Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd ODI, Hambantota

Ponting steers Australia to eight-wicket win

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

August 14, 2011

Comments: 59 | Text size: A | A

Australia 211 for 2 (Ponting 90*, Clarke 58*) beat Sri Lanka 208 (Sangakkara 52, Bollinger 3-35) by 8 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ricky Ponting plays the pull, Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd ODI, Hambantota, August 14, 2011
Ricky Ponting made an unbeaten 90 in Australia's chase © AFP

Perhaps Tillakaratne Dilshan should send Australia in next time. He needs to do something to shake his team out of its slumber after another professional performance from Australia, this time led by Doug Bollinger with the ball and Ricky Ponting with the bat, set up a comfortable eight-wicket win and a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

In Pallekele last Wednesday, Dilshan won the toss and chose to bat, and his men were bowled out for a sub-par total that the attack couldn't defend. The venue has changed but the result was exactly the same this time around, as he again chose to bat and the Sri Lankan top order again failed to build a target that would worry Michael Clarke's side. Australia were set 209 for victory, and they got there with 11.4 overs remaining.

The scorecard will show that Ponting finished unbeaten on 90, and it's true that it was a fine innings: he was calm, the bowlers' variations rarely troubled him, and he waited for the bad balls to put away. But he was rarely pressured by a lacklustre Sri Lanka. The fluttering of their shirts in oppressively windy conditions was about as animated as Sri Lanka's players got.

Lasith Malinga added a little spark to the attack in his return from a back injury, and when he splayed the stumps of Shane Watson with an excellent inswinging yorker, there was briefly a buzz around the ground. But the 94-run stand that Watson and Ponting had compiled meant Sri Lanka needed to spark a collapse to have any hope, and that didn't happen.

Ponting and Michael Clarke (58 not out) handled Malinga and Ajantha Mendis well, and were not troubled by the rest of the bowlers. Just as they did on Wednesday, both men posted half-centuries without too much drama on a good batting surface.

Apart from the early loss of the out-of-form Brad Haddin, who edged behind off Nuwan Kulasekara in the second over and was well taken by Kumar Sangakkara up to the stumps, Australia were in cruise control. Watson was uncharacteristically slow out of the blocks, but gradually found his touch, and a vicious pull for six off Rangana Herath was classic Watson.

Ponting drove the seamers confidently and swivelled a rank long hop from Kulasekara for six, and Clarke even cleared the boundary a couple of times in a classy display. But just as it had been in the series opener, Australia's win was set up by the bowlers, and by Clarke's impressive and aggressive captaincy.

Only Sangakkara's 52 and a late flourish from Kulasekara gave Sri Lanka any hope, and they must address their batting problems before the third match. In the first game, too many men threw their wickets away, perhaps still in Twenty20 mode, but in Hambantota they over-corrected. The Sri Lankan batsmen tried to stand firm but in the process forgot about scoring runs.

For much of the innings, the run-rate hovered below four, which can be sustained if wickets are in hand to launch a late attack. On the contrary, wickets were out of hand, as Bollinger and his colleagues maintained the pressure and kept making breakthroughs. The only half-century partnership was a 63-run stand between Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews, who did their best to rebuild after the side slipped to 77 for 4.

But when Sangakkara tried to lift the tempo with a slog over midwicket off David Hussey's offspin, all he could manage was a miscue that was caught on the long-on boundary. Earlier, Sangakkara had cleared the rope straight down the ground off Xavier Doherty, but it was Sri Lanka's first boundary in 16 overs, and that told the story.

After Sangakkara departed, Mathews tried to take charge but was caught at deep cover off Bollinger, who finished with 3 for 35 and showed impressive smarts as well as speed and bounce. He had already accounted for Dinesh Chandimal; a well-directed bouncer had Chandimal in all sorts of trouble as he tried to fend it down, and the next delivery was a good ball angled across the batsman, whose tentative prod resulted in an edge behind.

As had been the case on Wednesday, it was left to Kulasekara to provide some late runs. Too much had been left to the tail following the early dismissals of the top-order men. Sri Lanka needed a total in the region of 250, but things started to go wrong when the 37-run opening stand between Dilshan and Upul Tharanga ended.

