me, now I'll have a sleepless night thinking about that." He was smiling but his point was serious. "We probably should have taken the single and things might have worked out differently. Maybe things like these should happen instinctively."

Super sub
Rhett Lockyear earned a place in Test history with his simple catch of Michael Vandort before lunch. Lockyear, who was fielding at point, has been successfully substituting for Andrew Symonds, adding the take to his contribution to the run-out of Farveez Maharoof on day three. Things will be quiet for him when the Test finishes as he has not played a match for Tasmania since February 2006.

School's out for cricket
Bellerive Oval had a school sports day atmosphere for the first two sessions and the thousands of students who were bussed in enjoyed Ricky Ponting's innings. They roared when their home-town hero reached his half-century and applauded his declaration, but when they started heading home around tea their chatter and cheering was missed. Small crowds have been a feature of the Test and the mass excursion for the primary students was an excellent initiative.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo

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