Sri Lanka v Australia, 3rd Test, Colombo, 1st day

Marsh stars again on hard-fought day

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

September 16, 2011

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A

Australia 235 for 5 (Marsh 81, Hussey 63*) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Shaun Marsh made a cautious start, Sri Lanka v Australia, 3rd Test, SSC, Colombo, 1st day, September 16, 2011
Shaun Marsh made 81 © AFP

Shaun Marsh justified Australia's decision to keep him at No.3 by making a wonderful 81, but Sri Lanka finished the first day with a slight edge in a match they must win to draw the series. A day that began with changes galore for both sides and an unexpected decision from Tillakaratne Dilshan to send Australia in on a good batting surface finished with the visitors at 235 for 5, with Michael Hussey the key.

The Sri Lankans would have liked more than five wickets after Dilshan's decision at the toss, when he expected seam movement after rain in the lead-up to the match, but they were still in a reasonable position with only Australia's bowlers still to bat. Hussey, demoted to No.6 to accommodate Marsh and Ricky Ponting up the order, was on 63 when bad light forced an early close and he had Brad Haddin for company on 21.

It was one of the most evenly-contested days of the series. The Sri Lankans picked up Australia's openers within the first ten overs, the seamer Shaminda Eranga getting a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket, before Ponting, Marsh and Hussey provided some fight for Australia. The major concern for Australia was the continued poor form of the captain Michael Clarke and the opener Phillip Hughes, who made a second-ball duck.

But the 70-run partnership between Marsh and Hussey, the centurions from last week's Pallekele Test, steered Australia in the right direction, both men showing the sort of composure some of their colleagues had lacked. Hussey continued to look impenetrable, covering the spin against Rangana Herath and driving the fast men along the ground, and he passed fifty for the eighth time in his past 13 Test innings.

Marsh was especially was impressive in his attitude, defending the good balls, leaving those he could, and choosing the right ones to put away. He brought up his half-century from his 125th delivery with a pull for four off Suranga Lakmal, and it was typical of his innings: a bad ball, and no risk in the stroke.

He played some wonderful straight drives and square cuts, and in doing so recorded the highest aggregate ever by an Australia Test player in his first two Test innings, passing the 208 made by Kepler Wessels back in 1982. Marsh looked set to become the first Australian to make a century in each of his first two Test innings when he played inside the spin of Herath and was bowled.

It was an uncharacteristic lapse, but on a humid day when he'd been at the crease for four and a half hours, it was understandable. There could be no such excuse for Clarke, who on 6 flashed at a wide ball - not for the first time in this series - and was caught behind off Eranga. Clarke had moved down to No.5 in the top-order shimmy that allowed Marsh to stay at first drop.

Ponting came in at No.4 for the first time in his Test career, apart from when nightwatchmen had been used, and he looked in fine form with a pair of cover-driven boundaries off Chanaka Welegedara. However, on 48, he too lost patience and drove at a fullish outswinger from Lakmal, sending a regulation edge through to Prasanna Jayawardene.

Sri Lanka had used up both of their reviews on Ponting, but they had no such trouble getting rid of Hughes and Shane Watson. Hughes fell in the second over when Lakmal angled the ball across the left-hander and straightened it just a fraction off the seam. The ball caught the inside edge of the bat as Hughes defended away from his body, and the stumps were rattled by a ball he could have left alone.

It was a disappointing effort from Hughes, who is viewed by the selectors as the long-term opening partner for Shane Watson but has not reached fifty in any of his past ten Test innings. Watson is also experiencing an uncharacteristic lean patch, and that continued when on 8, he drove hard at a full and wide delivery from Eranga and was snapped up at backward point.

It was a joyous moment for Eranga, who became the second Sri Lankan to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket, after Chamila Gamage in 2002, and the second man to achieve the feat in this series after Australia's Nathan Lyon. The inclusion of Eranga was one of a raft of changes to Sri Lanka's line-up for this Test.

Herath was included after missing the Pallekele Test due to a finger injury, and the Sri Lankans went for a more seam-heavy attack by dropping the spinners Suraj Randiv and Seekkuge Prasanna. They also axed the veteran batsman Thilan Samaraweera and brought in Lahiru Thirimanne, who will open, while Dilshan will move down to No.5.

