Shaminda Eranga debut first ball wicket in Tests:
Shaun Marsh(als) Australia to 235 for 5
Put into bat in overcast conditions and on a slow wicket, the
Australians shown the way by another masterly knock from Shaun Marsh 81
did well to end the First day of the final Test against Sri Lanka on 235
for 5 when bad light stopped play at 5.32pm at the Sinhalese Sports Club
ground here, yesterday.
At the wickets were the ever reliable Michael Hussey on 63 and Brad
Haddin on 21. Suranga Lakmal had 2 for 39 and Shaminda Eranga 2 for 52
on a wicket that improved considerably after lunch. Anything over 350
and Australia will be in the driving seat.
First ball debut
Marsh who made a memorable debut 141 in Pallekele in the Second Test,
was once again in cracking form. He came in to face the ninth ball at
the fall of Phil Hughes’ wicket and showing unwavering concentration and
excellent technique gave a lesson on how to bat on a slow wicket. When
looking good for another three figure score, he failed to read the spin
of Rangana Herath and was bowled.
Marsh was involved in two stands of 79 with Ricky Ponting for the
third wicket and 70 with Michal Hussey for the fifth wicket. Marsh
batted for 276 minutes, faced 207 deliveries and stayed put for 276
There was overnight rain with a little thunder and lightning and it
was overcast. But thankfully everything improved and when the captains
Michael Clarke and Tillekeratne Dilshan walked out to toss conditions
were good for play.
Dilshan, as he often does, won the toss and gleefully asked Australia
to bat. Australia had made one change with Ricky Ponting coming in for
Usman Khwaja. Ponting was going to bat number 4 with Marsh who made a
debut hundred at Pallekele keeping his position as one drop.
Sri Lanka made three changes. Rangana Herath, Lahiru Thirimanne and
Shamindra Eranga came in for Suraj Randiv, Thilan Samaraweera and
Seekkuge Prasanna. Eranga who was making his debut was presented his cap
by Kumar Sangakkara.
It was sensible to note that that the Lankans were going in pace
heavy with Chanaka Welegedera, Suranga Lakmal and Shamndra Eranga with
one frontline spinner in left armer Rangana Herath with Dilshan for
support. Earlier the Lankans went in with two pacemen and two spinners
which was a safety first method and not a positive and attacking one.
While Lahiru Thirimanne deserved to play, it was inexplicable the
dropping of Dilshan to bat in the middle. As Captain Dilshan should be
in the frontline and leading by example. In the second innings of the
Pallekele Test he seemed to be slipping into batting form if his 36 and
an opening stand of 81 was an indication.
With the wicket being kept covered owing to the rains, it had to have
some moisture on it and with overcast conditions the opening overs were
going to be decisive. After a maiden over from Chanaka Welegedera to
Shane Watson, Lakmal coming on from the tennis court end bowled Phil
Hughes off the bat with his second ball for a duck. 0-1-0.
Watson and Shaun Marsh took the score to 22 at which stage debutant
Shamindra Eranga wa brought on after four unsuccesful overs from
Eranga struck gold with his first ball in the exclusive land of what
cricket is all about – Test- by inducing Watson to drive too early and
loft to Dilshan at point. Watson made 8. 22-1-8. Eranga was the second
Lankan bowler to get a wicket with the first ball on debut. The first
being Chamila Gamage.
It was a first ball debut wicket for this 25 year old emerging pacie
from a little known cricket playing school St Mary’s Chilaw. It was a
wicket that he will always remember and treasure for the rest of his
The pre lunch session was slow going and that was understandable
because the wicket was slow and it was not easy playing strokes. Marsh
and Ponting were in no hurry to score and played attacking strokes only
when the loose balls came along. Ponting played the shot of the session
when he cover drove Welegedera to the cover boundary.
The Lankan pace bowlers were not making use of the seaming
conditions. They were either pitching too short, or bowling wide. Herath
coming on obtained turn and bounce once beating Ponting by flighting the
Instead of concentrating on flight, he continued bowling flat.
Marsh and Ponting took lunch at 63 without further loss with Marsh on
26 and Ponting on 25. Immediately the umpires called lunch there was a
heavy downpour and a prompt start after lunch looked bleak. The start
was delayed by 30 minutes.
It was slow going after lunch with Australia attempting to
consolidate. Ponting and Marsh took their partnership to 79, when
Ponting on 48 and two short of a 50, attempted a big drive to a wide
ball from Lakmal and snicked to wicket keeper Jayawardena. He hit 6
fours. He played some lovely cover drives. 101-3-48.
Skipper Clarke who came in three drop was off colour. He took a long
time to get off the mark and after glancing a four was out Ponting
fashion attempting a drive off a wide ball off Eranga and touching it to
Jayawardena behind the stumps. He made 8. It was an innings not in
keeping with his class.120-4-6.
‘Mr Cricket’ Michael Hussey joined another left hander Marsh and
playing with responsibility added 34 runs and took tea at 154 for 4 with
Marsh threatening on 68 and Hussey on 18. Marsh batted in exemplary
fashion, while was content to support him.