Sri Lanka v Australia, 1st Test, Galle, 1st day August 31, 2011

Hussey resists on tough day for Australia's batsmen

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Australia 273 (Hussey 95, Herath 3-54, Lakmal 3-55) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

There is a recipe for success against Australia's batsmen. As England have discovered, it involves a generous portion of quality spin bowling and a dollop of reverse swing, while a pinch of variable bounce doesn't hurt. On the first day of the series Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal followed the proven formula to put Sri Lanka on top, but by stumps the visitors had found a stabilising ingredient, Michael Hussey, whose 95 kept them in the game.

Australia could have finished the day with a very nasty taste in their mouth were it not for Hussey, who missed out on his 14th Test century when he was lbw to Tillakaratne Dilshan as the sun set on Galle. The Sri Lanka openers walked out to face one over but the umpires decided the light was insufficient, and the hosts headed back inside to prepare for the second day, knowing that batting wouldn't be easy on a pitch offering plenty of turn.

Hussey handled the conditions better than any of his team-mates, sweeping with the spin, watching the ball closely out of the bowler's hand, and getting to the pitch whenever possible. He had come to the crease at 91 for 3, with rebuilding required, and he did just that in a watchful start; at one point Australia faced 83 balls between boundaries.

Gradually he allowed himself some more expansive shots, and brought up his half-century from his 115th delivery with an off-drive for four off Suraj Randiv. He struck three sixes off Randiv, two convincing and one off which he was fortunate to survive. Chanaka Welegedara at long-off stepped back to take the catch, but just touched the boundary with his foot after he completed the take, which would otherwise have ended Hussey's innings on 76.

By pushing Australia up to 273 after they had been 157 for 5, Hussey gave them hope. The good news for Australia is that the batting conditions won't get any easier and Sri Lanka, unless they post a monstrous first-innings score, will have to bat last. The bad news is that Australia will be relying on an attack featuring two debutants, one of whom, their only frontline spinner Nathan Lyon, has just five first-class matches to his name.

Lyon can learn a lot from the way Herath bowled on this surface. Sri Lanka left out their mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis - a mystery in itself, given how he bamboozled Australia at times in the limited-overs games - but Herath proved a difficult enough opponent in favourable conditions. That much was obvious from the moment he was introduced, in the seventh over of the match.

Shane Watson had come out hard against the seamers, but he was flummoxed by Herath's first delivery. From around the wicket, the left-armer got the ball to drift in, grip and turn sharply on a pitch devoid of grass, and Watson's outside edge was wonderfully taken by one of the best pure gloveman in world cricket at the moment, Prasanna Jayawardene.

From that point on, Australia knew they had a tough day ahead of them. Herath didn't run through the batting order - he finished with 3 for 54 - but nor did he let the batsmen settle. Clarke had used his feet well against the slow men, but on 23 he was done in by a Herath delivery that skidded on, straightening just a fraction, and Clarke was lbw after Sri Lanka reviewed the not-out decision.

And while the big turner got Watson and the straight ball baffled Clarke, Ricky Ponting went to a delivery that fell somewhere in between. Freed from the burden of captaincy, Ponting had played a couple of cracking shots, including a square drive for four off Welegedara and a fleet-footed loft back over the head of Herath.

Soon after that shot, Ponting, on 44, tried the same again but Herath imparted just enough extra spin to deceive Ponting, whose lofted shot ended up going straight to the man at long-off. It was a disappointing end for Ponting, who seemed bent on rebuilding Australia's innings and had put on a 55-run stand with Clarke.

They had come together after Phillip Hughes was surprised by extra bounce from Suranga Lakmal, who caught the shoulder of the bat and had his man caught at slip. It wasn't the only time the Australia batsmen were caught out by fine pace bowling; on the stroke of tea, Usman Khawaja failed to pick the late swing from Welegedara and he was bowled for 21.

Brad Haddin struck a couple of fierce blows in his 24 before he was well taken at leg slip by Angelo Mathews off Randiv, and Lakmal helped finish off the tail. Australia contributed to their own demise, Ryan Harris declining to ask for a review of his lbw, although replays showed Lakmal's delivery would clearly have missed off stump.

Trent Copeland made 12 on debut, but his main task will come on the second day. Wet weather delayed the start by an hour on the opening morning, and more rain is forecast for the next few days. Whether Australia can find a winning recipe remains to be seen. At least the groundstaff have served up a result pitch.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jfgvjksnkka on September 1, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Before we get a spate of comments about hawkeye think about it. Hawkeye only uses the 2 cameras (I assume). the view of the ball is stopped by phil hughes gloves. The view showing the ball turning is shot from a different camera behind the gloves - mystery solved.

  • Mathu. on September 1, 2011, 6:24 GMT

    Reach 270 is like Everest in this pitch condition, knowing that SL senior players are throwing their wickets. what a waste of test cricket.Looks like they have no game plan...come on guys this is your home condition and we expect better play!

  • dinkey on September 1, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    The Lyon has roared can the Sri Lankans COPEland. I don't think so.