Dilshan was full of surprises at the toss. It was the 12th occasion a captain had sent the opposition in at the SSC, but only twice has that decision led to a victory: both times against Bangladesh. Whether that becomes three times from 12 occasions will depend partly on how long it takes Sri Lanka to finish Australia off on the second day.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by VivGilchrist on (September 17, 2011, 6:19 GMT)

May the words "Johnson" and "all-rounder" never be used in the same sentence ever again.

Posted by hyclass on (September 17, 2011, 6:07 GMT)

@Marcio,@onlinegamer55 and@Ngee-Ming Goh...i think you are all spot on. Those others who are so easily fooled by effect and not cause and who continue to play the,'technique is the panacea for all ills'are simply demonstrating a total lack of understanding of cricket.Men make runs,not techniques.Records dont lie.Shield is stronger than this SL side and the curator produce great pitches.Hughes is a 22 year old, coming champion being poorly led.

Posted by SamRoy on (September 17, 2011, 4:50 GMT)

I agree to an extent with a majority of the comments. One more thing, Jonathan Trott will not average over 60 if he plays 75+ test matches.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2011, 4:50 GMT)

Shaun Marsh deserves to be in the team as opener because he has the right technique, ability and the right mental attitude. Philip Hughes just has to be dropped - he has no technique and failed last season at every grade of cricket he played. he has had more chances than any other opening batsman, more failures and yet the journalists who engineered Matty Hayden's retirement after a couple of bad decisions are incredibly silent over Hughes' continued failures and ineptness. Our selectors must be replaced as they have done an incredibly bad job taking our national team from top of the world to also rans and easy beats. Hi ditch has been just disgraceful and as long as he and Clarke and Hughes remain, we are destined to stay easy beats.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2011, 3:35 GMT)

Hmmm. Some players (not many) do tend to flourish at international level as opposed to domestic cricket. For England, Michael Vaughan was picked despite a moderate county record due to the promise of his temperament and technique. His Test average has ended up 5-6 runs more than his domestic average. Another current England player with a test record superior to his domestic record is Jonathan Trott. I guess the often batting-unfriendly surfaces/condition in England don't help there though. [Contrast that to JP Duminy's ruinous recent Test record vs his domestic]

Hard to say about Marsh. Don't think he's got the destructive potential of Hughes at the top of the order but with Ponting and Hussey not getting younger I suspect he and Khawaja will have fairly long runs in the team down the line. Think Hughes has got the opener spot pretty nailed down unless he has a horrific run of form. Not sure if anyone else is coming through really.... Callum Ferguson has never really convinced me.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2011, 3:00 GMT)

they'd be stupid not to keep marsh in the side in australia's summer series. at the moment he has an average of 110 after 2 innings

Posted by onlinegamer55 on (September 17, 2011, 1:30 GMT)

@Marcio You are absolutely spot on mate, although you probably don't need to be told that. Look at Michael Clarke; he began his test career with a first class batting average of 37. He briefly hit a test batting average of 50 but his batting average is now falling swiftly with every game and, mark my words, it will soon drop to 40. First class batting averages do not lie. A batsmen's test batting average is almost always (at the end of his career) no more than 5 runs than his test average. As we shall see, Marsh is a short-term No. 3 for Australia. His career will be in tatters by this time next year fighting to play for WA's 2nd XI team. Hughes, on the other hand, will have 6-7 centuries to his name. How do I know? I have been following Shield Cricket for years and when Hughes is in form, trust me, he is IN FORM. He can score centuries after centuries without difficulty. Marsh, on the other hand, is in form about once every 2nd or 3rd year and gets single digit scores very often.

Posted by onlinegamer55 on (September 17, 2011, 1:24 GMT)

@David47 I have a few words to write, mate. Shaun Marsh has played two good innings against a very poor attack on a flat batting track. Marsh's fall will be just as swift as his rise as you will see on the South African tour. Hughes, on the other hand, is a kid with real talent. At the age of 22, he averages nearly 20 runs more than Marsh for NSW and has already hit twin centuries against one of the best bowling attacks in the world. I know what you are going to ask: if the attack was very poor and if the track was flat, then how come Hughes did not score any runs? The reason is simple. Inasmuch as a couple of good innings implies nothing about the long-term career of a batsmen, a couple of bad innings does not imply anything about the long-term career of a batsmen. Batsmen make mistakes. Marsh, too, edged a ball into the slip cordon early in his innings but the ball did not carry. I assure you that Marsh' career will be in tatters this time next year fighting to play for WA 2nd XI.

