Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 1st day

All-round Australia dominate first day

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

September 8, 2011

Comments: 107 | Text size: A | A

Australia 60 for 0 (Watson 36*, Hughes 23*) trail Sri Lanka 174 (Mathews 58, Harris 3-38) by 114 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ryan Harris celebrates one of his three scalps, Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 1st day, September 8, 2011
Ryan Harris picked up 3 for 38 © Associated Press

This Test series is only five days old, but already Michael Clarke's Australians can sense victory. Their win inside four days in Galle was impressive, but even more encouraging for the country's fans was the way Australia started the second Test in Pallekele, as an attack led by Ryan Harris bundled Sri Lanka out for 174 on a good batting pitch, and then the openers took the score to 60 for 0 before bad light stopped play.

Shane Watson was on 36 and Phillip Hughes had made 23, and both men had played some wonderful shots, showing just how friendly the surface was. Australia know about one-sided days like these. They've been on the wrong side of a few over the past couple of years. This time it was Sri Lanka's turn to wonder what more could have gone wrong.

Their problems started before a ball was even bowled, as their best spinner from the previous Test, Rangana Herath, was ruled out due to a finger injury. If that wasn't bad enough, the man they wanted to replace him, the mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, woke up with a sore back, and rather than risk him, they named the legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna for his debut.

Things started to look up when Tillakaratne Dilshan won the toss and chose to bat on a pitch that, compared to last week's Galle dustbowl, seemed like a road. It was the last thing that went right for Sri Lanka for the entire day. They stumbled to 14 for 3 and Michael Hussey at gully take a screamer to get rid of the centurion from the first Test, Mahela Jayawardene, but there was one moment that encapsulated the day.

Smart stats

  • Sri Lanka's 174 is joint fifth on the list of their lowest first-innings scores at home after batting first. The lowest is 71 against Pakistan in Kandy in 1994.
  • For the third time in three innings (innings with ten partnerships only), Sri Lankan batsmen failed to post more than one fifty-plus stand. While they had no fifty-plus stand in the first innings in Galle, they had one each in the next two innings.
  • The partnership struggles for Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene continued against Australia. They have now aggregated only 158 runs in seven stands at an average of 22.57.
  • Angelo Mathews scored his fourth half-century overall and his second of the series. In 14 Tests, he has scored 685 runs at an average of 38.05 with a highest score of 99.
  • The opening partnership between Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes is the fifth fifty-plus opening stand for Australia in Sri Lanka. The highest is 138 between Greg Blewett and Michael Slater in 1999.

It came when the world's fifth-ranked Test batsman was dismissed by the 125th-ranked bowler. Kumar Sangakkara had been steering Sri Lanka out of trouble, and had made a patient 48 when Michael Clarke asked Hussey to have a trundle. Hussey, 36, delivers gentle medium-pacers and had taken only two Test wickets: Paul Harris and Dwayne Bravo, both of whom had been caught in the deep.

However, Sangakkara's concentration lapsed and he prodded Hussey's third ball straight to short cover. Hughes took the catch, the Australians mobbed Hussey, and he went on to complete a wicket maiden. Hussey was in shock. So were Sri Lanka.

The only highlight for the hosts was a fighting half-century from Angelo Mathews, who showed similar resilience in the first Test. He played some fine strokes, including lofting a six off Nathan Lyon's offspin, but even more impressive was the six he slammed down the ground off Harris to bring up his fifty.

But Mathews was running out of partners, and he was caught behind for 58 when he chased Mitchell Johnson, and the end came quickly for Sri Lanka. The final wicket arrived when Chanaka Welegedara was taken at third slip by Trent Copeland off the bowling of Johnson, and Sri Lanka's 174 was their fifth-lowest total batting first in a Test at home.

As if to rub it in, Watson and Hughes then cruised the final session, and Sri Lanka's one moment of hope was when Prasanna appealed for lbw against Watson. The umpire gave Watson not out and Dilshan immediately asked for a referral, which showed the ball struck Watson in the "umpire's call" zone and would have clipped the stumps with the same dubious margin. The uncertainty meant the decision was not overturned, but had the on-field umpire given Watson out, he would have stayed out.

The Sri Lankan fast men hadn't found the same swing and seam movement that Australia's bowlers did in the morning. The first hour was especially difficult for the batsmen, with both Harris and Copeland moving the ball both ways.

Some deliveries in Harris' opening spell were almost unplayable, as he angled the ball in to the right-handers and then moved it away off the seam. However, it was the left-hander Tharanga Paranavitana who was the first victim, for a 12-ball duck, when he got a thin edge behind to a ball that went on with the natural angle from over the wicket.

Copeland then produced a near perfect offcutter to get rid of Dilshan for 4. Dilshan has struggled to find the right rhythm in this series, either playing too many shots or too few, and this time it was the latter that brought his downfall when he shouldered arms to a delivery that nipped back sharply off the seam and clipped the very top of the off stump.

But the most uplifting moment for the Australians in the early stages came when Hussey, the oldest player in their team, hurled himself to his left at gully to take a brilliant one-handed catch. Jayawardene had got a thick edge off Copeland and the ball was almost past Hussey when he clutched it in his left hand, and he was quickly mobbed by his team-mates.

Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera steadied with a 43-run partnership before Samaraweera (17) was caught behind off the inside edge, the victim of another Harris delivery that nipped in off the seam. He was followed soon after by Prasanna Jayawardene, who blasted a quick 18 but fell in the first over from Lyon, when he mistimed a sweep and was caught at deep midwicket.