  • hyclass on September 1, 2011, 4:21 GMT

    Hmmm....pick the odd one out....rain ruined WI series...rain delaying the start of play in this Test....money wagered on rain washing out the series...a bone dry pitch devoid of even grass roots,looking like a strip of rolled beach, surrounded by a lush outfield...I hope it backfires

  • popcorn on September 1, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Mike Hussey - you are INVALUABLE to us! you saved us at the SCG test against Pakistan - and now here in Sri Lanka. how could ANYBODY think of dropping you? When will youngsters learn? Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh - LEARN, WATCH how he plays. Brad Haddin, come on, score some runs!

  • SamRoy on September 1, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    I agree 100% with @dimitri.samaratunga. Sub-continent wickets are meant to be turning tracks. It's the way sub-continent is. The climatic conditions make them that. Only SSC in Colombo, Karachi , Mohali, Wankhede and Brabourne in Mumbai have some life for pacemen and only on the first day. Playing spin bowling is as essential a part of cricket as playing seam bowling. So, if Perth, Barbados, Headingley, Durban are good for the game so are Premadasa, Green Park (Kanpur), Galle , Kotla (Delhi) and Chepauk(Chennai). If you try to make them friendly for fast bowling they only end being flat tracks and help in boring draws. It's a fact; if you want result oriented pitches for test cricket in sub-continent it has to be a turning track. If it has some assistance for fast bowlers it is an added bonus.

  • popcorn on September 1, 2011, 3:24 GMT

    Why did Ryan Harruis have to act like an extra smart noble walker, when Australia had two reviews left, and he could have asked for a Review - the Review showed he was not out - was he in a hurry to bowl? Is he a team man? Didn't he know Australia needed runs on board?

  • Marcio on September 1, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    270 is a decent score under these conditions. I suspect SL will struggle against Harris, Copeland and co, who have bowling averages in the low to mid 20s. SL's opening pair average high 40s and low 50s respectively, and no other bowler less than 35 per wicket. I can't see how SL can possibly be competitive with this bowling lineup, regardless of how they manipulate pitch conditions. AUS will have to bowl really badly to lose from here.

  • on September 1, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    And We (Australia) dumped Katich for Hughes because...

  • c3vzn on September 1, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    EVERYBODY WHO SAYS WATSON WASTED HIS WICKET OBVIOUSLY DID NOT WATCH THE GAME. He got done by a beautiful delivery to which he tried to defend.

  • jfgvjksnkka on September 1, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Before we get a spate of comments about hawkeye think about it. Hawkeye only uses the 2 cameras (I assume). the view of the ball is stopped by phil hughes gloves. The view showing the ball turning is shot from a different camera behind the gloves - mystery solved.

  • Mathu. on September 1, 2011, 6:24 GMT

    Reach 270 is like Everest in this pitch condition, knowing that SL senior players are throwing their wickets. what a waste of test cricket.Looks like they have no game plan...come on guys this is your home condition and we expect better play!

  • dinkey on September 1, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    The Lyon has roared can the Sri Lankans COPEland. I don't think so.

  • hyclass on September 1, 2011, 4:21 GMT

    Hmmm....pick the odd one out....rain ruined WI series...rain delaying the start of play in this Test....money wagered on rain washing out the series...a bone dry pitch devoid of even grass roots,looking like a strip of rolled beach, surrounded by a lush outfield...I hope it backfires

  • popcorn on September 1, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Mike Hussey - you are INVALUABLE to us! you saved us at the SCG test against Pakistan - and now here in Sri Lanka. how could ANYBODY think of dropping you? When will youngsters learn? Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh - LEARN, WATCH how he plays. Brad Haddin, come on, score some runs!

  • SamRoy on September 1, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    I agree 100% with @dimitri.samaratunga. Sub-continent wickets are meant to be turning tracks. It's the way sub-continent is. The climatic conditions make them that. Only SSC in Colombo, Karachi , Mohali, Wankhede and Brabourne in Mumbai have some life for pacemen and only on the first day. Playing spin bowling is as essential a part of cricket as playing seam bowling. So, if Perth, Barbados, Headingley, Durban are good for the game so are Premadasa, Green Park (Kanpur), Galle , Kotla (Delhi) and Chepauk(Chennai). If you try to make them friendly for fast bowling they only end being flat tracks and help in boring draws. It's a fact; if you want result oriented pitches for test cricket in sub-continent it has to be a turning track. If it has some assistance for fast bowlers it is an added bonus.

  • popcorn on September 1, 2011, 3:24 GMT

    Why did Ryan Harruis have to act like an extra smart noble walker, when Australia had two reviews left, and he could have asked for a Review - the Review showed he was not out - was he in a hurry to bowl? Is he a team man? Didn't he know Australia needed runs on board?

  • Marcio on September 1, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    270 is a decent score under these conditions. I suspect SL will struggle against Harris, Copeland and co, who have bowling averages in the low to mid 20s. SL's opening pair average high 40s and low 50s respectively, and no other bowler less than 35 per wicket. I can't see how SL can possibly be competitive with this bowling lineup, regardless of how they manipulate pitch conditions. AUS will have to bowl really badly to lose from here.

  • on September 1, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    And We (Australia) dumped Katich for Hughes because...

  • c3vzn on September 1, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    EVERYBODY WHO SAYS WATSON WASTED HIS WICKET OBVIOUSLY DID NOT WATCH THE GAME. He got done by a beautiful delivery to which he tried to defend.