The windy conditions meant it was important that Clarke chose the right ends for his bowlers, and the first breakthrough came when Brett Lee switched ends and bowled with the wind supporting his inswinger. In his first over of that spell, Lee got one to move in to Dilshan, who looked for an expansive drive but played the wrong line and was bowled for 24.

Mitchell Johnson got rid of the other opener, Tharanga, who tried to sway out of the way of a bouncer after a subdued innings, but gloved behind when the ball didn't rise quite as much as he expected. Mahela Jayawardene (17 off 30) was also in no hurry, before he fell to a top-edged sweep off Xavier Doherty. The slower bouncer accounted for Jeevan Mendis, who tried to hook and was caught off the bowling of Lee.

All in all, it was a disappointing batting effort from Sri Lanka. To bat first in consecutive games and be dismissed both times is a sign not just of good bowling from Australia, but a poor Sri Lankan mindset. Dilshan needs to find some way to lift his team before Tuesday, or this series could be over before the teams even get to Colombo.

Innings Dot balls 4s 6s PP1 PP2 PP3 Last 10 overs NB/Wides
Sri Lanka 169 13 2 40/1 19/1(10.1-15) 30/2 (37.1-42) 55/4 1/8
Australia 128 17 4 50/1 30/0 (10.1-15) - - 1/10

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by hyclass on (August 17, 2011, 6:58 GMT)

I noted in a previous blog @Dravid_Gravitas,that you took a very meritorious position on the capacity of IPL to help improve the conditions of the supporting cast,such as street vendors in India.I believe you felt that the moral position imbued by the wealth creation possibilities of IPL would even exceed,if necessary,the continued existence of test cricket.I admire your sense of ethics and like you,deplore injustice and poverty.However,i think that we are both aware that the notional attatchment of IPL to commercial venture is subsidiary to the cricket itself and that the same premise would apply to any symbiotic business run along those lines.The circumstance you describe is cultural and historical-it exists on caste lines and disparate divisions of wealth.Its resolution is with the Indian people,not crickets franchising.When the structures and rules governing a historical and ethical behemoth like test cricket,become open to outside forces of negotiation,then it signals their demise

Posted by   on (August 16, 2011, 10:41 GMT)

@ Ameega.... Yes, I agree that SL played better than India in ENG..... It happens brother any team can't win all the time, can't perform in the same manner all the time.... My concern was we should not make fun of any team or put bad comments for other teams if sometime they don't perform according to their reputation... we won last series in Eng.... This time we lost... it happens in cricket..... We should appreciate better cricket and better playing nation without putting bad comments for the team which lost..... This thing is mutual....... So, raise your hands for better comments! Wishing good luck to Team Srilanka..... Thanks....

Posted by Sakthiivel on (August 16, 2011, 8:17 GMT)

@ Ameega : You have good spirit mate. But Im a hardcore cricket fan and love Crushing wins. I do look for 4-0 Whitewash.

Posted by murali800 on (August 16, 2011, 5:44 GMT)

in order to win the third odi srilanka should field first i think.

Posted by DINESHCC on (August 16, 2011, 5:17 GMT)


Posted by Ameega on (August 16, 2011, 3:39 GMT)

@ Sakthivel; I won't let myself down by saying something like "Go Eng go... Like to see 4 - 0...". As a SL fan, I love to see Indians bounce back in 4th Test and give a fightback. @ Prashant Sandilya Mishra:If you really want to compare SL & Ind, just see statistics of two series of each team in Eng just apart of a month or so. (however I am really embarrased by the performance of SL in ENG). SL fans really enjoy good cricket and respect opponents even though loose. Just watch highlights back to see how SL spectators did entertain until the end during two lost games.

Posted by Meety on (August 16, 2011, 3:23 GMT)

@ obama007 - that's the spirit! Hope you're wrong though!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 16, 2011, 3:15 GMT)

Can there be a more exciting site than Australia getting hold of their bearings and displaying top notch cricket? I hope they play like this for long time. As a test cricket fan, I will be very disappointed if Aussies struggle. Kudos to Ponting, The Legend. What a player! What a Legend that he sacrifised so much of his batting for the sake of his country.

Posted by stalkonda on (August 16, 2011, 2:14 GMT)

Its heartening to see the way the Aussies have played. As a Cricket Fan, I would like the Aussie team to find the right balance and find its grove so that they could bring back the faith in Aussie supporters.I believe the Australian Management has planned for their future, unlike the BCCI, and they would slowly but surely reap the benefits in the coming future. This display would give heart to all the efforts they are trying to put, in building a stronger team for the upcoming series and World Cup. I wish BCCI would try to learn a few tricks from the Aussies and try to plan for Indias future.

Posted by murali800 on (August 16, 2011, 1:43 GMT)

i have full ability in my team that we can win the remaiing 3 matches.and win the series 3-2.go srilanka.

Posted by   on (August 16, 2011, 1:33 GMT)

What these two matches have shown is that form is temporary, and class is permanent. Yes, Ponting hasn't played well over the past couple of years, but I put that down to the fact he had a changing team and probably held on to the captaincy a bit too long. Class just doesn't disappear - the great players all go through ups and downs, they just know how to really cash in on the ups. Clarke is a class player too, and it seems that his bashers have gone quiet a bit also. I will admit that I wasn't sure about Clarke's captaincy, but on all accounts so far, he looks pretty good in that role. Don't know what Smith is doing there if he's not bowling. And its looking clear that we should only play Johnson in the sub-continent, against South Africa, and at the WACA.

Posted by hilditchmustgo on (August 16, 2011, 1:11 GMT)

Last time i checked this was a page about Sri Lanka/Aus. Why do Indian fans keep bringing their team up? On a more relevent note im actually enjoying Clarke/Punter making runs as we need them in form come the next few test series. Haddin is worrying me though...Might be time to get Paine in the side to groom him for keeping in the test team. Hes a good batsmen who can hold his end up while Watson hits sixes everywhere.

Posted by hyclass on (August 16, 2011, 0:31 GMT) is good to see Ricky earning his place in the side again rather than being gifted it.He's had the good fortune of playing all of his cricket since the Ashes,as ODI on the sub-continent,allowing him an excellent opportunity to adapt.One hopes he develops test form,that will serve him against SA far superior attack.It isnt possible to say whether it was the captaincy behind his 4 year form slump and one can hardly be critical of those who highlighted it.What was interesting to read,was an interview on Cricinfo with Buchanan,who alluded to his disappointment at the level of extra responsibilities and involvement in selection and other processes,that the team management and coaches had allowed to fall on Pontings shoulders.He felt that before this administration,those duties were in the hands of non players,freeing the players to concentrate on their own games.It was a subtle but damning statement of the manner in which players have been mis-handled over the last 4 years.

Posted by Meety on (August 15, 2011, 22:40 GMT)

@ popped - very true! Pretty much all the SL fans comments so far have been very gracious. There were a few big mouths talking about whitewashing Oz (BEFORE the series started), but they were definately in the minority & really it was all in clean fun. Most of my favourite non-ozzy cricketers are/were Sri Lankan although I couldn't stand Ranatunga! I think Sangakarra is the best batsmen in the world although only one decent innings v the poms was dissappointing. @Blazedragon - whether he is or not, I still would rather him retire from ODIs in about 12mths UNLESS his form is so good & he feels like having another shot at a W/Cup. We can't hold onto him forever, IMO we have a heap of young talent coming thru that needs a year or two to develop. @Prashant Sandilya Mishra - its only 2 yrs ago that Oz thrashed India IN India (4-2) with a 2nd string side containing Voges, Manou, Henriques & Hopes. India were at FULL strength.

Posted by CricketChat on (August 15, 2011, 21:07 GMT)

Good to see a class player like Ricky back among runs. If he hadn't held on to captaincy, he would have scored many more runs in the last 2-3 yrs.