Posted by Ben1989 on (September 17, 2011, 1:03 GMT)

also @ tragicmagic, that's pretty harsh in regards to the photo, Marsh's innings was practically faultless until he got out.. generally when you're playing a cover drive, the bat has to face that direction which is what the photo shows... if that was a ball on 4th stump line I could understand, but not sure how you play a cover drive without angling your bat?????

Posted by Ben1989 on (September 17, 2011, 1:00 GMT)

@RJHB, haha.. I like that last comment & it is so true mate, that's the 4th time I can remember in the past 18 months where he has thrown his bat at a wide one only to be caught at point (2nd innings 1st test, Adelaide ashes etc.) I did have belief in Hughes, even supported his stay in this test, but after yesterday, I think you're correct, he needs to work on the mental side of things a bit more & it is about time we give Kwawaja a go at opening......

Posted by bullpit1 on (September 17, 2011, 0:15 GMT)

Would SL beat Bangladesh at the moment, doubt it, without Mendis any team can rack up 500 easy runs.

Posted by RJHB on (September 16, 2011, 23:14 GMT)

Whether you love him or hate him, Hughes doesn't quite look good enough for test cricket right now. He may have a better first class average than Marsh but test cricket tests more than just technique and talent, they say it challenges whats between the ears too. On that basis it looks like Marsh has what it takes to be a test cricketer at this stage, Hughes simply does not. Also, is anyone else getting sick of watching Watson throw his wicket away?? He could be the best batsmen in the team now but he puts about as high a price on his wicket as the prom queen does on her virtue....not very!!!!

Posted by Marcio on (September 16, 2011, 20:48 GMT)

Thank God the AUS public has no say in selecting the AUS team. You'd think AUS was 4-0 down in the series the way these comments read, & that Phil Hughes had scored 4 consecutive ducks. AUS have dominated the series to date, & even today was OK. Hughes has batted well this series without luck. A 2nd ball duck off an inside edge does not define a career. Many here have read the "bad technique" nonsense so many times they have come to believe it. Hughes averages 15 runs/ innings more than Marsh in 1st class cricket, & that does not happen by accident. It is only a matter of time before his luck turns & he makes big hundreds. Marsh will drop back soon. How do I know? Can you name any precedent where any batsman has entered test cricket after a protracted stint in 1st class cricket & averaged a significantly higher number of runs/ innings in tests? It just doesn't happen. Good on Marsh for these 2 scores, but anyone who knows cricket knows how this story is going to pan out

Posted by Biggus on (September 16, 2011, 20:06 GMT)

@Samdanh-Too funny! Hapless India wants to help us out. Next thing you'll be wanting to give us tips on developing fast bowlers.

Posted by David47 on (September 16, 2011, 19:41 GMT)

Where are all the Marsh knockers now?? I bet you all feel like right Wallies. And as for @Samdanh - wot? - you mean like Tendulker, Laxman and Dravid have just done in England?

Posted by Samdanh on (September 16, 2011, 17:40 GMT)

All that Australian batsmen need to do is simple. Learn from Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, etc. Give them opportunity to bat first on such a flat pitch, they would have grinded and scored nothing less than 500 over 1.5 days. Each one would have placed a special price on his wicket. If you look at today's wickets, Watson, Ponting and Clarke gifted their wickets. As long as they keep doing this every series, Aus is not going to move up in rankings. Poor show by 3 main Aus batsmen.

Posted by Micgyver on (September 16, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

Good on Marsh.He's taken this opportunity in Sri Lanka,lets hope from an Aussie point of view he continues that over the summer.I wouldnt say Carke is in poor form like this writer says,he has looked good this series without making a big score but sooner or later like Ponting,they better start making hundreds.