  • ygkd on September 1, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    The problem with the Australian batting line up is simply Ponting, Watson and Hughes are all now batting too high up the order and the others aren't currently up to moving down. Six number four-five-sixes into one batting line-up do not go. Shaun Marsh seems next in line. He's not really top order material either. On the positive side, Sri Lanka have no such problems and if they rattle of a big score it will be well worth watching.

  • jfgvjksnkka on September 1, 2011, 1:04 GMT

    Watson should drop down the order, he has the bigest game of the australians but not the temprament to open and protect the rest of the order a la Katich. With regards to the pitch it doesnt matter what the state of the pitch is as long as both teams have to play on the same pitch. The only pitch I dont want to see is one that does not produce a result.

  • on September 1, 2011, 0:51 GMT

    Lets look on the bright side for a change . Or rather , think positively . We have our 1st. innings posted on the board . Lets see how the opposition respond . I support Aussies and do not enjoy the knockers that slip in any chance they get . We have been in a worst position than this against this very same opponent and finished up giving them a very good dusting . Ain't no fat lady getting ready to do any singing yet! Just remember where these two teams are placed on the World Ladder , and don't expect top of the Ladder performances . I admire any person that is chosen to represent Australia in any sporting event , any where in the World . Even the great Muhammad Ali said , and proved , "you can't win 'em all !"

  • Trioboy on September 1, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    Aussies should learn how to play the spin, instead of whinging and making excuses.

  • Sanj747 on September 1, 2011, 0:44 GMT

    Marsh should open with Watson. How long are we going to carry Haddin when there is Tim Paine waiting in the wings. Paine is a better keeper, can definitely bat and is young. Haddin just doesn't seem to providing any value on all fronts.

  • VEXXZ on September 1, 2011, 0:42 GMT

    Its an interesting Australia bowling line up on a DUST-BED for a Test pitch . Giving the condition of this pitch for the first day , i see grounds for "protest" , win, lose or draw .

  • hilditchmustgo on September 1, 2011, 0:05 GMT

    Im not that concerned with us only making 270. Yeah we wasted a lot of starts but it was turning and swinging from the get go and doesnt look like stopping today. We have a pretty good bowling group so hopefully we can bowl sri lanka out of 300 or so. Any lead we can get would be very very handy on this wicket. Oh and stop bagging Khawaja...Hes new and the wicket was turning right angles. He'll come good.

  • hyclass on September 1, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    For those proposing Marsh as a solution,if he cant make runs on flat wickets under no pressure,what hope would he have on this wicket?His tour scores have been:4,0,70,2,12. If Jayawardene had taken the simple chance off Mendis,at slip when he was on 8,on his way to 70,it would read,26 runs at 5.As it is,its only 88 runs at 17.6.His last 1st class game was for WA.He made 5 from 24 balls and 50 from 124 balls.Former NSW player,Mark Higgs,in an article on Lyon,described players in his era,not so long ago,who average mid 30s,as fighting for their place in the state side.Ponting has recently publicly expressed his disbelief at batsmen who average mid 30s being selected for Australia these days.Its a damning statement from someone of his calibre.He could only mean Marsh.

  • bobagorof on August 31, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    @Martin Crowther : "Australia I think need to realise that Hughes is more a ODI player than a test math player" - and Marsh isn't? Seriously?

  • hyclass on August 31, 2011, 23:54 GMT

    Good to see Ponting taking them on again.I have no problem with his dismissal.On a pitch like that,which hasnt been seen up in the WC India/Bangladesh,Zimbabwe or since arriving in SL,i thought it was the right approach and its instructive,that despite Australias perilous position,a player with over 12000 runs felt surviving on that wicket,problematic at best and favoured attack.Watsons approach was the right one as well and showed when the first over of spin arrived and immediately dismissed him.The ball that got Hughes,was a snorter,that took off from a length and would have taken anyones wicket-or head-or both.Im not surprised that Khawaja,Hussey and Clarke were dismissed in that fashion.The pitch was two paced,had uneven bounce and was spitting some of the big turning deliveries.It made straight deliveries,genuine weapons.Hussey edged through slip early on,but Dilshan had none in place at that time.This looks like a Copeland & Johnson wicket to me.I look forward to the SL innings.

  • bobagorof on August 31, 2011, 23:52 GMT

    @Skunkman Pietersen : I'm not sure what the obsession with Marsh is. It would be quite easy to put Khawaja in at 4 without bringing Marsh into the side. Just move him up from 6, and shift Clarke and Hussey down one spot each. Alternately, put Watson at 4 (his preferred spot) and open with Khawaja and Hughes. Or Marsh, if you really want him in the side for some reason...

  • on August 31, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    aussie/NSW fan here. I don't want to here anyone complaining about the pitch. result pitch served up, its test cricket so our batsmen need to man up and play more like Hussey did in these conditions.

    As for Hughes, he has some technical difficulties against the rising ball, is test cricket the place to work those out....I think not. get him back to Sheffield Shield and score a 1000 runs this summer, they should have played Marsh.

  • on August 31, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    @Stormy16 Well Said Mate. Many forget that in 2004 Ponting opened with Warne in the 2nd innings of the Galle test and ended up bowling out SL for 154 (Warnie got a 5 for). It is typical from Aussie fan's who can't embrace the fact that they were tactically deficient in playing a debutant spinner on an extremely spin friendly wicket. Who knows Lyons may bowl some blinding spells or wither and suffer. Besides there are 12 more sessions left. It's anyone's game at the moment.