Prasanna was one of several batsmen who let themselves down with poor judgment, and the Sri Lankans must come out of their slump quickly if they want to keep the series alive. If the second day is anything like the first, this time on Friday it might all be too late.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (September 9, 2011, 21:58 GMT)

@ brisCricFan - agree 100%. He is a very much maligned, but with a ratio of over 4 wickets per Test @ a S/R of 53, thats World Class. Yes the radar does go off line, but he is closing in on 200 Test wickets. His ODI stats are very good too!

Posted by Ronsars on (September 9, 2011, 11:44 GMT)

@ hyclass:"applaud England for showing integrity of process,committment to results and the kind of total professionalism that forces everyone to lift their game" is the biggest joke ever...U really think Eng have those qualities...I agree the current Eng team is one of the bet in the world but they still have a long way to go & the way the fans are reacting is as though the team has achieved everything which is possible for a team to achieve

Posted by Stevieweivy on (September 9, 2011, 6:11 GMT)

That's a fantastic shot on the home page of Shane Watson losing his off stump - props to the photographer at AP :)

Posted by hyclass on (September 9, 2011, 4:34 GMT)

Hughes has been under pressure,every time hes batted in a Test, since the Ashes '09.Id like to see the monkey off his back.His records impressive.If both these batsmen negotiate the first hour,which in local conditions,is the hardest,they could be in for a big scores, not just because the pitch will flatten out,but because Dilshan looks like a man,fresh out of ideas. To be fair to him,the injuries to Matthews havent helped his cause.I see Prasanna as the big danger.As was shown in the ODI, Prasanna is at his most dangerous against the new batsmen.He looks like a bowler who can run through a lineup and has an extraordinary record.I would rather have seen Eranga included over Randiv.Its an attacking move and SL need to attack.They have enough good part-time finger spinners.The extra paceman may have proved better value to Dilshan and he can handle the bat.There seems to be a mentality of,' the more spinners,the better'.Id like to see that changed to,'Better bowlers equals more wickets.'

Posted by brisCricFan on (September 9, 2011, 4:18 GMT)

I am constantly amused at the calls to get rid of Johnson... An interesting stat that presented yesterday shows that he is the LEADING 4th innings wicket taker of all current bowlers. Shows he is a finisher. Some people say he only took the last wickets but forget that Siddle and Hussey put on almost 150 for the last wicket not so long ago... a wicket is a wicket. On top of that, Mitch is one of the fastest Aus bowlers in history to reach the milestones of 50, 100, 150 wickets and will soon do so again for 200 wickets... his record to100 was exactly that of McGrath, oh and some guy by the name of Warne...

Posted by hyclass on (September 9, 2011, 3:52 GMT)

@Ronsars...England thrashed Australia in Australia late last year and early this year.Im guessing that wasnt a home win.The demolition job they did,was the same as the one they did on India.Different conditions,same result. It may have escaped your notice,,but England isnt responsible for the ICC rankings-only for accruing the points, through wins over time,that have taken it to number 1.Instead of displaying poor sportsmanship, i would expect you to applaud England for showing integrity of process,committment to results and the kind of total professionalism that forces everyone to lift their game. In the end,isnt that the whole point to being the best?

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (September 9, 2011, 3:38 GMT)


Posted by Ronsars on (September 9, 2011, 2:41 GMT)

Just a series win over injured India and poms are acting as though they are the world champs...If India or any other subcontinent country wins a series @ home they are labelled as home-ground advantage & team which can only win @ home but if poms win the same its labelled as achievement!!!! Well done Aus a complete team effort!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Meety on (September 9, 2011, 2:31 GMT)

@Aussies_No.1_4Eva - no need to bag SL players as C-Grade. They have 3 batsmen (Sanga, Mahela & Samaweera) in modern terms who are outstanding & a good journeyman in Dilshan, & a very talented up & comer in Matthews, (possibly the Watto of SL cricket). Their w/k batsmen Jayawerdene (although playing a dumb shot against Lyon), is very good at keeping & sound as a batsmen. Their bowling is however, looking dusty. Their best bowler, (on averages) is Dilshan a part timer. SL in SL are USUALLY very competitive, still a good DAY 2 for SL & they are back in business.

Posted by   on (September 9, 2011, 2:02 GMT)


Posted by MinusZero on (September 9, 2011, 1:46 GMT)

Its the usual story. If its there to hit, hit it. If its outside off, leave it alone. Australia always bowls outside off and gets so many wickets from impatient batsman.

Posted by Meety on (September 9, 2011, 1:43 GMT)

A lot of SL fans have bagged their batsmen for their 1st day collapse, I have just seen an extended highlights package & have to say that the ball that removed Samaweera was a ripper. The only blatantly bad shot was P Jayawerdene's against Lyon & maybe the soft dismisal of Sanga, (could be argued he was out-foxed). Dilshan's dismissal is partly a result of a loss in confidence, but mainly from the fact that the Copeland delivery was pretty good!

Posted by funkybluesman on (September 9, 2011, 1:22 GMT)

Re: Jeff55C on the LBW - might help to understand the LBW laws.

The ball is allowed to pitch outside of off stump. It's only pitching outside of leg stump that's the issue. The ball has to strike the batsman in line (unless he's deemed by the umpire to not be playing a shot), but as far as where it pitches is concerned, it's only an issue if it pitches outside leg.

