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Saturday, 29 December 2012






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Lankan batting from GUTLESS to SPINELESS

*Aussies retain series with over two days to spare

*Lose game and series by innings and 201 runs

If the Sri Lankan batting in the first innings was GUTLESS, then the batting in the second innings could be best described as SPINELESS as the Sri Lankans just capitulated for 103 in just 24.2 overs in 130 minutes of batting.

It was one of the most sickening batting efforts not seen for a long time. None of the batsmen could read the pace and the swing of Mitchell Johnson 2 for 16, Jackson Bird 2 for 29 and the seven who took strike were blown off like a pack of cards.

Mitchell Johnson throws himself at the stumps to run out Dimuth Karunaratne. Getty Images

The Lankans made 156 and 103 and Australia 456 to lose by innings and 201 runs with over two days to spare. The Third Test beginning on January 3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground will be of no significance. But the Lankans will have to regroup and show more fight and avoid another thrashing.

A few showers

As predicted a few showers fell in the morning, but it was not going to spoil the Test and the ground staff had covered the wicket and not the entire ground like we do on all our grounds. It was gloomy when play began and with three more days remaining, including this one, there was nothing that the Sri Lankans could do to stall the Australians victory push and crushing the Lankans well inside the distance and up wrapping up the series. Injuries to Prasanna Jayawardene, hairline fracture of the thumb, Chanaka Welegedera torn hamstring and Nuwan Kulesekera a rib injury has pushed the Lankans back.

Firing squad

With the Lankans lining up before the Australian firing squad and with Jayewardene struggling to hold a bat and with Welegedera not likely to bat, the Aussies will have their task of shooting down made much more easy because they have to knock out only 8 Sri Lankan batsmen.

To recap on the second day’s play – The day belonged to Australia’s captain Michael Clarke who batting practically on one leg, not wanting to aggravate the hamstring injury which nearly kept him out of this game.

In scoring a century, he went past Ricky Ponting’s record for the most number of runs in a calendar year. It has been a lucrative year for the stylish right hand batsman who has reeled out half centuries, centuries and double centuries with ease.

Record partnership

He set up a new fourth wicket record partnership 194 with his vice captain Shane Watson who made 83. It was later revealed that Watson was suffering with a calf injury and had been ruled out of the final Test in Sydney.

While the Sri Lankan fielders were dropping catches as though they were hot potatoes, it was joy to watch the catch that Rangana Herath took to get rid of another free scoring Aussie batsman another Michael Hussey.

With the ball swirling over him because of the strong wind, Herath showed good judgement and when the ball seemed past him and on the way to the boundary, with marvellous anticipation he stuck out a left hand and it stuck. A lesson in catching to his team mates.

With Australian wicket keeper Matthew Wade running back nearly 30 metres to clutch a Sangakkara catch, and the Herath catch to cut short Hussey’s innings, the two catches should rank as the best catches for the year 2012.

The Australian innings did not take long to end. Johnson looking for his second century in Test cricket started with some lusty blows, but ran short of partners and remained unbeaten on 92 when last man Jackson Bird was bowled by Eranga for a debut duck.

Earlier overnight not out Nathan Lyon went dollying a catch to Dimuth Karunaratne at short mid wicket off Angelo Mathews for 1 at 451 and th innings ended at 460 a lead of 304.

The wicket takers were Dhammika Prasad 3 for 106, Shamindra Eranga 3 for 109 and Angelo Mathews 2 for 60. Had they bowled a better line and length and made the batsmen play they could have had better figures.

Here’s how the Sri Lanka batting procession went in innings two before and after lunch.

1. Dimuth Karunaratne played to the off scampered a single and insensibly went for a second run that proved suicidal.

Warner from short mid off threw the ball to bowler Johnson who broke the stumps with the batsman yards out.1 for 0.

2. Tillakeratn Dilshan was caught off bat and pad by Ed. Cowan off Mitchell Johnson 2 for 1. The ball took bat and lollied up for the fielder to run and goble the catch. 2 for 0.

3. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene trying to leave a delivery from Jackson Bird dragged the delivery onto his stumps. He was late in pulling his bat – 3 for 3.

4. Ten runs later Thilan Samaraweera was leg before wicket to a Bird delivery that cut in- 4 for 13. It was poor and unacceptable batting on a wicket that was still playing true.