  • hyclass on August 31, 2011, 23:34 GMT

    There can be no question,given the conditions in SL,particularly recent continuing rain and the knowledge that it washed out the last series against the WI and was predicted to do so this series,that there is little excuse for the dryness of the wicket on the first morning.Wickets on the sub continent will always turn and do not need the added encouragement of the curators.The first day wicket was reminiscent of a last day wicket and does no credit to anybody.The last pitch that i saw,so poorly prepared,was in the last Ashes series,Perth, vs England,that suddenly developed alarming bounce and pace,that had not been evident in many years,promoting a hometown result. It did that curator no credit either.It beggars the question,given the move to neutral umpires,that,given the significant role that pitches play in the outcome of matches,whether neutral curators will be necessary in the future.The saving graces are Dilshans poor captaincy for the first session & a half & SL might bat last.

  • on August 31, 2011, 23:20 GMT

    As a pom, and thus a neutral with regard to the outcome of this game, I do wish people would stop complaining about the wicket. This is the beauty of test cricket, the variety of situations encountered around the world against different teams. It makes the game far more interesting and it is the responsibility of the touring team to compete in whatever conditions are thrown at them, not the responsibility of the home side to cater conditions to competitors who arn't sufficiently equipped technique-wise. And to answer those who hope they prepare spin-friendly wickets for the England series coming up, I really hope they do. It will be a great test for our side and the more 'biased' the conditions the greater the challenge and more interest the competition.

  • Don_The_Green on August 31, 2011, 23:04 GMT

    Well said Jono. The Aussies would have hoped for slightly more batting first, but 273 is a respectable score on a turning pitch. SL have to bat now, and although they can be very good on their day, they can also be quite brittle. I just hope Clarke gives Lyon a good chance to succeed. Go Aussies!

  • on August 31, 2011, 22:54 GMT

    @Martin Crowther: You can't really blame SL for looking dangerous at home, Australia only performed at the WACA last summer, which was a pitch the English weren't accustomed to. Same way England outplayed SL a few months ago.

    On Hussey batting at no 4, look at the stats mate, Hussey's career went downhill ever since he was promoted to to no 4 and only managed to salvage it when he dropped back to no 5. Ideally they should have opened with Marsh and perhaps played Khawaja at no 4. Now that would have been some courageous forward thinking stuff. I guess selectors everywhere are acting a bit funny. Otherwise why would SL play Randiv over Mendis????

  • MinusZero on August 31, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    Watson wasted his wicket. Someone please inform him that it isnt an ODI. This is why he only has two centuries in 50 innings

  • Biggus on August 31, 2011, 22:22 GMT

    Well, all I can say is that if the pitch is turning square for finger spinners and breaking through the surface and bringing up puffs of dust in the first session of the first morning, how will it play if the match gets into a fifth day? I have nothing against home advantage and pitches that favour spin but this one has no structural integrity. It's a fifth day wicket already.

  • ScareCrow93 on August 31, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    For those who thinking about what happened to Chandimal... There's a small problem with his batting and Sri Lankan batting coach Marvan Atapattu is trying to make him a better batsman at the moment. Don't worry about him, he'll come at the right time as a better batsman to kick lots of asses :) Also.. Its Marvan Atapattu, no need to be worried at all. He is the best!

  • yorkslanka on August 31, 2011, 21:52 GMT

    Well said stormy16. Your comments are spot on...some ppl just love to moan about our wickets,when we score 500 its flat,when the score is 270 its sub standard...just because a wicket is different to those if your country doesn't automatically make it worse...we still need to bat and the reports suggest our seamers did well,so it will be a tough ask against the Aussie seamers..good luck SL.

  • GoodGrief on August 31, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    Fine, Eng/Aus/SA can't play in the subcontinent and Ind/Pak/SL can't play outside of the subcontinent blah blah blah whatever. One of the joys of Test Cricket is that each country offers a different challenge. Being number 1 simply means that you are the the best against your current peers. If that means (for example) that Australian will lose in SL but would beat them at home so be it. - The same applies to Eng & Ind. Home sides have the right to prepare pitches as they see fit and touring teams understand that and must embrace it. The alternative would be to play all Test Matches on matting - how exciting would that be??? The truely great sides of the past (including the WINDIES 70s/80s and Aussies 90s/00s) never made excuses about conditions and embraced the challenges - after all thats what separates Test Cricket from every other sport. Of course conditions can only do so much and can not save a truely crap side. So I am looking forward to Eng thrashing India in India...

  • on August 31, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    aussie never complained about pitches when they won ODI series , just keep shut up guys , try to win in sub continent, what happened to india in england ??? sl played way way better than india in very difficult conditions

  • on August 31, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    Sri Lanka only look dangerous on their own pitches at the moment when their spinners are operating. Herath looked ordinary vs England and the other bowlers looked toothless.Their seam bowling department is weak. But I Can't believe Michael Clarke thinks he should bat above Hussey. Clarke is more a number 5 batsman and having clarke at 4 ruins the left hand then right hand batsman in the order.Hussey has a better technique than Clarke and is used to batting higher up the order. I still think Clarke should have played Marsh instead of Hughes as Hughes has shown again he gets in... and then out. Australia I think need to realise that Hughes is more a ODI player than a test math player. Marsh should have batted with Watson and Australia should have played 5 bowlers as I think its going to be a long day in the field for the Aussies tomorrow and if Harris or one of the other bowlers gets injured they are going to struggle.