Posted by Meety on (September 9, 2011, 1:16 GMT)

@ Jeff55C - It is not as important where the ball pitches on the off side as the on. If the ball pitches outside leg you can't be out LBW, (even if plumb in front). What is important is where the ball STRUCK THE PAD from a ball pitching on or outside off stump. It can pitch outside off, if he is hit outside the line of off & was playing a shot - not out, if not playing a shot & the umpy thought it was hitting - out! @No_Excuses - mate MJ has the best bowling stats (except for Steyn), of any current pace bowler who has played 20 tests or more. He is statistically Anderson, Broad, & Zaheer's superior. On Copeland - it is early days - however, on unresponsive Ozzy pitches he bags 5 wickets a match & bowls long spells & is very tight, he WILL create wickets at the other end. I don't mind blooding Pattinson in a dead rubber, but Hazlewood & Cummins (I agree have massive potential), need to be UNINJURED & back playing Shield FIRST!!!!!!!!

Posted by HookeRandPulleR on (September 9, 2011, 1:08 GMT)

@getaclue....I have been thinking exactly the same thing.

Posted by RandyOZ on (September 9, 2011, 1:01 GMT)

Our bowling unit is looking sensational. I've been impressed with Lyon despite being a huge O'Keefe fan. Johnson should still be in the team in my opinion and I echo @smudgeon's comments. Our depth is going to be great for when we regain the Ashes, Starc, Cummins, Hazelwood, Pattinson, all looking good. Lets hope Harris gets some injury free years because his inswing is insane. Forget Jimmy Anderson, Harris would swing it all over england!

Posted by Aussies_No.1_4Eva on (September 9, 2011, 0:58 GMT)

OH YEA!!!!!! Aussies are gonna go to the Test Championship once they attain the Top 4 team rankings. Poor SL! Literally! I feel sorry for them...they were never a top side and were never competitive against Australia in Tests or ODIs. The last series win in Aus was a fluke but it sure was a blessing in disguise for the Aussies. Revenge is sweet. Go Punter! Prove your critics wrong! I reckon one WATTO is more talented than all of the c-grade players of SL. Enjoy the 3-0 whitewash guys! You guys deserve it!

Posted by   on (September 9, 2011, 0:46 GMT)

Aussies still havent "turned the corner".. the batting seems to still be under question. As we saw in the last session yesterday, there didn't really seem to be any great amounts of pressure on Watson and Hughes from the Sri Lankan bowling attack (yes, they are under manned at the moment though). Still, how great was that catch from Hussey.. oldest man on the ground indeed! Reflexes like a cat!

Posted by Marcio on (September 9, 2011, 0:27 GMT)

@Daniel Stubbs wrote "after the continued disappointment of the last couple of seasons" we shouldn't get carried away. You mean after the disappointment of LAST season, don't you? I seem to recall AUS was undefeated at home the second last season. I continue to be amazed at what a short term perspective cricket fans have, and how even a single game can shift people's entire perspective on a team or player, and make them forget all that has gone on previously. Today is another day. Let's see what happens.

Posted by DCDC on (September 9, 2011, 0:13 GMT)

Hope Sri lankan Cricket authorities will find a good national coach soon. Players lack of application and preparedness could be seen through out the series. Whatever the result is for the test series.....There must be a master brain behind the team. Someone like Tom Moody....Nasser Hussain....

Posted by RandyOZ on (September 9, 2011, 0:12 GMT)

Australia are well and truly on the way back to number 1. Our kids are looking good and we are buildnig up a nice bit of depth in the shield system. The Argus review means that the best players will get picked now too. Look out England!

Posted by Rooboy on (September 9, 2011, 0:06 GMT)

Australia are only on top because of their good luck in winning the toss, which is the only reason they won the last test too. Oh ... wait ... well I'm sure if you ask some people here, whatever the reason is, it has nothing to do with the fact that Aus are playing decent cricket again.

Posted by getaclue on (September 8, 2011, 23:48 GMT)

Before the aussies get carried away about a resurgence, lets see our batsmen deliver when under some pressure. ie after a 350-400 first innings deficit. As we saw in the Ashes once it looked a bit difficult we crumbled. I'm yet to be convinced we've turned the corner.

Posted by No_Excuses on (September 8, 2011, 23:42 GMT)

I think Siddle (and Bollinger) will struggle to play Test cricket for Australia again. Johnson is on borrowed time and Copeland, despite a very impressive debut, seems a bit of a one trick pony to me and might struggle long term. Copeland does have immaculate line and length and like McGrath with his height gets good bounce but I don't know if he can get away with the millitary medium stuff if there is nothing in the track for him. Harris, on current form and dodgy knee permitting, looks like being the only seamer likely to be around for the next Ashes series. If Australia win this Test they should play James Pattinson - he is as quick or quicker than Johnson, taller, better control (not difficult I guess) and seems to have a lot of upside. Josh Hazelwood looks like being the long term "McGrath" replacement (also very tall, accurate but much quicker than Copeland). The real prospect for Australia is Patrick Cummins. Only 18 and still growing but is tall, very quick and huge upside.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 23:21 GMT)

Brilliant bowling by the Aussies. If they bowl like this, they'll be No. 1 soon. Mahela and Prasanna gave their wickets away. SL should consider bringing in Upul Tharanga to open the third test Paranavitana is woefully out of form.

Posted by Jeff55C on (September 8, 2011, 23:16 GMT)

I think you will find the LBW incident mentioned against Shane Watson would have been not out even if the umpire gave him out as the ball pitches outside off according to hawk-eye.

Posted by cricsavvy on (September 8, 2011, 22:43 GMT)

SL fans - Enjoy 3-0 home whitewash!!!

