Set 393 for an unlikely victory:
Sri Lanka are 65 for 2, needing 328 more
Set a challenging target of 393 for victory in four sessions, Sri
Lanka were 2 for 65 still short of 328 runs, for that elusive first
dream victory in Australia on the penultimate day of the First Test,
here today at the Bellerive Oval.
Australian batsman David Warner who scored 68 steers the
ball away on the fourth day of the first cricket Test match,
in Hobart on December 17, 2012. AFP
At the wickets were Kumar Sangakkara on 18 and Mahela Jayewardene on
5 with Australia requiring to capture 8 more wickets for their first
victory this summer.
The target is a big task. The wicket is showing some cracks on it and
the ball also keeps low at times and it is not going to be a walk in the
park getting the runs for an unlikely victory.
If the Lankans are to make the impossible, possible then now with
first innings century maker Tillekeratne Dilshan cooling his heels in
the pavilion, touching Shane Watson’s first ball to Matthew Wade behind
for 11 at 26, Dimuth Karunaratne bowled Starc for 30 at 47, the burden
has fallen on the two elder statesmen Sangakkara and Jayewardene to
steer Sri Lanka home.
It is the accepted norm that if a match cannot be won, then every
nerve and sinew must be strained to save face and the match. The Lankans
have it in them to do that. What they must do is to believe in
No interruptions likely
It dawned bright, yet it was a bit cold with a little cloud cover and
play began 30 minutes early to catch up for the lost time and when
Shamindra Eranga sent down the first over to Ed.Cowans, indications were
that play will go on with no interruptions.
But the weather here is so fickle. It can be sunny and gorgeous one
moment and it could suddenly turn overcast and it could rain. But what
is admirable is that only the wicket has to be covered to protect it,
while the outfield does not retain water because of the wonderful
To recap on Sunday’s play: It was the marvellous century from former
captain Tillekeratne Dilshan 147 and a good supporting knock from Angelo
Matthews 75 who were involved in a record breaking stand of 161 for the
5th wicket, that took Sri Lanka to safety and past the ignominy of a
That we fell short of the big Australian total of 450 for 5 declared
by 114 runs was very creditable and thanks are also due to Prasanna
Jayewardene 40 and Nuwan Kulasekera who chipped in with 23 with two
When Australia batted a second time, Ed Cowan was plumb in front to a
delivery from Nuwan Kulasekera early in his innings. Nigel Llong turned
down the vociferous appeal. Subsequent TV replays showed the batsman
out. Why was it not referred was the question? But that was an
When play began on the 4th day and with the Australians in front by
141 runs, the Sri Lankan bowlers had to break through early if they were
to be in with a sniffing chance of victory.
On the other side of the coin, openers Ed Cowans and David Warner and
the other batsmen had to survive, score as quickly as possible and give
Clarke a big enough lead and ample time to declare, set a tempting
target, bowl the Sri Lankans out and a chalk up a victory that has
eluded them this summer.
The Lankans could not break though early and Cowans and Warner went
their merry way, accumulating easy runs and taking the game away from
the Lankans. They played some audacious strokes with Warner stepping
down and lofting Herath over mid on for a big six.
Cowans and Warner hoisted their 100 run stand untroubled with Warner
first to his 50, followed by Cowans. With the score on 132, Herath who
was introduced a bit late, tempted Warner to cut only to get a touch for
Jayewardene to take the catch standing up.
Warner made 68 with 5 fours and a six. He was particularly impressive
with the cut and the pull. It was his second fifty of the match having
made 57 in the first innings. It was a good match for him.
Then with lunch approaching, Chanaka Welegedera moved a ball through
the ‘gate’ to bowl Ed.Cowans for a sweetly carved out 65 with 8 fours.
He made up for his first innings failure. For a fourth day the wicket
was playing well, with the odd delivery keeping low and however much the
Lankan bowlers tried to have more wickets before lunch proved fruitless.
At lunch Australia were 145 for 2 with Phil Hughes on 8 and Shane Watson
Flurry of activity
After lunch there was a flurry of activity with Australia losing
seven wickets while scoring 133 runs. Australian captain Michael Clarke
made a breezy 57 with 6 fours and a six off 46 balls and was forced to
retire suffering a hamstring strain, and there is the possibility of him
missing the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Michael Hussey ran short of partners and was unbeaten on 31 with 3
fours and a six. The rest of the batting fell cheaply with Phil Hughes
going for 16, Shane Watson 5, Matthew Wade 11, Peter Siddle 4, Mitchell
Starc 5, Nathan Lyon 11 and the injured Ben Hilfenhaus for no score.
In this session the Lankan bowlers got their act together with
Chanaka Welegedera and Rangana Herath outstanding. While Welegedera
moved the ball around, Herath varied his deliveries well to bemuse the
batsmen and his figures of 5 for 95 in 21.5 overs with 2 maidens was
Herath 60 wickets
With this 5 wicket haul, he has captured 60 wickets in 9 Tests in one
calendar year beating England’s Graeme Swann’s tally of 59 wickets in 14
Tests. It was creditable for this persevering spinner who sweats it out
in the nets perfecting his art. The hard working Welegedera had 3 for 89
to add to his first innings tally of 3 for 130. Coming back to the game
after a long layoff, Welegedera used the new ball cleverly and seems to
have regained his old form. Bellerive Oval, Hobart, Monday.
450 for 5 declared
E. Cowan b Welegedara 56
D. Warner c P. Jayawardene b Herath 68
P. Hughes b Eranga 16
S. Watson st P. Jayawardene b Herath 5
M. Wade c Kulasekara b Herath 11
M. Clarke retired hurt 57
M. Hussey not out 31
P. Siddle c P. Jayawardene b Welegedara 4
M. Starc lbw b Welegedara 5
N. Lyon b Herath 11
B. Hilfenhaus lbw b Herath 0
Extras (lb10, nb4) 14
Total (9 wkts, 73.5 overs) 278
Fall of wickets: 1-132 (Warner), 2-140 (Cowan), 3-153 (Watson), 4-165 (Hughes),
5-181 (Wade), 6-250 (Siddle), 7-256 (Starc), 8-271 (Lyon) 9-278 (Hilfenhaus)
Bowling: Kulasekara 12-3-24-0 (1nb), Welegedara 22-3-89-3 (3nb), Dilshan 2-0-2-0,
Eranga 11-0-53-1, Mathews 5-2-5-0, Herath 21.5-2-95-5
D. Karunaratne b Starc 30
T. Dilshan c Wade b Watson 11
K. Sangakkara not out 18
M. Jayawardene not out 5
Extras (b1) 1
Total (2 wkts, 37 overs) 65
Fall of wickets : 1-26 (Dilshan), 2-47 (Karunaratne) Bowling: Starc 10-4-21-1,
Siddle 7-3-12-0, Watson 9-4-10-1, Lyon 10-3-16-0, Hussey 1-0-5-0