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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the second day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Australia, in Pallekele
September 9, 2011
The unheeded warning
Suranga Lakmal's first ball to Shane Watson on the second morning whirred in towards the batsman with a hint of seam and swing, whistling very closely past off stump as Watson shouldered arms. While Watson was implacable, Sri Lanka oohed and ahhed about how close it had been. For once, the more composed party was to lose out. Lakmal's next ball was even closer, seamed a little more, and uprooted the stump it had so closely threatened the previous delivery. Lakmal had every reason to rejoice, but Watson had to be disappointed after getting a sight of what the bowler was attempting to do with his first ball. The wicket set the script for an attritional morning session, as neither Phil Hughes nor Shaun Marsh had the back foot game to dominate the spinners as Watson might have done.
The rain and the drought
Australia's captain Michael Clarke has shown tremendous flair and instinct on the field, but with the bat he is in the middle of a prolonged century drought. Well as Clarke played for his 60 in the second innings in Galle, he is still prone to moments of flippancy with the bat, and his airy drive at Chanaka Welegedara, as clouds enveloped the ground on the second morning in Pallekele, was another. Clarke's annoyance was made plain by a swish of the bat the moment Mahela Jayawardene completed the catch in the slips, and it would have increased when the rest of the players left the field for a rain interruption before another ball could be bowled. Clarke's last Test century was 18 months and 22 innings ago against New Zealand in Wellington. He will not want to leave Sri Lanka without one.
The missing frame
Frame rates for the cameras of broadcasters have been the subject of plenty of debate, but seldom has all the talk had anything to do with run-outs. A missing frame, between the batsman's desperate dive for the crease and the ball striking the stumps, may have saved Michael Hussey soon after lunch when he was on 39. Lakmal's direct hit suggested a close-run thing, and there was a chance that the bails were lifted with Hussey's bat on the line rather than beyond it. None of the cameras used were able to capture the millisecond when that might have been the case though, and Hussey survived. He wore a dusty shirt for his trouble, but then Hussey has never seemed the type who's worried about getting his hands dirty.
The new ball wielder
The sight of Hussey taking the ball on day one had been a surprise to everyone, most of all Hussey himself. But his unlikely victim, Kumar Sangakkara, took things even further when bowling to Hussey on the second afternoon - he delivered the first over with the second new ball. As befits an accomplished wicketkeeper, Sangakkara has barely bowled, and has only one first-class wicket, that of Elton Chigumbura. The gambit must have made Hussey think twice, for he played with circumspection against the man he had dismissed, and made sure Sri Lanka's flight of fancy did not result in a wicket in the same way Australia's had.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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