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 22:25 GMT)

I feel we are witnessing Australia's resurgence

Posted by smudgeon on (September 8, 2011, 22:20 GMT)

Johnson is a complete enigma - when he's on form, he's unplayable. when he's off-form, he's unplayable (for different reasons). Which Mitch turns up on the day is worth waiting for - just in case it's the good one. I wouldn't be sound alarm bells yet, I think Australia finally have an attack that has variety and can work as a unit. Harris & Copeland can bowl all day, which means Johnson is allowed to work in the way which suits his game - shorts spells. They might have been lower-order wickets, but they are wickets. He'll trouble the SL batsmen over the rest of this series, rest assured.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 22:03 GMT)

well done Australia and Captain the work well done first by there bowlers to bowled out Sri Lanka for only 174 runs than the openers done well 60 for no lost.It is really nice to win the game at away

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 21:56 GMT)

Loving how people are saying Australia are going to be number 1 in the next 15 months. Australia are playing in the sub-continent where the pitches are dry and good for quick, accurate bowlers. Australia have these bowlers and are therefore doing well. However when it comes to them trying to get the Ashes off England in England where the ball swings and the BEST swing bowler in James Anderson resides, Australia are going to get beaten badly.

Posted by saichander on (September 8, 2011, 21:45 GMT)


Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 20:32 GMT)

Let's not get too carried away here. The Aussies have put in a few days of good Test cricket but after the continued disappointment of the last couple of seasons it's gonna take more than that to appease Aussie fans like myself. In all honesty the Sri Lankan batting has been aweful so judging how we would go against England, India or South Africa is just speculation. The Poms were so far above us last season in Australia that I think we have a long way to go before we are to compete on their level. We were beaten by an innings in three home tests last year!!

Posted by whoster on (September 8, 2011, 19:57 GMT)

The signs are good for the Aussies, and there's no doubt they've already reached their rock bottom and are becoming good again. Clarke has been impressive in the way he's handled the team, and the young players coming in have performed well. Ryan Harris has always been a quality bowler, but injuries have severely dented his career. At his age, he deserves a couple of injury-free years. It's early days for the Aussies though, and Sri Lanka have been very poor. Their bowling cupboard is now empty, and that puts huge pressure on the batsmen to score a lot of runs. It looks very likely Australia will win this series, and that'dl be an impressive performance, even against a rapidly declining home team. Sri Lanka would probably have been thrashed 3-0 by England a few months ago if it wasn't for big chunks of every Test being lost to an (even by England's standards) unusually wet weather.

Posted by dirtydozen on (September 8, 2011, 19:04 GMT)

mendis currently who is the best spinners that lanka has continues to be neglected. why is kulasekara not being picked for tests. mendis was even neglected in the finals against india during the world cup while randiv was given preference over the other two players. while in australia's case perhaps it is a beginning of an new era under clarke has begin.

Posted by sunny1307 on (September 8, 2011, 18:44 GMT)

oz were champions for no reason....they will be no.1 in both formats in the next 15 months and also win the next world cup....mark my words...

Posted by Deepfreezed on (September 8, 2011, 17:49 GMT)

prospects for Sri Lanka are quite bleak. I have not seen any new note worthy talent in the side. All the new players are sub-par. very soon, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will be beating us.

In fact, if we played Zimbabwe now, we will get beaten easily. Only sport we were good at was cricket. It looks like even that is getting away from us.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 17:35 GMT)

If SL restricts OZ under 200 then it's going to be a cracker of the game.It's surprising to see sl get tattered at their home turf.Wish them good luck to bounce back.

Posted by suzyparker on (September 8, 2011, 17:33 GMT)

I like the fact that the SL groundsmen have responded to their critics following the WI series. The pitches are sporting and are prepared for batsmen with the patience for the five day game. Australia and England are showing the importance of a good bowling attack and the SL and Indian batsmen are showing the influence of a batting line up dominated by IPL.

Posted by LAKingsFan on (September 8, 2011, 17:26 GMT)

After retirement of two baseball pitchers from SL team, the team plays in the expected lines. The funny part is SL fans bashing Indian team when their team is biting the dust on their own doctored baseball strip.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 17:26 GMT)

Well done Aussies, showing signs of improvement. I guess Pup should have been handed over the captaincy much before, perhaps when Aussies lost to India in India.

Posted by binojpeter on (September 8, 2011, 16:34 GMT)

@duck_and_cover Australia has better proven track record in subcontinent compared to England. England has never won a series in subcontinent yet. So you prove it first rather than jumping guns seeing what Australia is doing. I am not saying that England will not do it since if England can do it, this is the best time they can do it as they have best Test team now than ever.

Posted by spiritwithin on (September 8, 2011, 16:28 GMT)

without murali SL does'nt have the bowling power anymore,even with him they were clueless away from home(just 5test win away excluding BD & Zim) and now without Murali they r even more clueless in bowling and struggling even at their home pitch,the first test is a good example where a struggling aus side outbowled SL in a spinning pitch,whats more even their batsman r looking clueless at their home SL does'nt have the batting & bowling to compete against any test teams at the moment barring BD & Zim,its a far cry from ranatunga and jayasurya's days..

