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September 1, 2011
The debutants, part one
Tillakaratne Dilshan is known for his capacity to unsettle opposition bowling attacks, but he would come to regret his attempted first-over assault on Australia's pace debutant Trent Copeland. The first ball was full and thrashed to the cover fence. The second was shorter and wider and Dilshan went again, this time failing to get his weight forward and lifting the ball just enough for Ricky Ponting to take a screamer at short cover. Copeland became the sixth Australian to take a wicket with his second ball in Tests - Ben Hilfenhaus was the last at Johannesburg in 2009 - and the 18th Australian to do the trick in his first over. Until...
The debutants, part two
Nathan Lyon's first ball in Test cricket was not quite as good as Shane Warne's "ball of the century", but it had followers of the game casting back more than 100 years for a parallel. The only other Australian to pouch a wicket first ball was Arthur Coningham., who achieved the feat against England at the MCG in the 1894-95 season in his only Test appearance. It was a mixed occasion for Coningham though, who bowled a deliberate beamer in the second innings after being no-bowled. Coningham was one of the game's more colourful characters. In another match he reportedly started a fire in the outfield "to keep warm" and was awarded a medal after saving a boy from drowning in the Thames.
When Phillip Hughes played over an attempted sweep shot against Tillakaratne Dilshan and was given out lbw for 28, he seemed to indicate he had hit the ball before calling for a review. Replays showed some kind of deviation, either sharp spin off the pitch or a deflection off the bat, before the ball reached Hughes' front pad. Yet the ball-tracking of Hawk-Eye showed evidence of neither, suggesting the ball was on its way to striking middle stump. Regardless of whether or not the ball was going on to hit the stumps, it seemed highly unlikely to do what Hawk-Eye suggested would be its predicted path. Debate over the accuracy of the technology can only continue to fester so long as such anomalies occur.
Sri Lankan cricket's host broadcaster, the Dubai-based Ten Sports, made a late switch of statistical and graphics staff ahead of the Test match after the contracted company, Alex Loccisano Broadcast Services of Melbourne, raised the issue of US$100,000 in unpaid fees from a previous series. Loccisano threatened to withdraw his services if the arrears were not paid, and in response Ten called in another firm and told the contract-holders to pack up and go home anyway.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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