  • randikaayya on August 31, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    @Main_Culprit: Well said mate, I'm with you! TO ALL AUSSIE FANS complaining here: Its uncalled for to cry already mates, 273 maybe a par score under the conditions. However you must take note of the saying that "When in Sri Lanka, Do what the locals do'. We prepare spinning tracks and if you can't play spin then we are sorry for you. That said SL seamers swung the ball well and got 4 out of 10 wickets on day 1 and the Aussies too may do that. Just don't start to cry too early and complain the grapes are sour already, not fitting for the much hyped Australianism!

  • morethan20-20 on August 31, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    Do they call him " Punter the contributor " ? Do they call him Punter the wise ? or Punter the adaptive ? NO..... just punter... and as for haddin ....will that be enough runs to off set the byes..

  • on August 31, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Not sure that any Aussie fans are actually complaining about the pitch? Seems to be mostly neutrals. I think us Aussies knew what was coming haha. Think our quicks are going to be seriously hard to handle on this pitch. If Lakmal can make it spit then Johnson and Harris will terrorise the Lankans. Can't wait to see how Lyon goes, simply get it into the right spot my son and let the pitch do it's thing. Was dissappointed with Punter's shot a little but it's probably a pitch to be positive on, Australia are right in this one baby!

  • on August 31, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    too early to judge.the came wil have many twist and turns

  • rahulcricket007 on August 31, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    WELL DONE SL SPECIALLY IM VERY IMPRESSED BY LAKMAL 'S BOWLING FIGURES ON A TURNING PITCH .I HOPE SL PREPARE SAME TURNING PITCHES WHEN ENGLAND COME IN SL AND WHITEWASH ENGLAND .

  • Silloh on August 31, 2011, 16:41 GMT

    Oh how the mighty has fallen. Australia 273 all out on the first day of a test match ? No mun ... can't be, but unfortunately it's true. If the youths want to see good test cricket they will need to go back in the archives and look at some tapes with Australia and the West Indies of yesteryear. These current crop of cricketers, at least most of them are boring and lack class. Hopefully the current series with Australia and Sri Lanka would prove me totally wrong as we should not have to dwell in the past ,except for motivation.

  • on August 31, 2011, 16:18 GMT

    sri lanka will easily win the series

  • denwarlo70 on August 31, 2011, 16:01 GMT

    Whilst respecting all of your comments, I would like to say cricket is a funny game and our selectors are funny too. What could we do but grin and bear.

  • on August 31, 2011, 15:56 GMT

    Chad Withyman , This is real cricket and the sub continent was the Final Frontier for the great Aussie team if u can't watch this pls quit watching cricket.. i Know the present No 1 team can not win on these conditions....

  • babarzia on August 31, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    @ Ellis. Different type of pitches suit different teams and a complete test team copes with different conditions better than incomplete test teams. How they do it (for example how Hussey battled here, or how Dravid battled in England) is the beauty of test cricket. Different playing conditions rather than the same old home cooking separates the pretenders (like the Rainas and the Umar Akmals, and the Hughes) from real batsmen with solid technique. When subcontinental teams tour SA (and previously AUS) they get snorters that fast bowlers love, and when you visit Sri Lanka you get turners. I think we (and people lke Ponting too, who have previoulsy complained about turning dry pitches, as sub stabdanrd) should appreciate and enjoy the varieties of test cricket, and if not go and watch baseball where the ball doesnt even touch the ground.

  • on August 31, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    Well done sri lanka prepare these kind of turning tracks when the overhyped Seaming track bullies of England tour Sri lanka and prove that they dont deserve the No 1 spot and they can never win in sub continent..

  • awesome10 on August 31, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    I was dissappointed with the way Ponting was out today. His quest for a long innings and his determination is slowly fading and diminishing. Has Ponting's era come to an end? This series would answer this question.

  • stormy16 on August 31, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    Folks, some of you guys are jumping to too many conclusions based on the first innings of the first test. SL is yet to bat on this wicket and some of you are already calling for Mathews and Kawaja's heads!! Sounds like a difficult wicket and 273 may be a par score provided the Aussies can hold the SL batting to a small lead. With SL having to bat last, I reckon the Aussies can afford to give SL 325. SL would take 273 all out on first day and back themselves to take a good first innings lead and its all before them to do it tomorrow. Some of you seem to be stuck in the Bradmen era where cricket was only played on 'familiar' wickets in two countries where the same tatctics worked everyday - well this is the 21st century and spinners play a key role in Asia and its actually common to see spinners opening the attach in one dayers so wake up and embrace something different and see if you can master these conditions - that's after all the challenge.

  • yorkslanka on August 31, 2011, 15:08 GMT

    @Lord Esmworth- as always good sense from you my friend ! tbh i agree with your point about Chandimal but wonder whether the decision to drop him was made by selcetors or the minister who ratifies the team selection :-(...