Posted by ravi_hari on (September 16, 2011, 14:41 GMT)

For all those who doubted Marsh's consistancy and ability, the answer is here in front of you. How many blokes have followed up a century on debut with a 81? I think more than the runs the character shown by Marsh is laudable. We cannot guess how long he will continue doing this, but the long wait has done a world of good to this man. And what about Mr. Cricket. Every series starts with doubts around him and he comes out with flying colours. 8 scores of 50plus in 13 innings is a staggering record. Watson and Clarke once again disappointed. They need to put some price to their wickets. If Australia manage to reach 350 it will be a good contest provided we get 4 full days of cricket. The weather does not seem encouraging and a truncated end to the series will be the most disappointing one for both the sides. Will Ricky make it 101 in Sanga's 100 or will both end at 100 by the end of the series will be known by how well Sri Lankans bat on the second day. Great weekend ahead. Hari Ravi

Posted by RightArmEverything on (September 16, 2011, 14:21 GMT)

@tragicmagic, I think Clarke's captaincy and positive intent have been good. He just needs to get more runs. His 60 in the 2nd innings of the 1st test on a tough pitch was a good and important knock, and people seem to have missed that one. I don't think he's far away from a big score. Hughes should be given more time to cement his spot. If Marsh continues to play well maybe he can open and his style might complement Hughes', but I doubt that change will happen until after the Sth Af tour and will depend on who gets runs. Watson has peformed quite well opening but I think he's suited to the middle order.

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

Australia will win this Provided if Michel Hussey ange the Teams total something arond in excees of 350,Srilanka Batting has been pathetic till now and they have pretty long tail as weell

Posted by tragicmagic on (September 16, 2011, 13:37 GMT)

Photo says it all really. Angled bat and you could drive a truck through the gap. If Australia are going to get back to the top (of test cricket) or more importantly beat England in England they are going to have to tighten up their batting technique. I see no evidence of this in our youngsters, except Khawaja. To get back in tests, we need Tim Paine and also a really decent opener!Ponting at three/four until he has been obviously usurped. Khawaja1/3 to open with Watson/3/4/5, Marsh 4/5,Clarke 4/5/6/(out of the team) ,Hussey 4/5/6,Paine 7/Captain:). All Australia needs is a really solid old fashioned Australian opener and a new and youthful captain, one who is real rather than manufactured.

Posted by Mary_786 on (September 16, 2011, 13:36 GMT)

Please drop Hughes and get Khawaja in, we need a solid opening partnership to be developed which is just not happening.

Posted by hyclass on (September 16, 2011, 13:31 GMT)

@Jono Makim...while the majority of your blog makes good sense,the inescapable conclusion,from DeCostas comments and Hughes himself,is that there IS someone in this group and its the SAME someone,that was there before the England Lions game in 09.His statement that he would play,'His Way'was made at the start of this tour.Its can only be directed at someone on this tour.Otherwise,why say it?Its not just Hughes.Virtually the entire playing group,from Ponting onwards,lost form for years.Many that arrived in form were soon out of it.Katich & Hodge went public.Coaches are paid to improve players & that hasnt happened.Its at the core of the Argus Review,the biggest upheaval of Australian cricket since World Series.Virtually none of the original CA employees will actually be changed until after SAf,when the new Team Manager position is filled.Most Shield teams,field stronger attacks than SL.So does SAf,NZ,SAf-A,Zimb.Hughes late Shield form & Aus-A tour under similar conditions,was brilliant.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

keeping phil hughes in the team is an insult to anyone scoring runs in sheild cricket

Posted by RightArmEverything on (September 16, 2011, 12:58 GMT)

Great to see Marsh put in another fine innings to justify the faith showed in him by Clarke. Wasn't expecting him to bat at 3 but I think it was a good move by Clarke with a view to developing his young players for the future. I hope Clarke can get a big score soon too.

Posted by LesGrossman on (September 16, 2011, 12:45 GMT)

It seems all the focus is on one man in Phil Hughes. Perhaps he needs to be dropped, perhaps he needs to play more shots. Quite simply he needs to fix his backlift, keep his top wrist firm rather than flicking it so he has control over the bat. If you watch closely his bat goes in behind him on pick up making it hard to bring it down in controlled straight lines. What about the some pressure on Michael Clarke???? Been a while since he scored some runs, also has some massive flaws in his game at present. 2nd innings big for him as well

Posted by Matt. on (September 16, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

Swap hughes for warner, i bet he'll surprise us all

Posted by Wozza-CY on (September 16, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

This is an exciting time for Australian cricket. So many players fighting for positions in the squad and so many players looking to break into it across all roles. I can't help but think that the test team in two years will look very different to the one we see today. One thing I'm sure of is it will be extremely competitive, born out of the competition for places we see today. Seriously, Clarke needs some test runs or is he Mike Brearly in disguise?