Posted by hris on (September 8, 2011, 16:14 GMT)

these are good signs for oz. we r still long way to matching England but in a year we should be in striking distance of the poms. this England team doesnt have the great players that a dominant side needs. its more a bunch of good quality players in form and working as a unit. From here, Surely the only way is down. we will see u poms on ur way down :)

Posted by spiritwithin on (September 8, 2011, 16:13 GMT)

@popped.. "this is not oz second team it will beat the daylights out of your pathetic team any day"----srry mate but ur team havent done well of late which warrant such BOASTING,the same Aus team got thrashed by Eng that to at ur home condition by 3-1 and also got thrashed in india 2-0 all in the last 10months,where does it leave the aus then??i guess ur team rightly deserves ur spot at no.4 or no.5 at the moment...Eng and SA r way above any other teams,then comes india and then the rest which includes Aus,SL,Pak and others...

Posted by yorkslanka on (September 8, 2011, 16:05 GMT)

well done to Australia on a great bowling effort by the sounds of it...without taking anything away from them, what on earth are SL doing? by all accounts this wicket was no terror like the last one and whilst the Aussies have a good bowling attack, we should not be getting out for such a low score with the level of talent we have in our team...the only positives from this is that the board may finally realise that Dilshan is not a good enough captain and we need a proper international coach before we reach the bottom of the pile....

Posted by buncers on (September 8, 2011, 15:59 GMT)

I think it is time for Marvin to resign as batting coach and to have a good look at Dilshan, Para and Samo's selection. Sanga needs to keep wicket in the test side or maybe his place is also in jeapordy. If these guys were in any of the other top sides they would be seriously under threat by now.

Can the young guys waiting for their chance do any worse than this lot. If you can't play at home against a not brilliant attack what the heck is going on.

Posted by top_SPIN on (September 8, 2011, 15:45 GMT)

If dilshan is interested in keeping captaincy then better drop down the order and play somewhere like 3 down. Playing samaraweera while he is failing regularly is taking a future player's opportunity. when samaraweera , sanga , mahela are going to retire it would be better if SL have some players like chandimal bhanuka in their middle order. dilshan must think about these things,, success is not achieved because of raw talent of players. what england did during past 3 years and what AUS always doing is managing their human resource for the best of team.

Posted by Stark62 on (September 8, 2011, 15:42 GMT)

Feel sorry for SL now!

They can't seem to win away but now they can't even win at home.

Posted by Fluffykins on (September 8, 2011, 15:39 GMT)

Come on Sri Lanka get your bat out....

Posted by Deepfreezed on (September 8, 2011, 15:31 GMT)

disappointment for Sri Lanka again. We need some solid openers. I think this match is done and heading for an innings defeat. White wash is eminent.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 14:47 GMT)

@biggus.. while i am happy ponting is no longer captain, as over the last couple of years his batting has failed and its good for him to have less stress, saying 'captaincy isnt for everyone' implying ponting was a poor captain is the stupidest thing ive ever heard.. he has the best captaincy record in cricket history, and odds are he will hold that record for a long time yet.. i cant stand sunny-day sports fans.. you love people when they are winning/performing, but you are the first to jump up on your soapbox when something goes wrong.. ponting can hardly be blamed for australias results lately, that lies solely with the selectors.. 1) dropping katich 2) their obsession with having a 2nd alrounder (which thankfully they have FINALLY abandoned) 3) not selecting D Hussey at 6 4) continually selecting johnson 5) the spin merrygoround (hauritz is as good as australia has, deal with it..) 6) not sticking with bollinger (i guess a test bowling average of 21 isnt good enough?)

Posted by stormy16 on (September 8, 2011, 14:40 GMT)

Sure the Aussies bowled well but what on earth are the SL's doing? This is unbelievable to be bowled under 200 in the first innings two tests in a row at home, that with a batting line up which includes 3 guys averaging over 50!! The Australian attack has two guys playing their second test and Harris hasnt played many either. Yes the Aussies are good and Clark looks even better but surely anyone will look good if the opposition bat like SL have been two tests in a row. I am afraid the series is already surely over for SL as you cannot get bowled out less than 200 and expect nothing short of a drubbing. The bowling was always going to be a problem and when you have two spinners with less than 5 tests between them bowling in the 10th over you know there are some serious problems ahead.

Posted by maddy20 on (September 8, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

@popped "this is not oz second team it will beat the daylights out of your pathetic team any day". Too bad you haven't done so in a long time. Beating the Lankans don't make you champs!

Posted by finch88 on (September 8, 2011, 14:11 GMT)

Have to credit the Aussies for turning things around after their Ashes humiliation. Clarke seems to have gotten off to a good start. This isn't a particularly tough Sri Lanka side though, the batting is awful. I think England and South Africa are ahead by quite some margin over the rest of the teams in world cricket right now.

Posted by Marcio on (September 8, 2011, 14:07 GMT)

I can understand Sl fans' frustration here. This was a very good first day batting wicket. I estimated 350 as a par score. What SL have now done is effectively conceded the advantage they had in winning the toss, batting first, and with AUS having to bat last on days 4-5 on a turning wicket. It's hard to see AUS not racking up a big first innings lead here, and then taking all pressure off their batsmen for the second innings (if it is even required). Still, SL have some very good batsmen, so they have a chance to save the game if they can rack up a very big total in the second innings.

Posted by hris on (September 8, 2011, 14:05 GMT)

great show. we can put the game and the series beyond SL tomorrow. its a great opportunity, hope we don't miss it. - like we have did in the last couple of years against India and England.