  • citizenkc on August 31, 2011, 15:01 GMT

    These are rich times for test middle orders(3-5)--some of the legends of the game. I would rank them on current form as following:

    1. England-Trott, Pietersen, Bell; 2. SA-Amla, Kallis, DeVillers; 3. India-Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman; 4. Sri Lanka-Sanga, Mahela, Samaraweera; 5. Aus-Ponting, Clarke, Hussey; 6. WI- Sarwan, Bravo, Chanderpaul; 7. Pak-Younis, Misbah, Ukmal/Ali

    I am leaving out NZ and Bangladesh since their middle orders are not consistently picked. Of course, these rankings are location-specific. In their home countries, that country's middle order would probably be number 1 (except for Pak and WI). I would probably pick SA in all conditions just because of Kallis and Amla. India would be hard to match in the subcontinent. Anyway, those with a good knowledge of the history of the game, was there ever a better set of middle-order batsmen?

  • Narkovian on August 31, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    I agree with Ellis about the pitch. OK so all countries prepare a wicket to suit their strong suit.. in case of SL that's spin bowling But come on, this wicket is a joke. Breaking thru the surface and turning square on the first morning. I hope SL get caught out and get bowled out in their own backyard. Would serve them right. How Hussey managed to get 95 is a testament to a great player. What I am amazed at is AUS going in with only one totally inexperienced spinner.

  • SnowSnake on August 31, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    Ponting should have gone 2 years back when Australia lost its #1 test ranking. Longer he stays in the team deeper Australia sinks in the ranking table.

  • Main_Culprit on August 31, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    TO ALL THAT BLAME OUR PITCHES - Do you ever prepare wickets to suit spinners when SL or IND tour your countries? NO. Why do you think we have to prepare pace friendly wickets to suit you? If our batsmen bounce and swing when we stand on your pitches, theres no harm in we making you spin when you come to ours.(unless otherwise you still think you rule the world, what you guys do is always right and should be followed) Well, thats called 'history'. We now know how to do things 'our way' - For us 'White is no longer Right'.

  • Marcio on August 31, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    You cannot be serious @WTEH! Are you actually telling me that you don't know WHY the pitch was spinning in the 7th over on day 1? Do you actually think any the pitch would be spinning sideways after twenty minutes on any other pitch in the world? Spin bowlers don't come into the game till late on day three because that is when the pitch starts to wear and the grass starts to thin. No danger of losing grass on this pitch. I'm sure even you can work out why.

  • dimitri.samaratunga on August 31, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    Typical how people always whine about subcontinent pitches because their batsman can't play spin. Both teams have to deal with the turn so get over it. I can understand the argument that flat pitches have nothing for the bowlers and upset the balance between bat and bowl, but what's the complaint on a turner that limits a score to 273. How different is that from a grassy, bouncer in Eng/Aus that allows good seamers to bowl near unplayable deliveries? I appreciate both types of pitches because they restore the balance between bat and ball and make the batsman earn their runs with patience and skill, like Hussey did. The double standards are pathetic. If you can't deal with turn you have no more right to complain than subcontinent batsman who can't play seam movement and bounce. You need to conquer both to be the best.

  • Herath-UK on August 31, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    It was all evident this is a poor Australian team for Sri Lanka's taking;Watson won't have heroics as in ODIs,Huges,Haddin,Kawaja just ordinary;Clarke has not made any score of substance and Ponting on the slide.If SL won't win this they will be kicking themselves,I'm sure. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • DjTestament on August 31, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    Can anyone tell me why Steve O'Keefe doesnt get picked for the test of ODI squads. He has a fantastic first class record compared to the spinners australia picks out of no where.

  • bumsonseats on August 31, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    as a pom hope SL get the worst of the match,turning sideways after 5 overs says everthing for the sanctity of test cricket.dpk

  • dinkey on August 31, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    To all the Sri Lankan fans, whatever happened to Jehan Mubarak.Has he retired, will we ever see him play for Sri Lanka again.

  • dinkey on August 31, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Udendra I appreciate your loyalty but there was no way that Khawaja was out. Dilshan told the umpire they were claiming a catch, when it was quite clear the ball missed the bat and would have gone over off stump. The umpire told dilshan third umpire couldn't be sure that he hit the ball. When in doubt it MUST favour the batsman. You're getting us at a bad time. Australian cricket is in crisis. Cricket Australia had a review and Ricky Ponting was urged to stand down and hand the reigns over to Michael Clarke in ODI's and Test matches. Ponting doesn't play T20's. Simon Katich also lost his Cricket Australia contract despite being the form batsman and Tim Nielsen has to re-apply for his job before our summer starts. Ponting is no longer a selector. The Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch has been forced to stand down because the job is now fulltime, which is why Greg Chappell is over there. Khawaja is only playing his second test match and he's never played in Sri Lanka.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 31, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    @Jed23, its the stress of trying to live upto SK Warne. Cant wait to see what Kind of score SL can put on, as that will show 270'ish is a par score on this pitch. Who would have preditcted huges getting out playing away from his body to a short delivery, might start refering to him as the new GA Hick.

  • WTEH on August 31, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    Hows that for spin bowling. Introduction of spin on 7th over. India can learn a great deal from this inning. Too bad you guys already lost 4-0. May be in the next series remember to take some spinners with you. Not just Harbajan.

  • Kavajo on August 31, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    Galle - easily the world's most beautiful test ground.

