Bad light brings early end to Lankan agony:
Marsh and Hussey put Aussies in command
An unbroken fourth wicket stand of 148 between Shaun Marsh and
Michael Hussey have placed Australian in a commanding position against
Sri Lanka when bad light stopped play 30 minutes after tea on the second
day of the Second Test at the Pallekele Stadium, here today.
The entire ground was covered and with the light unlikely to improve,
the umpires called off play for the day at 4.29.
Australia lead by 90 runs with seven wickets standing. In the playing
time available the visitors scored 204 for three wickets.
Marsh who is playing in his debut Test was unbeaten on 87 and looking
good for a century. Partnering him is the experienced campaigner Hussey
also unbeaten on 76. Both top class left handers gave no chances as they
ground the Sri Lankan pace and spin.
Marsh seems to be having the right technique and temperament for the
longer version of the game.
Never in a hurry, he waited for the bad balls to put away for runs.
He played some well timed off drives.
Tidy foot work
Hussey as usual was reliable. He displayed some tidy foot work and
cut, drove and swept for his runs. Both showed immense concentration
during their unbroken stand.
As the Test stands now, Australia is well on top to post their second
win and take the Three Test series. As for the Sri Lankans only a
cricketing miracle can save them.
In the post lunch Captain Tillekeratne Dilshan enacted a bit of
comedy. In frustration he brought on Kumar Sangakkara to bowl, hoping
that the bowler will get him a wicket like when Australian skipper
brought Hussey on and the bowler obliged.
While that was in order, the comedy was when he asked for the new
ball and gave it to Sangakkara after he had bowled one ball with the old
ball in his second over. “Is Sangakkara going to open bowling in the
final Test”, asked a journalist in jest.
To recap the Sri Lankan cricketers will do well to forget their first
day no show.
It was another lesson on how not to bat after winning the toss on a
wicket that was slow, but on one that runs could be made with the
correct approach and application.
When the Australians replied, openers Shane Watson and Phil Hughes
showed how one should bat at this level by playing the bowling with ease
to put on an unbroken stand of 60 before bad light brought relief to the
Lankan bowers and fielders.
Day two began 15 minutes early and in remarkable fashion. After
Seekkuge Prasanna completed his overnight unfinished over and Suraj
Randiv bowled a maiden over, Suranga Lakmal with his second ball had the
joy of knocking back Watson’s off stump.
Watson failed to pick the line, shouldered arms and was bowled
without adding to his overnight 36 and the total of 60.
Hughes and debutant Shaun Marsh batted with great caution and took
the score to 95 with a stand of 35 before Hughes lunging forward was
caught by Paranavitana off Suraj Randiv also for 36 with 5 fours.
Off spinner Randiv who would have been on the bench had Ajantha
Mendis been fit to play, was bowling a tight line and skipper Dilshan
gave him an aggressive field by crowding the batsmen.
Captain and the stylish Michael Clarke joined Marsh and did not last
long when Welegedera angled a ball for Clarke to guide it to the safe
hands of Mahela Jayawardena in the slips after making 13. He went at 116
after a stand of 21.
With the early dismissal of run machine Watson, the morning session
saw slow going and only 70 runs being posted for the loss of three
Australia went to lunch on 133 for 3 with Marsh on 26 and Michael
Hussey on 15.
The three wickets were shared by Lakmal Randiv and Welegedera.
The wicket was again on the slow side and with the Lankan bowlers
bowling with more discipline runs were hard to obtain.
With a lot of cricket remaining, the Aussies were looking for
consolidation and a big first innings score from where to dictate.
After lunch Marsh and Hussey took complete control and all what the
bowlers could do was bowl and watch the batsmen as they gave a lesson on
how Test cricket should be played.
They began to play strokes and quickened the rate of scoring adding
118 runs after lunch. Marsh and Hussey completed half centuries. Marsh
went to 50 with 7 fours and Hussey to his 50 with 6 fours. They hoisted
the 100-run stand in 204 balls. They enjoyed a ‘cuppa’ on 251 for 3 with
Marsh on 83 and Hussey on 68 with their partnership on 135. During this
batting domination, the Sri Lankans seemed to have
lost interest in the game and there was no bowler who was capable of
luring the batsmen and dismissing him. They were waiting for the batsmen
to make mistakes.
1ST innings: 174
S. Watson b Lakmal 36
P. Hughes c Paranavitana b Randiv 36
S. Marsh not out 87
M. Clarke c M. Jayawardene b Welegedara 13
M. Hussey not out 76
Extras: (lb9, nb7) 16
TOTAL (for three wickets, 91.3 overs) 264
To bat: Usman Khawaja, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Trent Copeland, Nathan Lyon.
Fall of wickets: 1-60 (Watson), 2-95 (Hughes), 3-116 (Clarke).
Bowling: Welegedara 13-2-45-1, Lakmal 14.3-2-60-1 (nb7), Prasanna 18-2-62-0,
Dilshan 14-4-32-0, Randiv 29-6-49-1, Sangakkara 2-0-4-0, Samaraweera 1-0-3-0.