Posted by s1o9n9i0c on (September 8, 2011, 13:55 GMT)

Under the captaincy of Dilshan I don't think we would be able to select for the Test Cricket World Cup 2013... We need a revenge like this.. This is just my opinion and anyone can blame this. No worries Ok... Make Mathews as the ODI captain, He will bring us the 2015 world cup. Retain Dilshan as the T20 captain, He would be able to bring us the 2012 world cup. The most important thing is next... Ask Mahela or Sanga to take the Test captaincy again, One of them will bring us the 2013 world cup. What do you think ???

Posted by Graduated_Cheetah on (September 8, 2011, 13:33 GMT)

I couldn't have have put it better than Jono Makim. Seriously, Mitch is not the sort of bowler to rely on day after day. He has never been consistent. Australia should start working on the new Pace Bowler, some on in the mold of Glenn McGrath who can keep the batsmen under pressure and also take wickets. I am sure they will find one soon, only if the stop concentrating on Mitch and start looking.

Posted by CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on (September 8, 2011, 13:02 GMT)

Have SL pitches become spiteful ? Are aus quicks too good for sl batters ? Are sl batters incompetent enough to post even 200 in 1st innings of a test match at home ? Or its a combination of above mentioned aspects whatever it is u cant lose to this aussie team particluarly at home in tests

Posted by jerryman on (September 8, 2011, 13:00 GMT)

should start with dropping Dilshan.. lol.. batting is pathetc..

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (September 8, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

@jkaussie, thanks, but SA are a good team and now they have a decent spinner they may well be able to shake of the label of choakers. England have a difficult 15 months ahead with tours to the UAE, SL, and India home tours against WI and SA. Im rooting for the aussies to beat SA as that will keep england top, and give them a breather. This SL team are likely to drop another couple of places hovering around with Pakistan, and WI.

Posted by duck_and_cover on (September 8, 2011, 12:40 GMT)

@marcio: To be honest, I was talking about test match cricket seeing as this is a report on a test match. My logic is just fine once you understand this. The basic message is- get used to England being at the top of the test rankings (the pinnacle of the sport) because that is not going to change for a little while. Cheers!

Posted by popcorn on (September 8, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

The native Amerian Indians would put a ear to the ground and hear the hooves of the Whites' horses advancing! now the Cricketing world is witnessing this. Beware! The Aussies are coming!Move over whoever thinks they're Number One in Test Cricket! We don't like being No.5, and by the end of the summer of 2012, we'll be Number one again!

Posted by Buggsy on (September 8, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

I really like this Mathews bloke. Shows plenty of fight, it's just a shame he can't find a partner to go the distance. Still, good to see the Aussies winning something for once.

Posted by RogerC on (September 8, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

I would like all those Sri Lankan fans who ridiculed India's performance in England to come forward and provide their valued opinions on Sri Lanka's super-duper performances on friendly home grounds against Australia which is in the bottom half of ICC table. Come on guys...

Posted by Meety on (September 8, 2011, 12:31 GMT)

@Biggus - I agree 100%. I thought the first time I saw him captain an ODI side, I thought the bloke is confident & has a plan, not merely re-hashing Punters strategies. The analogy I keep thinking of (Hussey v Sanga), is the way Tubby Taylor had a knack of bringing ANYBODY on & sneaking a wicket. I remember he did the same thing with Punter's bowling! My only (SLIGHT) second guessing of his captaincy today is that I'd of started after lunch with Copeland & Harris. == == == All the people bagging MJ, I don't care if he sprays a few, the guy has what is called a PROVEN record of success. He takes over 4 wickets a match (world class), has a S/R of 53 (also world class). He could of had Sanga out for not many & SL may of struggled to get to 100. == == == @AndrewFromOz - I wouldn't replace MJ with Siddle as MJs left arm over the wicket is good roughage for Lyons right arm offies. Replace him with another Leftie if you must. Siddle to me would be cover for Harris & Copeland.

Posted by StJohn on (September 8, 2011, 12:31 GMT)

Good to see so many spectators at the ground! Look at the picture accompanying this the one on the front page of Cricinfo with Shane Watson batting and nobody in the seats behind him. Astonishing. If you turned up to watch you could have the stadium to yourself!

Posted by bumsonseats on (September 8, 2011, 12:25 GMT)

as a pom and am not to fussed if aus win or lose to be truthfull. other than the 1st test because to me it was not right what the SL tried to do, to any team. to the indians who think they will get a result in australia, think again. its a 4 test series i expect aus to win 2 - 0. so indians dont brag on here. we have seen your latest example of test match cricket. u do not have bowlers to get 20 wicketsin aussie conditions. dpk

Posted by Beertjie on (September 8, 2011, 12:15 GMT)

@jkaussie, your comment that "SAF just never seem to be able to grasp every opportunity and forge a clear break from the pack" is a bit premature. Has England done that yet? Of course, not! It's too early to tell. Likewise, SA is right up there in second place. But it's no longer only about staying number one in the league format anymore. It's also about how they perform in the test world championship tournament knock-out finals in England in 2013. That's when we'll see who the true test world champions are!

Posted by Biggus on (September 8, 2011, 12:15 GMT)

On a slightly different note, even though I only managed to catch about the last hours play it seemed like a much better wicket than at Galle, where to my mind the groundsman rightly was criticised for what was an appalling pitch. To be fair, if it is right to criticise when warranted, it is also right to compliment when it is due, so I say well done to the groundsman now. It seems to have some encouragement for the bowlers but is much more structurally sound than the Galle pitch.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 12:13 GMT)

I wish Sri lanka can win this.... but the way they played, i don't think so that they can win even a singal match from any team... current Aussie team can beat by any team, not too strong...Anyways best of luck Sri lanka..:-)

Posted by hyclass on (September 8, 2011, 12:07 GMT)

@Mervo...i dont think Siddle has ever fully recovered from his back injuries. He has lost pace and his consistency is way down. Shame for him. Im still a fan of Bollingers results. I hope to see him back soon.

