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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Australia, in Pallekele
September 8, 2011
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 ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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