When survival was the name of the game in the second innings to stay at the wicket as long as possible and deprive the Aussies of running away with victory and the series, the approach at this level was all wrong.

Why Karunaratne had to look for a second single was inexplicable. It was a shock start that energized the Australians as they sent back three other batsmen and with the board reading 4 for 13, it was a house of horrors. It was left to Kumar Sangakkara to one again show the batsmen how to play sensibly and and with Mathews took the team to lunch at 43 without further loss, still 261 runs behind and two sessions to go. Sangakkara was on 22 and Mathews 17.

5. After lunch disaster struck when Sangakkara was hit a nasty blow on his left index finger from Johnson and had to retire with score on 27 score on 62 and was taken to hospital for an Xray and was not expected to bat in this Test.

6. Angelo Mathews who was dropped after lunch, seemed in a hurry as he wanted to hit the covers off the ball and trying to cut dragged a ball from Johnson on to his wicket. 74 for 5.

7. Dhammika Prasad played the 50-over game hitting Nathan Lyon for two sixes, one over mid on and then over mid off and then trying a third six in a row, skied to David Warner at mid off for 17. 102 for 6

8. The final rites were performed when Cowan at short leg took the catch offered by Shamndra Eranga off Peter Siddle – 7 for 103. Kumar Sangakkara did not resume batting. Prasanna Jayawardene and Chanaka Welegedera also did not bat. 103 for 7, but good as all out. Melbourne Cricket Ground, Friday

Sri Lanka 1st innings 156
Australia 1st innings 

EJM Cowan c DPMD Jayawardene b Prasad		36 
DA Warner c Prasad b Mathews			62 
PJ Hughes run out (Dilshan/Sangakkara)		10 
SR Watson c Samaraweera b Prasad		83 
MJ Clarke c DPMD Jayawardene b Eranga	       106 
MEK Hussey c Herath b Dilshan			34 
MS Wade c Eranga b Prasad 			01 
MG Johnson not out				92 
PM Siddle c DPMD Jayawardene  b Eranga		13  
NM Lyon c sub (LD Chandimal) b Mathews		01 
JM Bird b Eranga				00	 
Extras (b 9, lb 5, w 6, nb 2)			22 
Total (all out; 134.4 overs)	               460 

Fall of wickets 1-95 (Warner, 17.3 ov), 2-117 (Hughes, 22.6 ov)
		3-117 (Cowan, 23.6 ov), 4-311 (Clarke, 87.4 ov)
		5-313 (Watson, 88.6 ov), 6-315 (Wade, 90.4 ov) 
		7-376 (Hussey, 111.3 ov), 8-434 (Siddle, 126.2 ov)
		9-451 (Lyon, 131.4 ov), 10-460 (Bird, 134.4 ov)
Bowling: UWMBCA Welegedara 14.4-6-38-0
	 RMS Eranga 27-2-109-3
	 KTGD Prasad 26-2-106-3
	 AD Mathews 16-3-60-2
	 HMRKB Herath 39-7-95-0
	 TM Dilshan 12-1-38-1

Sri Lanka 2nd innings
FDM Karunaratne run out (Warner/Johnson)	01
TM Dilshan c Cowan b Johnson			00
KC Sangakkara retired hurt			27
DPMD Jayawardene b Bird				00
TT Samaraweera lbw b Bird			01
AD Mathews b Johnson				35
KTGD Prasad c Hughes b Lyon			17
HMRKB Herath not out				11
RMS Eranga c Cowan b Siddle			00
HAPW Jayawardene absent hurt			-- 
UWMBCA Welegedara absent hurt			-- 
Extras (lb 10, nb 1)				11 
Total (all out; 24.2 overs)		       103

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Karunaratne, 0.3 ov), 2-1 (Dilshan, 0.4 ov)
		 3-3 (DPMD Jayawardene, 1.6 ov), 4-13 (Samaraweera, 5.3 ov)
		 4-62 (Sangakkara, retired not out, 16.2 ov), 5-74 (Mathews, 18.5 ov) 
		 6-102 (Prasad, 23.3 ov), 7-103 (Eranga, 24.2 ov)
Bowling: MG Johnson 8-0-16-2
	 JM Bird 9-1-29-2
	 PM Siddle 5.2-0-32-1
	 NM Lyon 2-0-16-1


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