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 20:51 GMT)

@ Balumekka.... what if India didn't win in ENG, SA and SL... we didn't lose in India.... and Srilankan team is going to lose 5-0 in Srilanka even and that can be called 'Thrashing Defeat'..... lol.... No compare..... hahaha

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 20:44 GMT)

@ Chameera..... hahahaha...... look at your team's performance...... You guys jumped too early! Remember.... Indian team is always superior than srilankan team...... so don't jump in posts related to Indian cricket.....

Posted by Sakthiivel on (August 15, 2011, 19:28 GMT)

Go Aus go... Like to see 5 - 0...

Posted by Blazedragon on (August 15, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

@Meety: Ponting is far better than any player on your team so you guys need him for as long as possible.

Posted by Blazedragon on (August 15, 2011, 19:17 GMT)

Ponting is still the team's best player and all those who ever bashed him should slap themselves in the face.

Posted by Balumekka on (August 15, 2011, 17:43 GMT)

@Ramkumar Vishwanathan: Funny comment. Just remember IND never won a single test series in AUS, ENG, SA and SL during the time they held the Test No: 1 position!!!!! Now please get your selves prepare to see IND loosing to ENG 0-4!!!!!!

Posted by MeraBharatMahaan on (August 15, 2011, 17:20 GMT)

About our great Sachin:

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 16:57 GMT)

Wonder what happended to Sri Lanka after the 20 over game?

Posted by popped on (August 15, 2011, 16:24 GMT)

@ Ramkumar Vishwanathan, thanks for presenting us with your wonderful Indian view on this article,but let me assure you Sri Lankan fans do not make ridiculous excuses for their failures , it the players fault at taking the Aussies too lightly, no doubt , and are we beginning to see the rise of the Aussies again , I certainly hope so ... SL fans have been gracious in defeat ,that is something you should learn. as for you asking to know some stats , well you could easily look it up in stats Guru you would be suprised at some results , didn't know you and other Indian fans were so helpless other fans our here to comment and appreciate the cricket and make constructive criticisms if any , not to dig up stats for you.all the commets on this article have been spot on except for your irrelevant comment. coming back to this series i hope this one goes down to the wire otherwise 2 matches are going to be a dead rubber , to be honest didnt expect this aussise team to do this well .. wow

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 15:53 GMT)

@ramkumar I know indians are very happy now.Congratulation!

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 15, 2011, 14:24 GMT)

@ratdot, all the Ponting bashers have predictably gone quiet for now but don't worry as soon as he has a bad game or two they'll be back on about his technique and lack of ability to play so and so type of bowling. It's ironic how for people who have probably never even played the game outside of rolling the arm over in the backyard, they seem to be experts on the smallest aspects of batting technique. @Meety, as usual I agree with your comments re Clarke and Punter. I haven't been Clarke the batsman's biggest fan lately but so far I am quite impressed with his captaincy.

Posted by TJM101 on (August 15, 2011, 14:12 GMT)

Great to see Ponting showing some of his class again, one of the great players, hopefully it will continue in the tests against SL and then India. I'm expecting/hoping for 2-3 years of Punter back to his best. Just glad he was still weighed down by the captaincy last winter when it mattered (to me)...

Posted by TeamRocker on (August 15, 2011, 14:06 GMT)

Wow! What a performance by the Aussies! Everything is clicking now-Lee, Bollinger and Mitch are all bowling well...Pup, Punter and Watto are all scoring runs. Even Pup's captaincy looks spot on.

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 13:34 GMT)

I think Chandimal has to come after the first wicket & bring back Randiv for Herath. Don't worry SL will bounce back. Congratz Aussies for ur wins.

Posted by SnowSnake on (August 15, 2011, 13:04 GMT)

SL batting is failing against Aussie bowling. Aussie suprised me in the first two matches. Perhaps I underestimated them in SL. Nice show though. Sets up a good series. SL will have to work really hard to get back into the series.