  • popped on August 31, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    @ Chad Withyman Pleas switch it off makes one more winger off these forums ,those who appreciation real cricket t will watch ,like us we will leave the you to watch cricket on greentops

  • Fluffykins on August 31, 2011, 13:29 GMT

    Now over to the quality spinners in the Oz attack............

  • Mary_786 on August 31, 2011, 13:29 GMT

    Khawaja did not hit the ball when he was reviwed, his bat his pad, that was the noise that you heard.

  • yohandf1984 on August 31, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    Well played Sri Lanka . underated sri lankan bowling attack did the job as a unit . So credit should be given to them, So its up to batters to capitalize on it to make a considerable lead. Shouldnt forget Aussies are fighters so SL team needs to bat sensibly . waiting for a wonderful day 2 .

  • Lord.emsworth on August 31, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    I agree fully with Yorkslanka on his opionion on Mathews. Mathews has had a lean trott recently but he has pulled off some sensational performances in the past and has helped SL through many a hole. Besides he IS good captain material as he has played for SL from the junior level and has vast experience. Having said that I also agreewith the good Altaaf about the blindness bit (of the SL selectors?). Its not good for Chandimals confidence to drop him taking into consideration his antics in England where he made that century. Duleep Mendis relies all to heavily on Sanga and Mahela.Where is the future?

  • on August 31, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    I agree that Mathew's has not been performing - but he probably will have a bowl in this match in the second innings (if required) The problem is that Chandimal although a great batsmen is not ideal for middle order situations and Angelo has proved he has the temperament. Chandimal also needs to be playing but as a number 3 or 4 and not a 6 or 7. But that puts preassure on the other bowlers and robs the captain of an option in the event the bowlers are not able to get wickets. As you saw in the 5th ODI - Angelo has the knack of tacking wickets against the run of play. Although granted he is not earning his place in the side just now! Regarding my name sake Mubarak - not likely. He had his fair share chances - Good player, badly handled and been a tad bit unlucky in how he got out in big games.

  • kezzajakes on August 31, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Watson, Ponting, Clarke, Hughes and Kawaja need to be sacked! We need the young guns boosting the team. Not these pretenders. We need more 23 year olds. Although we don't need hughes as he can't play anything over his waist (if it does: he gets too scared)

  • Ellis on August 31, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    Sri Lanka have set themselves up for a possible loss in this match by preparing a wicket way below the level required for a Test. They will have to bat last and will be behind the eight ball if they have anything over 300 to make to survive. The Australian pace bowlers will not be easy to handle, and Lyon and Clarke will give SL trouble. This is a wicket on which if you win the toss, you are likely to win the game. 273 is a good score in the circumstances. Looks very much like SL were too clever by half in their preparation of the wicket. Pointing fingers at how other countries prepare wickets is of no use when you cut your nose to spite your face.

  • RandyOZ on August 31, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    Haddin surely has to be on his last legs. Flemo and Blewett were talking him up but I sure didn't see too many good signs from his innings.

  • NALINWIJ on August 31, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    There is little in the match at this stage and the key is whether SL can get a first innings lead or not and by how much. This match will end in a result but I doubt that Australian spinner can exploit the pitch as much as the sri lankans. I feel whoever wins this match will win the series. I feel Sanga.Mahela and Thilan versus Aussie pace with variable bounce will be the key.SL LIONS WILL SLAY THE AUSSIE LYON!!

  • Cris_G on August 31, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    People complaining about the pitch wake up! Its called playing on tour, and it is what makes test match cricket enjoyable to watch. That was real cricket today, the batsmen had to work for their runs and the bolwers had to bowl well to take wickets. if Australia bowl well they will be in this match. You are not going to expect an excellent or seeming track in conditions like in Galle. When the series moves to kandy and Colombo you will find that the fast bolwers will take more wickets then in this match.

  • bumsonseats on August 31, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    we cannot do anything about the rain. i am surprised SL supporters saying about uk. over last 2month u have been saying great things about the runs u scored in those conditions in the uk. good batters score runs. not only good players of spin. in uk the seamers get their chance and good spinners in last couple of days .makes for good test matches . even india dont make wickets so spin friendly. dpk

  • on August 31, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    Michael Hussey... what a... player!!! I wish our Indian team had someone like him beside Rahul Dravid, I am sure we would not have lost to England.

  • on August 31, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    australia = india; srilanka = england; hussey=dravid; Its the equation.

  • yorkslanka on August 31, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    @altaaf- you are entitled to your opinion my frined but i think you are wrong..Matthews is the future captain of Sri Lanka but at the moment he is still not fully fit from teh injury he sustained during the WC.It is the selectors fault for picking him as half fit..He can hold the lower order together with his batting and when fit is a handy back up bowler to the two main fast bowlers... at all the people claiming that we have doctored the pitch, I have just returned from holiday in SL and it was averaging 35 degrees with 80% humidity, good luck trying to grow grass in those conditions....

  • meursault on August 31, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    Dinkey, I love the irony in suggesting dropping Watson from opening on the basis of one tour game last week, while simultaneously saying the captain who eased to a very easy hundred not out in that same tour game is "GOOOOOONNNNNE"! Some people love having short or selective memories. You were probably one of those guys wanting to keep Mark Taylor after his 26 innings without a 50 because he was a good captain and now you're on Clarke's back even though he's had a run of outs (among many other batsmen similarly underperforming), but just before that was our best and most consistent player for a couple of years (think of the last Ashes series in England). All this ridiculous presure being put on his batting is not helping him or Australia.

