Marsh's lapse of reason
The curious exit
Shaun Marsh has had an outstanding start to his Test career, but on the final day he had a momentary lapse of reason. A Herath delivery bounced out of the rough, struck his pad, then his chest, and looped out to short leg. The Sri Lankan appeal was convincing, the umpire's finger was raised, and a slightly miffed-looking Marsh shuffled off, out for 18. Yet replays showed clear daylight between bat, gloves and the ball. A review of the decision, emanating either from Marsh or the non-striker Phillip Hughes, would have brought a reversal of it. Yet Marsh seemed uninterested in questioning the call, thus reducing his series average to a mere 80.00.
Hughes reached his third Test century, and first since 2009, with a scampered two and then a clenched fist in the direction of the SSC press box. Hughes has had to endure plenty of scrutiny and criticism since his recall to the Australian team midway through the Ashes series last summer, as befitted a batsman who had not passed 50 in any of his 10 innings between then and now. But the hundred in Colombo will silence the doubters for the time being at least, and go a long way towards building the confidence of a young batsman with the drive to make the biggest of scores.
Angelo Mathews' celebration upon reaching his first Test century was ebullient, as he raced towards the dressing room and punched the air. But it was a wildly inaccurate representation of the latter half of his innings. Midway through the final session on day three, Mathews had cracked a Mitchell Johnson delivery back past the bowler to reach 61 from 132 balls. It should have been the signal for acceleration and aggression, but instead proved perhaps the last genuinely joyful moment of the innings. Mathews' next 44 runs took a painful 137 balls to arrive, sapping energy from the contest and letting off an Australian team that had started to wilt in the field on that third evening.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo