I'm Sri Lankan and I live in Sydney. It was a no-brainer really, and I wasn't about to offend the forefathers of the Sri Lankan cricket fan by not attending. In reality the Sri Lankan cards had fallen in the CB series such that this was a near must-win match for them. So I was a bit nervous walking to the ground to say the least. I predicted a close game with the Lankans coming out on top but my biggest worry was that the weather would intervene and I would need to queue up for a refund.
Sri Lanka, obviously. Although, I was impartial to clapping gently if the Australians did anything useful on the field.
Although the Sri Lankan bowlers did a tremendous job to rein in the Australians I thought Mahela Jayawardene was exceptional once again. First in the field, he was aggressive with his field placements and clever with his use of the bowlers. Once he had the Aussies on the back foot, he didn't let up. This sort of clever leadership had been missing in the Sri Lankan team for a while and it was great to see Mahela at the helm again.
I would have loved to have seen Lasith Malinga have a better day. Apart from getting Dave Warner out early, Malinga had a forgettable day. He dropped a sitter off David Hussey and then could not get his yorkers to line up against the tailenders. It seems strange to think that Malinga wasn't a threat but that was how I felt today.
As soon as I found out Brett Lee was playing I had two face-offs to looked forward to. First, it was Malinga v Warner. It was in Malinga's only good spell during the day that Warner got a severe working over. He was bounced, yorked, and eventually fell to the slower ball. Malinga controlled the pace of the ball beautifully over a five-ball period and Warner appeared clueless.
Matthew Wade's run-out stuck in my head because in that instant I felt Sri Lanka were going to have a really good day. It was brilliant fielding from Man of the Match Thisara Perera. Needless to say it sent the Sri Lankan supporters into causing a pandemonium.
Having learnt a painful lesson on day one of the SCG Test between Australia and India, in the cheap seats where I got sunburnt, I decided to get a seat in the second tier. So I didn't really have players hanging out at an arm's length. But fielding directly below me was Nuwan Kulasekara, who kept getting waved at by a small contingent of SL supporters. Nuwan nervously waved back, which of course thrilled the fans.
Sri Lanka were in a tricky chase and Lee looked like he meant serious business. Then, out of nowhere, Dilshan pulled out an insane half slog-half pull off Mitchell Starc. It went sailing into the section where the Sri Lankan fans were. It was a flat, brute of a hit, and from then on the game changed and Sri Lanka never looked back.
There were two pockets of Sri Lankan fans in the O'Reilly stand that made a lot of noise with the Papare bands and music. They naturally cheered everything the Sri Lankans did. As the night went on their numbers and the number of flags being waved seemed to grow exponentially.
The innings break was pretty lively by the VB Ice Box challenge. Two teams of two people each (Sri Lankans v Australians) had to carry oversized ice cubes from one container to an oversized VB Ice box. These were about 75 metres apart. It was a relay race so the guys went first and last while the girls were second. I've never seen a Sri Lankan better an Australian in a sprint before, but today wasn't an ordinary day, and with keeping in tune with onfield events the Sri Lankans won.
There were two guys dressed as big bananas who kept doing the "Sprinkler" dance. And a bunch of guys of varying ages were dressed up as Richie Benaud, with Wide World of Sports mikes and all.
The big screen showed a poster that said "Marry me Slatz" only to pan down and show a very feral Australian man in a blonde wig.
9. Docking half a point for the weather and another half for the one-sidedness of the game. I am not complaining though. The crowd was thoroughly entertained by the classic Sri Lankan brand of cricket - free and unhinged. Sri Lanka's dominance at the SCG continues, and it was nice not to get sunburnt again. I just wish Sri Lanka had another game here.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day as Sri Lanka finally got all aspects of their game just right without being perfect, and I was happy to be part of their first win in the CB series. The atmosphere was lively and it was fun to boo the Members Stand yet again for refusing to take part in the Mexican wave. It would have been nice if the weather had been better but in the end it didn't make too much of a difference, and even then the crowds were kept well entertained via the big screen with the "Kiss Cam".