Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Hobart

Brett Lee goes slow

ESPNcricinfo presents Plays of the Day for the match between Australia and Sri Lanka in Hobart

Brydon Coverdale at Bellerive Oval

February 24, 2012

Comments: 4 | Text size: A | A

Peter Forrest jumps for joy on reaching his hundred, Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Hobart, February 24, 2012
Peter Forrest celebrates his maiden ODI hundred © AFP

The six
At the halfway point in the match, the six of the day was Michael Hussey's flat, sizzling pull off Thisara Perera that could have caused serious damage if anyone had got in its way as it landed on the grass embankment. But Mahela Jayawardene bettered that in the fifth over of the chase, whipping a quick and straight Brett Lee delivery across the line and landing it in a similar spot to Hussey. Trying that shot against the pace of Lee is gutsy; pulling it off is remarkable. The most effective, though, was Perera's six off Daniel Christian in the 49th over which turned the game decisively in Sri Lanka's favour.

The slower, slower ball
Lee generally delivers the ball at speeds in the 140s, sometimes in the 150s, and occasionally, if he's tiring, he might slip into the 130s. His slower ball can be significantly slower, but it's unlikely he's sent down too many with less speed on them than the 13th delivery of his first spell. It moved so slowly in the air that it almost seemed like it had slipped from his hand, but it had the desired effect, as Jayawardene could do nothing but push it straight to a fielder. The speed gun registered the delivery at 94.6 kph. Some of left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty's balls reached the batsman quicker than that.

The single
It's hard to imagine Peter Forrest has ever enjoyed a single run as much as he did his hundredth in this match. In his fourth game for Australia, and his first in the No.3 spot occupied for so many years by Ricky Ponting, Forrest found himself facing Perera on 99. There were no discernible nerves. He dropped the ball into the off side and raced off for a quick, but not risky, single to bring up his first century for Australia.

The sign
On a day when Australia's prime minister Julia Gillard was challenged to a leadership contest by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, one man in the Hobart crowd felt he had a better idea. He held a sign saying "Ponting for PM", with a mocked-up photo of Ponting wearing Rudd's glasses and with a tinge of his grey hair. If nothing else, Ponting and Michael Clarke could probably teach Rudd and Gillard a thing or two about successful leadership transition.

The scare tactic
Spectators who run on to the field often face hefty fines in Australia - during the recent Test series, the maximum penalty was A$7300. But Bellerive Oval went to great lengths to keep pitch invaders at bay, the big screen informing patrons that "Unlawful entry on to the arena may face penalties of up to $600 and 6 months in prison". Not surprisingly, nobody took the risk and the field remained free of trespassers.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 2:49 GMT)

Talking about bouncy pitches, pitches at Dambulla in Sri lanka, according to experts, are supposed to be comparable to Australian, English or south African pitches with respect to bounce.The irony of having that God send facility in Sri Lanka is that our cricketers never practice there, not even before going on tour to the above mentioned countries! Cricket Sri Lanka should arrange at least a two week's training camp at Dambulla before they go on tours to countries with bouncy pitches.

Posted by m0se on (February 25, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

What about the light behind the bowler's arm that Mahela was complaining about before he got stumped?

Posted by playitstraight on (February 24, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

LOL love the scare tactic, they should bring that in India too. Helps the players, helps the fans. Power to the people!

Posted by KingOwl on (February 24, 2012, 21:29 GMT)

I must say that I was losing some respect for Mahela for the way he was performing on bouncy pitches. But, he has played beautifully over the last few matches, opening the batting. Go Lions!

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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