Posted by Sakthiivel on (August 15, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

Wonderful Bollinger and Clarke's captaincy super. Go Aus go

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 11:09 GMT)

All those Srilanka fans who were so happy that india lost the no1 slot, see ur back 1st. Ur not even able to win @ home and commenting on india after we lost away. Please let me and other Indian fans know how many test series you had won in SA, Eng, NZ & Aus????. We atleast were no 1 for sometime, Srilanka didnt even come near to that

Posted by Ellis on (August 15, 2011, 11:02 GMT)

This ODI series is as good as over.Congratulations to Australia. SL has been completely outplayed, not least in the area of captaincy. Except for Sangakkara, no other SL batsman has been willing to build an innings. Too many irresponsible shots. Chandimal better get his mind right or he will be cannon fodder for the Aussies. The Flash Harry approach of his in SL domestic cricket will not serve him at the International level.Talent is only good if it is accompanied by performance. SL bowlers are not at all threatening. Randiv is a far better all-round cricketer than Herath. Why was he dropped? Politics, again? Ponting and Clarke have had no difficulty with the SL bowlers, and we have yet to see Michael Hussey. The prospects are not promising for SL.

Posted by AidanFX on (August 15, 2011, 10:46 GMT)

Liek Clarkes presence in the field... hopefully as he did in Aus - will explout Smith more with the ball - however the bowling perfomace of the last two games - how he chooses is good enough for me.

Posted by Reverend-Cavalier on (August 15, 2011, 10:27 GMT)

I back Punter to score a triple in tests by the end of the Australian summer.

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 9:31 GMT)

Pathetic performance, constant changes and too many experiments in a crunch tournament gosh.. Its like a Mantra the moment we get a win or two we hit so high, and we praise even the budding players to the extent for them to think they've climbed mountain of Cricket's Everest. We need to be mentally competent, its tried and tested our lower middle order has never clicked to win a game for ages, when we have won its always when the top order has performed at least 90%. So what difference it w'd have made if we still played Mahela to open just how we did in the T20? We lost the balance the moment we shifted Mahela in England, why did we insert him again for him to be removed in the next match? We are so bad in learning our lessons, our growth cycle always gonna be bumby constant low and a rare sigh of relief high, Its not gonna be easy from now on, hope the selectors will play their cards right and we so badly need a miracle in our bowling..

Posted by Chris_P on (August 15, 2011, 9:03 GMT)

Another meaningless one day series. Who really cares.

Posted by Meety on (August 15, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

@straight_drive4 - this is what I was hoping for when Punter announced he would stay on post-captaincy. Whilst I wouldn't mind him retiring from ODIs soon, I think its not a bad way to get some form happenning. Regarding Pup, his stats in ODIs have for a long while been better when he is captain, (ave 54 v 44), although his S/R drops from 79 to 72 - something I don't mind as it suggests he is more determined & thoughtful as captain. I was surprised he didn't give Smith a bowl in the 2nd ODI as he used Smith quite well against the Poms in the ODIs last summer. @Wozza-CY - I wanted DHussey to have been the primary spinner ahead of Krezja at the W/Cup. It would of deepened the batting line up & not affected the spin quality much. His S/R this yr is amazing! @stormy16 - I don't think it was unexpected - although I started getting concerned at how poor we were in the T20s. Oz are still ranked #1 in the world in ODIs - so if rankings mean anything Oz had to still be favourites v SL!

Posted by Winsome on (August 15, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

Will be interesting to see how Punter copes with genuine pace bowling in the next series against SA and that has been his problem for the last few years. Sri Lanka is not going to test his reflexes. He's looking good though, very calm. Sri Lanka have to pull themselves together and knock up a testing score next game.

Posted by ratdot on (August 15, 2011, 7:18 GMT)

Hmmm...I seem to remember almost all of the cricket world wanted to drop Ponting not so long ago, but they all thougth Tendulkar woudl go on forever. The last month of results prove two thing: Both batsmen are human Both patsmen are still amongst the very best in the world and worth watching when they are on song.

Posted by Meety on (August 15, 2011, 7:12 GMT)

@ sarath1948 - its a tricky trade off, (the batting order), at what point do you start planning for the next W/Cup? If you start planning NOW for the next WC, Jayawerdne & Sanga probably have to be dropped or asked to retire NOW! If you think that you can start planning 12mths out from the WC (which is do-able), let the greats bat in their respective positions & other players can learn by association. SL have a great tradition of quality batsmen, Chandimal has a good start to his career, but he does not look that flash against pace at the moment, batting at 3 or 4 may not be where he needs to be at the moment. As for Matthews - I think he is a top young cricketer, but I think he is best where he is, even in Emerging SL A sides he batted deep in the middle order, so I am not sure if he is who you want @ #3.