Posted by popcorn on (September 16, 2011, 11:06 GMT)

Dear Aussie Selectors,have you been reading my comments? I keep saying Phil Hughes is useless, drop him, but you don't.I saw through Phil Hughes when he exhibited his weaknesses in The Ashes 2009 - we lost because he was undependable, he could not build a solid platform with Katich, and in the chances you have given him, he has failed repeatedly. WHICH MATCH ARE YOU WATCHING? Send him back to his banana farm. Test Cricket IS NOT SHIELD CRICKET. Usman Khawaja is a good solid opener, he has good technique (unlike Phil Hughes). For the Tour to South Africa, Watson and Khawaja should open the batting, Marsh at 3, Ponting at 4, Clarke at his earlier best position 5, Hussey at his earlier best position 6, Haddin (or Tim Paine at 7).

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

I'm just not buying it that there's someone in Hughes' ear after there being so many changes. Clarke is obviously a fan of his and i'm sure supports the way he plays, it's just that Hughes is out of form or has himself bluffed. It's easy to say Hughes isn't going out and trying to hit the ball to the boundary in his usual style but the fact is the conditions at hand just don't allow that. Look at the dismissals of Watson, Clarke and Ponting today! Watch how Hussey and Marsh have gone about their business. Perhaps Hughes is just unable to adapt his game to these conditions? Something is going wrong for him at the moment and it's about working that out, not continually citing a few good knocks in South Africa in completely different circumstances. We all know he can make runs. In the meantime Marsh looks the goods! Clarke, Watson and Ponting need to look very hard at their shot selection here. Simply not good enough.

Posted by rohanbala on (September 16, 2011, 10:21 GMT)

Everytime Philip Hughes comes out to bat, the only thing that comes to the mind of many would certainly be "how long is he going to stay at the wicket?". Today, he got out to a ball that could have easily been left alone to the keeper, instead he played a shot which resembled a butcher bringing down his blade to chop a chunk of meat and ended up landing his blade on his thigh! The australian selectors should not hesitate to drop him immediately and ask him to play more shield matches, improve his technique , make enough runs to warrant selection in future.

Posted by c3vzn on (September 16, 2011, 9:50 GMT)

Hughes, no need for him now at all when you have Marsh and Khawaja. Please someone see sense and drop him. Khawaja needs an extended run, he has looked too good to be dropped.

Posted by Aussasinator on (September 16, 2011, 9:29 GMT)

Marsh at No. 3 looks a sparkling , positive batter. Beginning of Ponting's end from the team, looks like. The ceremonies have begun.

Posted by anver777 on (September 16, 2011, 9:06 GMT)

Cant understand why a genuine test player like Tilan Samarweera is not in the playing XI...... he had so many important test innings for SL in the past but still can't find a place for this vital test !!!! a big ??????

Posted by Biggus on (September 16, 2011, 8:39 GMT)

I find it hard to fathom Dilshan's captaincy. To send the opposition in and bowl with only one slip is bad enough, but to come back after a rain delay and start with a deep point on the boundary to the fast bowlers is setting a field for bad bowling. Has he given up already?

Posted by hyclass on (September 16, 2011, 8:37 GMT)

@onlinegamer55...I hope youre right & he comes good soon.Im a Hughes fan.On camera,Hughes was repeatedly asked about the short ball.He said,since playing U16s as a 12 years old,hed always played against older kids,always had to deal with bounce and never had any trouble.It mirrored what he said,after his Test dropping.It matched what DeCosta,an Aust. coach in India & mentor to Clarke said,when he explained,"The way he was being asked to prepare and play,didnt tally with how hed always done it...didnt fit with his way of doing things...the way he was asked to play the short ball was different."Words to that effect.He told Hughes to ignore advice and concentrate on playing the game that got him there.It led to his late season Shield and Zimb. tour form.Hughes said on joining this SL tour,that he would play,'his way'.It automatically implies that hes playing someone elses way & that the 'someone else' is part of this squad.Otherwise,why else say it?It didnt happen.Thats my disappointment.

Posted by hyclass on (September 16, 2011, 8:11 GMT)

@onlinegamer55...Im a Hughes fan and want to see him succeed.The idea that his technique is at fault,or that he cant deal with the standard at Test level is ayed 4 tests his way and done well.The other 8.5 Tests,its his APPROACH that has been different.

