Sri Lanka v Australia, 3rd Test, Colombo, 5th day September 20, 2011

Missed stumpings and a long conversation

Plays of the Day from the fifth day of the SSC Test between Sri Lanka and Australia

The stumpings
Twice, on 15 and 71, Michael Clarke ventured beyond his crease but could not make contact with Rangana Herath. Each time Prasanna Jayawardene had the chance to stump Australia's captain, and each time he failed to make a clean take. Both instances were unusual. The first had Clarke trying to pad away the ball having left his crease, but somehow managing to let the ball sneak between his pads. Jayawardene cannot have expected such a miscalculation and lost sight of the ball as it found a way through. After lunch, Clarke shuffled out to defend, only for the ball to grip out of the footmarks and turn violently. The extravagance of the turn was out of step with most of Herath's deliveries, and Jayawardene erred again.

The century
Clarke's contribution was expected to be the central point of the day, and so it proved. Soon after surviving the second stumping chance he advanced from 99 to 103 with a lofted drive off Herath, the sort of shot that had been a feature of his innings. Unlike his good friend Phillip Hughes, who offered a fist to the press box on reaching his century, Clarke had eyes only for the Australian dressing room, offering an air-punch, a kiss on the helmet and a triumphantly raised bat.

The discussion
Once Clarke had passed his hundred, the game was up. Sri Lanka could no longer force a win, and Australia had no need to. This did not stop Kumar Sangakkara from engaging in a lengthy exchange with Clarke. Standing at gully, Sangakkara seemed keen to chat, and the topics of conversation did not appear to amuse Clarke. The umpires intervened twice, and Clarke seemed particularly agitated. If Sangakkara's intention had been to distract, he succeeded. Next over Clarke drove Herath to a deepish mid-on to depart for 112, muttering to himself as he did so.

The near-miss
Michael Hussey's dismissal for 93 prevented him from registering a century in each innings, and drew a theatrical celebration from Tillakaratne Dilshan, the successful bowler. The wicket took place after Hussey had made this series the second-most productive of his career. In five innings Hussey collected 463 runs at 92.60, bettered only by the 575 he made over five matches in last summer's Ashes. Having topped Australia's run-making so comprehensively in the past two series, it is arguable he is playing better now than at any stage of his international career.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Orang on September 21, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    That was an extended and not very friendly discussion between Clarke and Sangakkara, prompting both umpires to step in to defuse the situation. No comment fom the match referee, boy that's a cushy job and a wholly unnecessary one when there are so many umpires around.

  • anirban on September 21, 2011, 0:22 GMT

    @Indyman: if he was playing so well then he would be in the team ahead of certain Mitchell he? and Siddle in Ashes was pretty bland as well apart from the first test....Siddle is good once in a while, so is Harbhajan Singh but then we are blaming Harbhajan for playing in IPL

  • Paul on September 20, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    Street_Hawk - Siddle failed huh? 4-90 from 35 overs when the pitch was at its flattest? You obviously watched a different game to the one I watched. He was the best quick from either team by a mile.

  • anirban on September 20, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    People who are talking against IPL, CL etc., I want to remind them that star performers in this series are Hussey, Marsh, Ryan Harris, Shane Watson all play in the IPL and have become familiar with the subcontinent..on the other hand Clarke, Ponting, Johnson, Siddle have all failed

  • Valavan on September 20, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    I wish hussey doent play these stupid champions league and injure him for SA or india series. I want him to continue the same form in the process of pulling things back to aussies. Hussey cannot do alone but he shouldnt play these waste of time CLT20.

  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    We will be glad to be out of the sub continent and playing on decent wickets in SA. Looking forward to no spin and a good close contest with bat & ball!

  • nalin on September 20, 2011, 16:01 GMT

    Australia will give a good account of themselves wherever they go but I feel that they are no longer seen as invincible by south african""s and the bowling is a few injuries away from disaster.

  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    chennai super kings will expect Hussey to continue with his current form in the champions league too..

  • Cameron on September 20, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    ahhhh, muzwazi? SA are Australia's next up opponent.

  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    MEK Hussey was the Man-of-the-Match in all three tests of this series. Ain't that an amazing feat!! I hope he doesn't continue this form into the Dec/Jan series against India :-)

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