September 19, 1999

Aussies take command against Lankan Board XI

Colombo, Sept 18: Opening batsman Michael Slater with 119 and rookie fast bowler Scott Muller with five for 64 took the honours for Australia on the second day of their threeday tour game against a Board XI at the CCC Ground on Saturday.

Slater stroked a magnificent 119 off 136 balls hitting three sixes and 14 fours and Muller, took five wickets for 64 runs on his international debut to give Australia a firm grip on the game.

Australia who took a first innings lead of 41 stretched it to 264 by the close when they reached 223 for three wickets going into the third and final day tomorrow.

Cutting and driving with conviction Slater shared a third wicket stand of 110 with Mark Waugh before being stumped off part time bowler Saman Jayantha shortly before the close.

Waugh whose last seven first-class innings in Sri Lanka has produced six ducks, finally got off the mark with a single and raised his bat in relief as he received applause from the small crowd. He overcame some short pitched bowling by Ravindra Pushpakumara and Indika Gallage to remain unbeaten on 37 at the close. Waugh batted over two hours for his 37.

The Board XI resuming at 29-3 in reply to Australia's first innings of 226, were dismissed for 185 with fast bowlers Damien Fleming and Muller taking the major honours with nine wickets between them.

Muller bowling at full steam troubled all the batsmen with his pace and bounce, while Fleming also made use of the helpful pitch to take 4-40. Only 19-year-old Chamara Silva batted with some confidence stroking his way to 10 fours in his innings of 66 scored off 86 balls.

Tailender Suresh Perera helped the home side recover from 125-8 to their final score of 185, with a rapid knock of 46 off 52 balls. He hit three sixes off leg-spinner Shane Warne. His innings also included five fours.