Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 1st day September 8, 2011

Still no luck with the DRS for Harris

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Australia, in Pallekele

The failed reviews of the day
During the Ashes last year, Ryan Harris had the unfortunate distinction of being effectively given out four times in two balls for no score. In each innings in the Adelaide Test he was given out for a golden duck, and referred the decision only for the umpire to raise his finger a second time. Nine months on in Sri Lanka and Harris was again on the wrong end of the DRS. In the final over before tea he had two fervent lbw appeals against Suranga Lakmal turned down, and both were also refused on referral. The first would have been out had umpire Tony Hill raised his finger in the first instance, for according to Hawk-Eye the ball would have clipped the top of the stumps. But the second was missing everything, and Harris had to be content with three wickets rather than the four he might have had. No wonder the amiable Hill gave him a conciliatory pat on the back after further frustrations on resumption after the break.

Father-son moment of the day
Australia's captain Michael Clarke had a choice between two significant figures when he deliberated over who would hand Shaun Marsh his baggy green cap. On one side Tom Moody, in Sri Lanka as a commentator, is the coach Marsh credits with turning him from an undisciplined youth to a player of international claims. But on the other was Shaun's father Geoff, the grizzled opening batsman who was Allan Border's loyal lieutenant at the time Australia began to build the foundations for the great teams that would follow. Clarke went with family ties, and the sight of father and son together surrounded by the huddled Australia squad before play was a memorable one. Marsh senior played 13 of his 50 Tests before he experienced the thrill of victory, and he can only hope his son does not have to wait anywhere near as long.

The tricky call of the day
Following the dust of Galle, both sides and the match-referee Chris Broad were glad to see a Pallekele pitch with decent grass coverage and a firm constitution. Neither side would have been game to bowl first in the circumstances, but Tillakaratne Dilshan's confident call to bat did not account for the early assistance available through the air and off the seam in Pallekele, which is some 500m above sea level. A glance back at the scorecards from the last two Tests between these two countries in Kandy, which is near Pallekele, shows the top order is invariably in for a dicey start: in 1999 Steve Waugh's tourists were a dire 61 for 7 at lunch, and in 2004 Ricky Ponting's team reached the interval at 61 for 4. This time it was the local batsmen under the cosh as Harris and Trent Copeland seamed it around corners, and the lunchtime score of 76 for 5 was a significant nod to the early atmospherics.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris on September 9, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    @ SnowSnake

    Test Cricket IS cricket. Without Tests we might as well just commercialise everything ridiculously and just have T20. Cricket at the moment is weighted too much towards batsmen, getting rid of LBW would just make it even worse. It's refreshing to see the bowlers actually do well for once. The game gets pretty boring when it's just hundred after hundred resulting in a draw. Why runs are more important in ODIs and T20s?

  • Dummy4 on September 9, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    we should make 1 team of asia mix of india ,pak, lanka and bd then may be we can make 1 test team which can win test match.

  • kieran on September 9, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    @ aboza: here you go, 1) Dilshan left a cutter & got bowled; 2) Mahela flashed at a wide one & was caught at gully; 3) Jayawardene, Sangakkara, & Randiv gave their wickets away; 4) Lakma, lWeledegara, & Prasanna gave up boundaries. They were all interesting plays.

  • Michael on September 8, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    SnowSnake - sounds like a very batsman-friendly point of view. And I think you'll find Test matches generate quite a bit of revenue in England and Australia, with lots of public interest. One change that would make sense, though, is removing leg-byes. The batsman hasn't scored with their bat, the bowler hasn't done anything wrong, the fielding side hasn't let anything through. Why should the batting team benefit from not being able to do their job properly?

  • Nishad on September 8, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    Mr Brettig, you are suppose to write interesting plays of the day from both sides...

  • P on September 8, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    Remove lbw decision from ODI and T20 and then get rid of test cricket. Since runs are important in ODI and T20, lbws are not all that important. If a batsman wants to cover stumps and not score then so be it (ODI and T20). Lbws are more valuable in test, but test cricket is not a big revenue generator and with lack of public interest in this game, why keep it? I think cricket would be a fair game sans lbws.

  • Sammy on September 8, 2011, 12:44 GMT

    How many India/BCCI has been proved right about DRS? Waste of money!!

    Sri Lanka all out for 174 in their own backyard!! Not many SL fans around?! lol.

  • Andrew on September 8, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    I have to say Ranil Abeynaike who did the pitch report just about nailed the description of the pitch, "...there will be some movement till lunch, good carry and should become easier for batsmen after that." I think this was a 5-star performance by Oz. Sometimes its hard to tell whether a side is playing poorly, or that the other side is playing brilliant, I think today was a bit of both. The Watto drop - the only negative on Oz's first perfect day of Test cricket in a long while. Pup 10 out of 10 for marshalling the troops today!

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