Posted by jkaussie on (September 8, 2011, 11:51 GMT)

I think England are set for a long time at the top. India struggle away from home and have a trio of greats at the end of their career; Sri Lanka is best by internal struggles and who knows how long Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardene will carry on, compounded by no replacement for Malinga; Australia is at that teenage stage of re-development and will be up and down for some time until players get experience plus when Ponting and Hussey retire, a lot of batting will need to be found and SAF just never seem to be able to grasp every opportunity and forge a clear break from the pack.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 11:51 GMT)

Hey Brydon, enjoying watching you on SBS Letters and Numbers. Hope you make it to 6 nights. I always enjoy your articles. It is nice to be able to put a face to them.

Posted by Wismay on (September 8, 2011, 11:44 GMT)

@Vikas Sharma I read that Ponting had a second baby. So he went home.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 11:44 GMT)

Great Work by Australia. Such a fighting unit. Even though I am a Sri Lankan you have to admire these Aussies.

Posted by dsig3 on (September 8, 2011, 11:41 GMT)

Now that......that is a very good days cricket. One word to my Sri Lankan freinds..........Micheal Hussey! LOL it will take a while for Sanga to live that one down. I bowl quicker than him, lovin it!!!!

Posted by Timmuh on (September 8, 2011, 11:40 GMT)

@Vikas Sharma, Ponting has returned home for the birth of his second child. He will head back to Sri Lanka for the third Test.

Posted by Mervo on (September 8, 2011, 11:40 GMT)

Thank god Siddle isn't in. Line and length are a mystery to him. Bang it in and hope ... Johnson was unlucky not to have three wickets with Sanga being dropped as well. He won't manage his usual good batting in Sri Lanka but he seems to be bowling as well as any of them. What a good selection Copeland was. Those of us who were calling for him instead of Siddle, feel pleased now.

Posted by Marcio on (September 8, 2011, 11:36 GMT)

@duck_and_cover, Australia HAMMERED England 6-1 in the one dayers in Australia. SL HAMMERED England by ten wickets in the WC quarter final. OMG, England will get annihilated in the one day series on the sub-continent!!!!

Just mocking your silly logic, LOL.

Posted by Biggus on (September 8, 2011, 11:35 GMT)

I've always thought there was a really good captain lurking inside Michael Clarke, and Mike Hussey's dismissal of Sangakkara only adds to that feeling. Shades of Ian Chappell's use of Doug Walters as a partnership breaker spring to my mind. Without wanting to labour the point, the score would have to have been 3-400 before Ricky would have considered such an option, and apart from that I find it a lot easier to like him when he's not arguing with umpires. To my mind, the new de-stressed Ponting is a much improved model. Truly, captaincy is not for everybody, but I think Clarke's a natural. I hope I'm not to be disappointed. On the other side of the fence a bad day for SL, but I'll let their fans dissect their performance. Life was always going to be tough post Murali and Vaas.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 11:27 GMT)

@dsig3.. I agree, clock must be ticking for Johnson. Not only does he leak too many runs but he releases the pressure other bowlers have built. He has just never developed that ability to put the ball in the right spot, over after over, test after test. Time to find someone who can, who's the man for that, i don't know but there must be an option or two somewhere and i don't think it's Bollinger either.

Posted by zerotollerance on (September 8, 2011, 11:26 GMT)

Its a very bad feeling when you see you own country loosing.... But then again it's all because of poor decisions taken by the sl selectors and having a captain who doesn't know how to do his job. Dinesh chandimal and tirimanne who made runs in the practice games are watching the games at home... What a shame indeed....I guess it will take a bad loosing o get the wagon into motion.... Mahela fails yet again.... Give the young players a chance o play.. Then attleast they will get better a time goes on.....

Posted by popped on (September 8, 2011, 11:24 GMT)

SL is simply not good enough and have been outplayed yet again, they can make no excuses & I certainly haven't seen any making any either, great work by Australia, peeps form"you know which country from " have started spamming again, just leave it alone guys nobody takes you guys seriously,i think oz got this series wrapped up

Posted by Marcio on (September 8, 2011, 11:22 GMT)

Short memory, @Devon_Dumpling! England DID play on such a wicket vs SL in the WC quarter-final just recently. They got annihilated by ten wickets. Amazing how the Poms have completely lost all perspective of late!

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

Selectors should think about sending Mathews at No 5. We need to keep a watch on Paranavithana, Samaraweera and Prasanna's form. They are great batters but recent form fails them. May be we can look at Upul Tharanga, Thirimanna and De Silva for these 3 slots.

Posted by popped on (September 8, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

Indian fans stop spamming , leave this article atleast to comment about cricket, and have some respect,this is not oz second team it will beat the daylights out of your pathetic team any day, this is aus-sri series we dont need shallow comments here

Posted by Felix1025 on (September 8, 2011, 11:19 GMT)

What do you expect by sending Mathews @ 7? Why Ajantha Mendis and Eranga out? Is it real that Mendis injured?? Next match - Why not open with Lahiru and Parana or Dilshan (Meaning Dilshan can sit out also from the match)...LAHIRU and Dimuth K. also good...Anyway, I hope S. Prasanna and Lakmal to attack and get some wickets soon..