  • bumsonseats on August 31, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    chad as a brit i understand your feeling we get this in 5 months time .i would just love to see it all come back and bite SL. dpk

  • bumsonseats on August 31, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    i dont think the auusies 200 for 6 will think the scores to bad get 250 /270 and they r right in the game. dpk

  • TheUnforgiven on August 31, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    @Chad Withyman - No one's forcing you to watch. Please feel free to turn your TV off.

  • Mathu. on August 31, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    Hay guys,350 seems very far now. Looks a tuff to score with such dry condition favoring all kind of balls... If Ausis's score can be limited below 275 target, we have to see how SL batsman score a better total. For me it is going to be low scoring, tuff one for both sides. Patience is the key, proved only by Hassay so far. J'wardene & Sanga should shoulder the ining for a longer time if SL needs to win the game. Good luck SL!

  • KosalaDeSilva on August 31, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    Ha ha.. those who are moaning about pitches and condition should think about pitches in England and Australia which we may think they forgot to cut the grass there in miserable wet weather and good for swim bowlers.

  • on August 31, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    Makes me sick seeing so many spinners... It's just not cricket, dust bowls on the first session. I refuse to watch anymore sub continent cricket.

  • on August 31, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    Khawaja was out caught behind but given not out by the review! What kind of review is that??

  • hmmmmm... on August 31, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    dinkey - easy, it won't take long for australia to be 4 down in an innings!

  • altaaf on August 31, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Mathews Mathews most over rated srilankan cricketer, failed in one days.. not a good test batsman. waste of space... cannot ball. should have occupied by chandimal. If chandimal or tharanga fail one or two matches they will be replaced. now howmany matches has mathews failed. srilankans are blind.

  • dinkey on August 31, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Poor shot Ponting just as I was about to say he's holding the innings together. At this rate we'll be lucky to get 250. Come on Usi.

  • dinkey on August 31, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    Imagine if Lasith Malinga was playing.We'd be in deep trouble. It looks like Usi will be batting on day one. Haddin and Johnson better shake off their batting slumps. If there's anyone from Sri Lanka reading this page, whatever happened to Jehan Mubarak. Will he ever play Test cricket again?

  • dinkey on August 31, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Khawaja is wasted at 6.hows he going to score a century from down there. As for Hughes.It was a great delivery but he should be opening with Khawaja. Have a look at the scorecard in their tour match. They both opened and scored heavily. When Phil Jacques got injured for NSW and had to have a back operation Usman moved up to the top order and both Hughes and Khawaja played well. Watson should come in at 3 with Ponting down to six. Meanwhile Clarke's GOOOOOOONNNNNNNE!

  • on August 31, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    If Australia get out for less than 350, they are going to have a hard time in the field as SL rack up an easy 500+. Australia are going down.

  • JiminyCricket1969 on August 31, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Great to another Aussie spinner with a good tongue action back in the test team!

  • Ahsan_Shere on August 31, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    Hats off to Ponting & Clarke for surviving more than 12 overs on such a helpful wicket for spinners against Srilanka.

  • RandyOZ on August 31, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    Hughesy got an absolute jaffa. Lets go Punter!

  • TeamRocker on August 31, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    @Jed23- You gotta point there!

  • Marcio on August 31, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    I suspect the Aussies are more concerned about the mysterious balding of the pitch one day out from the start of the game. How blatant can you get?

  • Jed23 on August 31, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Seriously what is it with Aussie spinners going bald.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Jed23 on August 31, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Seriously what is it with Aussie spinners going bald.

  • Marcio on August 31, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    I suspect the Aussies are more concerned about the mysterious balding of the pitch one day out from the start of the game. How blatant can you get?

  • TeamRocker on August 31, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    @Jed23- You gotta point there!

  • RandyOZ on August 31, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    Hughesy got an absolute jaffa. Lets go Punter!

  • Ahsan_Shere on August 31, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    Hats off to Ponting & Clarke for surviving more than 12 overs on such a helpful wicket for spinners against Srilanka.

  • JiminyCricket1969 on August 31, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Great to another Aussie spinner with a good tongue action back in the test team!

  • on August 31, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    If Australia get out for less than 350, they are going to have a hard time in the field as SL rack up an easy 500+. Australia are going down.

  • dinkey on August 31, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Khawaja is wasted at 6.hows he going to score a century from down there. As for Hughes.It was a great delivery but he should be opening with Khawaja. Have a look at the scorecard in their tour match. They both opened and scored heavily. When Phil Jacques got injured for NSW and had to have a back operation Usman moved up to the top order and both Hughes and Khawaja played well. Watson should come in at 3 with Ponting down to six. Meanwhile Clarke's GOOOOOOONNNNNNNE!

  • dinkey on August 31, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    Imagine if Lasith Malinga was playing.We'd be in deep trouble. It looks like Usi will be batting on day one. Haddin and Johnson better shake off their batting slumps. If there's anyone from Sri Lanka reading this page, whatever happened to Jehan Mubarak. Will he ever play Test cricket again?

  • dinkey on August 31, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Poor shot Ponting just as I was about to say he's holding the innings together. At this rate we'll be lucky to get 250. Come on Usi.