Match reports


At Hobart, December 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

At Hobart, December 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Australia won by 173 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka. Bellerive Oval, Test cricket's 62nd venue, provided a match of swaying fortunes in a delightful setting on the eastern shores of the Derwent River. A two-year, £1.75 million redevelopment programme, conducted by the Tasmanian Cricket Council, had transformed the Clarence Cricket Club's oval into a ground of Test quality.
Ranatunga asked Australia to bat for the second successive Test, and an hour after tea on the first day Sri Lanka had dismissed them for 224. Ratnayake bowled splendidly on a pitch which provided assistance for the seam bowlers, his six for 66 being his best figures in his fifteen Test matches. Only Sleep, with a three-hour, unbeaten 47, provided any resistance for Australia. Sri Lanka's reply began disastrously, three wickets falling in a 32-minute spell before stumps, but the next wicket fell at exactly the halfway mark on the second day, when Aravinda de Silva's innings of 75 came to an end. However, his partnership of 128 with Mahanama in 190 minutes proved to be the backbone of the visitors' score.
Having gained a first-innings lead of 8 runs, the Australians soon lost Boon and Moody, but next day Taylor posted his fourth century in his eleventh Test and shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 163 with Border in 187 minutes. The third afternoon and fourth morning showed Australian cricket at its best as Jones and Waugh hammered the Sri Lankan bowling to all parts of the ground in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 260 in 234 minutes (346 deliveries). Jones's 118 came from 178 balls in 252 minutes, and Waugh's 134 took one ball less. During Jones's innings, his seventh Test century, he passed 1,000 Test runs for the year, while the total of 513 for five declared was only the seventh time Australia had passed 500 in a second innings. The Sri Lankan attack held together under the assault.
Needing a nigh-impossible 522 to win, the visiting batsmen none the less made a fine effort to bat for ten hours to save the match, Aravinda de Silva leading with way with 72 to cap a fine series. Not until the last four wickets fell for 16 in the final session could Australia be sure of victory. The crowd of 29,122 enjoyed a well-organised Test, although afterwards the Sri Lankan captain, Ranatunga, expressed his disappointment at the racial abuse used by certain Australian players during play.
Man of the Match: P. A. De Silva. Man of the Series: P. A. De Silva.
Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 27-3 (R. S. Mahanama 18*, P. A. De Silva 5*); Second day, Australia 25-2 (M. A. Taylor 11*, M. G. Hughes 9*); Third day, Australia 387-5 (D. M. Jones 51*, S. R. Waugh 77*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 166-3 (P. A. De Silva 64*, A. Ranatunga 25*).