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 11:11 GMT)

whats happened to ponting where is he

Posted by VivGilchrist on (September 8, 2011, 11:02 GMT)

So good to have a fit and firing Harris leading the attack. A late developer but proof that going for the young just because they are young is a poor selection policy. Outside of OKeefe the Aussies have picked there best attack based on recent form. Lyon doing well though. Hyclass, give this Watto stamina thing a rest. He is doing his part, I'm pretty sure any of the other 8 Test nations would love him in there team (even with this stamina "problem" you so consistently bang on about).

Posted by DINESHCC on (September 8, 2011, 10:55 GMT)


Posted by DINESHCC on (September 8, 2011, 10:46 GMT)


Posted by Kula_Bowls_Inswing on (September 8, 2011, 10:36 GMT)

Dilhara Fernando and Nuwan Kulasakera should be Sri Lanka's new ball pair in tests. Fernando is the one Sri Lankan paceman capable of bowling test sides out despite his inconsistency and tendency to be expensive. Having said that, Andy Flower's mantra is that every test bowler, no matter their ability to bowl unplayable balls, must land 6 balls an over in the same spot and that this pressure is how test wickets are taken. Kulasakera would be the perfect foil, providing a steadying influence at the other end. Herath and Mendis (or Randiv) would make up the rest of the attack, while Chanaka Welegedera could replace one of the spinners in seaming conditions and, as a left-hander, would provide variety. Along with Mathews, this is a balanced attack although it's not going to regularly bowl out the very best batting sides. Looking beyond Fernando (32) and Herath (33), Eranga or Nuwan Pradeep and Prasanna look like good prospects.

Posted by Kula_Bowls_Inswing on (September 8, 2011, 10:25 GMT)

Really disappointing from Sri Lanka. England came to Sri Lanka in a similar position to Australia, as a middling test side, in 2007/2008 and Sri Lanka batted them into the dust. You get the feeling that the Sri Lanka's problem isn't so much a lack of capable players, more of a lack of focus and ambition in test matches. Their top 7 is definitely their best top 7 and all of them are more than capable of significant test contributions, but the team seems to lack direction, unlike, say, England, who have been aiming for number 1 for a while now and who really give major test series the importance they deserve. Sri Lanka should be aiming for at least a top 4 test ranking by the time the inaugural test championship comes around. Sri Lanka needs a long-term plan with qualifying for the test championship as their aim and their selection of both players and staff must mirror this and be consistent. Dilshan must be appointed on a permanent basis for long-term improvement to take place.

Posted by duck_and_cover on (September 8, 2011, 10:13 GMT)

Sri Lanka all out for 174...A lot of India fans keep banging on about how England are going to get thrashed when they go to the sub-continent. Well first up is Pakistan in the UAE and next is Sri Lanka. It now looks like Sri Lanka are going to lose at home to the Aus team that England HAMMERED in Aus. Do people still really expect Sri Lanka to humble England in the winter? I can't see it myself....

Posted by AndrewFromOz on (September 8, 2011, 10:11 GMT)

I would like to see Siddle in for Johnson. Siddle adds aggro and the tough stuff very well. Having him in tandem with the spinner Lyon could deliver more wickets to Lyon as Siddle might pin them down so they wil try to score off Lyon. Just a thought...

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 10:02 GMT)

Cant Expect better than this when you don't have a proper captain / coach and also a properly selected cricket boards,,,

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 9:37 GMT)

Now after India Sri Lanka has pledged that they will not cross 300 in a test match even on flat wickets at their home.Seems lyk sub-continental teams r doomed.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 9:18 GMT)

Where is Rangana_kent....people shouldn't throw stones when their own house is made of fragile glass! had criticized so much to Indians that hiz own team has now been jinxed; Now losing in your own den!!

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 9:05 GMT)

Oh dear, SL currently 149/7,

I've never been keen on Johnson, in fact I cant stand him, his current figures right now are none for 38 off 11. Its not fair on the other 3, having to carry the so called "leading bowler". Id love to see Marsh get a ton on debut, just for his Dad's sake.

Posted by   on (September 8, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

come on where is the ashessssssssss bring it on this is the right time for australia to have a go at englandddddddddd

Posted by Devon_Dumpling on (September 8, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad must be chomping at the bit to play on these Sri Lankan wickets.....!

Posted by CricketFreakk on (September 8, 2011, 7:16 GMT)

now where are all those SL Fans who are going after India's defeat in ENGLAND. they cant even save their spining fort from a second string AUstralia....

Posted by Meety on (September 8, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

@hyclass (pre-emptive strike on my behalf) re: Watto; saw your comment regarding his lapse of concentration in the commentry, I don't think this has anything to do with physical (he only bowled 5 overs). == == == Not wanting to bag Sri Lanka's batsmen, but there was no real application (apart fram Sanga), from the top 6. For SL fans, I suppose you won't truely know what a good score is until Oz bat, but @ 5/76, Sanga is now under pressure to bat thru to the end. Lots depend on matthews now, if he or Sanga get out, I like Oz chances of running thru the tail VERY quickly.

Posted by dsig3 on (September 8, 2011, 7:08 GMT)

The first session has given us a prime example of how our cricket has improved. The last few years Johnson has been the first selected bowler. We now have an array of bowlers who are all better than him. Looking at Johnson now is sad because he brings the stench of his past failures with him. Its not his fault but he should never have been leading an international attack. Clock is ticking for Johnson.

Posted by ramana215 on (September 8, 2011, 7:06 GMT)

mahela and sanga are the only perfect test batsmens in srilanka lineup

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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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