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 6:41 GMT)

12363 runs in Tests, 13549 runs in ODIs...........39 Hundreds in Tests, and 30 in ODIs, Ricky Ponting is a LEGEND. Love You Punter....A Fan from PAKISTAN

Posted by satanswish on (August 15, 2011, 6:20 GMT)


Posted by NIPPY_89 on (August 15, 2011, 6:12 GMT)

Disappointing result for the lankans. The fact is that the sri lankan batting depends on dilshan, mahela and sangakkara. If they dont score runs it becomes very difficult. The middle order seems nonexistent. The way some of the players eg: mathews, sanga got out was very disappointing as well. The Ausies have been truly a class apart in this odi series so far and looks like they will wrap up this series comfortably.

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 5:28 GMT)

Nice to see AUS coming good as a team... SL hopefully will start a good fightback..

Posted by stormy16 on (August 15, 2011, 5:03 GMT)

SL should be about to hit the panic button as this was totally unexpected. The SL batting doesnt appear to be able to handle the Aussie pace while the SL spinners dont seem to be able to have an impact on the Aussie batting. The most worrying aspect for SL is just how good Aus have been and how ineffective SL have been with both bat and ball. The Aussies were expecting a tough battle but have simply demolished SL at home. SL have to win the next three and that would be near impossible unless there is some dramatic turn around in the next three games.

Posted by Prema1948 on (August 15, 2011, 4:37 GMT)

Not only these highly talented two, there are equally brilliant young Cricketers in the Country, the likes of Angelo Perera( The Best Schoolboy Batsman 2009 who was the highest run getter of the last year's U-23 Tournament) The highest Wicket taker of this same Tournament, Umesh Karunarathna was The Best Schoolboy Cricketer of 2008 then there are batsmen Khausal Silva, Dimuth, Thirimanne, Rosen, Bhanuka, Paranawithana , Romesh Bhuddhika, Wimanga Perera, Chathuranga de Silva, Rosen Silva, Sachithra Serasinghe; All Rounders like: Janaka Gunarathne, Geeth Alwis, Geeth Kumara,Sachith Pathirana, Chathuranga Kumara and fast bowlers like: Charith Jayampathi, Chathura Pieris, and spinners ( who can spin the ball) like: Sachithra Senanayake, Dulanjana Mendis, Malinda Pushpakumara , SPrasnna These Cricketers are not ordinary players that the ones that selectors of last 15 years have always brought into the National Sides and those few they are still messing around with.

Posted by Prema1948 on (August 15, 2011, 4:37 GMT)

Both Chandimal , Mathews ,are batsmen of extreme talent who have been showing their class since the age of 15. Their School & Domestic careers are far beyond compare. This kind of batsmen of quick reflexes, who have total control over all shots they play & have full array of strokes all around the wicket should be sent to bat at No 3 & 4 position without giving any undue pressure because they are our future. After all Chandimal is a batsmen who has already proved his class by scoring 2 centuries in batting at No 3 position and as for Mathews, his talent is wasted because, this so called 'finishing job' can be done only by batsmen who have full range of strokes, unfortunately allowing him to bat under pressure with few overs left is a crime that cannot be pardoned. (to be continued)

Posted by Prema1948 on (August 15, 2011, 4:34 GMT)

Mahela & Sanngkkara are experienced enough to bat anywhere in the batting order; however their reflexes are getting slower day by day & nearing the end of their careers though they are not quite aware of it. Going to bat at the most vital positions & finding it is difficult to score runs as they did in their prime, it is the opposition bowler that gets more confident and makes things more difficult for the incoming batsmen. Therefore it is a main duty of Mahela & Sangakkara to groom youngsters for the future while they are still in and even after their careers are over, not like many ( National Players) who keep a blind eye towards the Game in the Country that has given so much to them. (to be continued)

Posted by Wozza-CY on (August 15, 2011, 4:32 GMT)

In my last post I said other squad members will have to step up from both teams to ensure they are successful, enter Dougie, Lee & Clarke. These are good signs for Australia. Clarkes captaincy, although in its infancy is showing signs of having a positive effect on his players, something of a sea change for this squad & all important for building momentum. Doherty is also doing a job along with Dussey & Watson. I have no doubt SL will put pressure on Australia at some stage so that will be interesting, but the reports are making pleasant reading for ozi fans at the moment.