Posted by dsig3 on (September 16, 2011, 7:58 GMT)

Hughes is under some serious pressure now. He is undoubtably a fantastic talent but I think that the mental side is causing him issues. Technically he is odd but his issues at the moment appear to be a lack of form and confidence. A stint out of the side would be good so he can master his own game. Still very young, I think he will come back much better.

Posted by onlinegamer55 on (September 16, 2011, 7:50 GMT)

@hyclass I understand what you are saying but I have a feeling that the team management is also putting pressure on Hughes' position in the test team. I would have thought that Clarke would be communicating well with the players. If I am wrong, and if, in fact, the team management has assured Hughes that he will be given an extended run in the test team, then I wonder why he is not scoring as many runs as he was doing a couple of months ago in Zimbabwe. Justin Langer is the batting coach for Australia and I would have thought that Tim Nielson wiill have little say in how Hughes bats (Justin Langer has backed Hughes' technique in the past). I still think that Hughes will not be axed; this would be inappropriate as he has only been given three test matches. In fact, he should be given at least 10 more tests. However, I have this feeling that he is not playing like how he normally plays; my guess is pressure by the team management but I could be wrong.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 7:39 GMT)

Would love to see the aussies throw a curveball and have khawaja and marsh opening, with watson in at no.5. hussey is perfect at 6 as the anchor for all occasions (put him up to 4 on tough wickets), while khawaja and marsh seem like they have the technique and temperament for the job. (i would still take katich over both of them though!). Australia should remember that some of their stars of the last decade , like Hayden, Langer and Martyn failed early in their careers despite their obvious talent and it took years to get more opportunities...and that experience of failure was part of what gave them so much determination to succeed as seen in the latter part of their careers. hughesy can bounce back, but he is not currently showing what it takes to do an openers job properly, and neither is Watson for that matter.

Posted by HatsforBats on (September 16, 2011, 7:20 GMT)

@Meety: I can only assume that it's because the 1st session is the best opportunity either side will have to bowl the other out for the next 4 days or so. SL bowling alright, Ponting not looking great, here's hoping he gets through the rust (old age etc.) and makes substantial runs.

Posted by hyclass on (September 16, 2011, 7:18 GMT)

@onlinegamer55...Hughes only played his own game in 4 Tests-3 vs SA & 1 vs NZ-scoring 521 fast runs at 74,with 2-100s & 2-50s.Why have the coaches been determined to push a square peg into a round hole?Textbooks dont win matches.Players do. An attacking Hughes,taking on the bowling,with HIS OWN game,scoring at a S/R of 61,is a star against ALL opposition.His playing record in 4 Tests,played his way & all other cricket,is outstanding.The coaches are paid good money to IMPROVE players,The entire team has been in freefall since Nielsen took over,even senior players.When Nielsen announced his dropping,Eng 09,he said that Hughes hadnt been expected to do so well against SA Steyn and 1100 wicket attack and Watson had been pencilled in.Is it co-incidence that his technique and approach were altered before the Eng Lions 09 game,leaving him a sitting duck?DeCosta,Clarkes mentor,said Hughes had been made to change his game with the Test team.It will be a tragedy if hes lost to Test cricket at 22

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 6:10 GMT)

Ponting should have played till he calls it a day at #3.

Posted by mustard12 on (September 16, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

Why would you move Hussey down the order? He's been our most successful Test bastman over the past two series and now has Hadden (who's out of form) and a bunch of bowlers to bat with. As good as Ponting has been...he no longer has the discipline or patients to bat top order and should be batting 6. Clarke 5. Poor.

Posted by onlinegamer55 on (September 16, 2011, 5:22 GMT)

I'm very disappointed with Phillip Hughes. Once again he has played a poor shot early in his innings. He looked so good in the South Africa debut test tour; what happened? Is the Australian management putting a lot of pressure on him? It doesn't look like the sort of shot he would play. Come on Hughes please get a century in the second innings for the people who support you. I just want to see this kid's place in the test team cemented.

Posted by Meety on (September 16, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

Whatever the reason, I'm very impressed that SL has sent Oz in. I hope it doesn't work, but REAL intent from the Lankans under Dilshan. As I write Hughes is already gone. I suspect he will need a strong 2nd innings to avoid the axe.

Posted by ry13 on (September 16, 2011, 5:08 GMT)

Ponting scored 9904 at No.3 ... Doesn't look like they will let him cross 10,000

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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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