Posted by sidzy on (August 15, 2011, 3:59 GMT)

Good to see Clarke Hitting the ball over the top & clearing mid on or cover not just a flick.

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 3:58 GMT)

wow australia. Best of all ponting i lov him a lot

Posted by Imz25 on (August 15, 2011, 3:58 GMT)

Good to see Punter look free flowing again in his stroke making! It looks like he's back to his best. Hopefully he'll carry the good form throughout the season!

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 3:58 GMT)

no words.... absolutely brilliant all-round performance from the Aussies.... Congrats to Lee, Mitch Dougy n Doherty for putting SL under pressure from the word go! .... If the top order collapses, SL is always under deep trouble and that could have been avoided if Sanga (or more preferably) Mahela can go down the order and send mathews n chandimal up! these kind of scores make room for players like Kandamby, Silva, Samaraweera who are better at wasting space! .... c'mon SL, dont give up... win next 3 or at least 2!

Posted by wazza85 on (August 15, 2011, 3:48 GMT)

Well this was predictable.. firstly the SL were over confident of them selfs.. and the aussies are a good side to bounce back. it is frustrating to see SL find it hard to face the Ausiie bowlers at home. they have not learnt from their this point there is no point of return for SL, looks like the Aussies are goin to win the series. however, SL still have the chence to bounce back to win the series like the english did. what is Jeewan Mendis doing in the side? he didnt score in both T20's and in both ODI's. and D.Chandimal should be pushed up the order. this is a lesson to be learnt for the SL. see how quickly the Ausiies adapt after losses and to the conditions. but for the SL they have to losse a series to realise a mistake. ho well.

Posted by Meety on (August 15, 2011, 3:34 GMT)

Must say that Pup's captaincy has been pretty close to spot on. Helps when bowlers like Doherty & Johnson bowl well! -- -- -- Plenty of time to salvage this series for a SL fan (well not really - they have to win the remaining 3 games) - but the performance so far suggests a) Dilshan is not that good of a captain, b) some internal strife -i.e politics affacting this side as they have not presented like a focussed SL side would normally & c) Oz are a better ODI unit - does not mean that the Tests will go the same way as Oz have some rebuilding to do there! -- -- -- I like Smith's potential - but if D Hussey is a preferred slow option, (S/R of 21 this year!), Smith's place should be taken by Ferguson who has a 40+ batting average. It would also be good experience for Ferguson. If Ferguson plays - I'd have him @ #6, & D Hussey @ #7.

Posted by chad_reid on (August 15, 2011, 3:06 GMT)

as an aussie this team is an average aus side thier are plenty better players that can take other players places easily the only reason aus has won the two matches is because of the brilliant captaincy of michael clarke shame he wasnt captain in the last world cup he is way more aggressive than ponting and doesnt let the other team keep getting the easy runs in other words he makes the batsman work hard for the runs even when between the 15 to 40 overs where teams just get singles n twos to keep the runrate up while the field is spread out kudos to him for being smart and not being stubborn like ponting

Posted by straight_drive4 on (August 15, 2011, 2:48 GMT)

is it just me or does punter look like a whole new player and person since giving up the captaincy? looks awesome. his batting looks like (hopefully) it will get back to what it used to be and on the field he just looks a lot more calm and relaxed - it is evident through his fielding. i think he actually cracked a smile last night! and it also looks like clarke has improved his batting since taking on the captaincy full time. hopefully some better time ahead for the aussies....

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 1:50 GMT)

Ponting is a legend, Good innings by Clarke as well and very good bowling by Bollinger, Clarke's captaincy is brilliant, Doherty and even David Hussey has been getting wickets!!

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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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