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Monday, 7 January 2013

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Lose final Test at the SCG by 5 wickets :

Australia whitewash Sri Lanka 3-0

Player of the series Michael Clarke:

The Sri Lankans who came dreaming of that elusive first ever elusive Test victory in Australia failed to make that dream a reality and in losing the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground suffered a humiliating 3-nil whitewash.

Australia needing 141 for victory, achieved the target, but not before the Lankans gave them a few scares by capturing 5 wickets. Another 100 runs by Sri Lanka and who knows what might have been.

It was a game and a series contested in the best of spirits and tradition and every spectator who patronised the four days of cricket were provided with excitement, thrills and spills. After tea the five required runs came easy and with scores level, Johnson pushed a ball and scampered the single and loud applause broke out signaling victory for Australia. Man-of-the-match was the promising fast bowler Jackson Bird.

Player-of-the series - Australian Captain Michael Clarke for his magnificent efforts with the bat. He certainly deserved it. For the record: Sri Lanka 294 and 278: Australia 432 for 9 declared and 141 for 5.

Bright and sunny

Once again it was a bright and sunny day in Sydney when play began on the fourth day with Sri Lanka 225 for 7 – a lead of 87 with three wickets standing and Dinesh Chandimal on 22 and Rangana Herath on 7.

The lead wasn’t sufficient to threaten the Aussies. If the Lankans were to put a little fright into the home team, it was paramount for the remaining batsmen to support Chandimal and build a formidable lead around him.

Also if Chandimal could perform a Matthew Wade and blast a century, then the Lankans could gain a formidable lead and have the Aussies on worry streets. And Chandimal nearly performed that heroic act.

Short of partners

But sadly he ran short of partners and when the Lankan innings ended he was unbeaten on a fighting, majestic 62 with 11 fours made off 106 balls and 150 minutes.

After Herath and Pradeep went early – Herath on 10 bowled by Jackson Bird dragging a ball on to his wicket at 235 and Lakmal bowled by Mitchell Johnson trying to hit the bowler out of the ground for zero, when the need was for him to stay at the wicket the score was 237 for 9 - a lead of 99 and modest.

Chandimal found am able number 11 in Nuwan Pradeep and farming the strike, he helped add 41 for the last wicket. With desperation setting in and unable to grab the final wicket and the lead escalating, Clarke was forced to take the second new ball.

And it happened. Four runs on Bird got a ball to move and kiss Pradeep‘s bat for Wade to take the catch. Pradeep 10. All out 278 – Chandimal not out 62. Australia 141 to win.

One of his best

Young Chandimal played one of his best innings in big time cricket. He played some exquisite cover and square drives and defending stubbornly. It was an innings he will always remember.

He showed admirable temperament and mature technique and when the Aussie fast men tried to intimidate giving him the ‘chin music’ he ducked and made the Aussie speed men look silly.

When the Aussies went in a second time a few minutes before lunch, Suranga Lakmal created a sensation after Dilshan opened bowling. In his first ball he had the dashing David Warner well taken by Jayewardene in the slips and the Aussies were jolted. 1 for zero. Incredible.

After lunch there was a tight contest on with the Lankans forcing the batsmen to earn every run with some tight bowling by spinners Dilshan and Herath, with Jayewardene giving them attacking field placings.

After adding 45 runs Hughes fell leg before to Herath after making 34. Skipper Clarke joined Cowan who was pedestrian with Clarke doing the scoring with some very watchful batting and with the Lankans not letting up.

They added 59 before Clark fell when he offered Thirimanne a bat-pad catch off Dilshan after making 29 with 3 fours. Michael Hussey playing in his final Test walked into thunderous applause.

The struggling Cowan went at 108 for 36 LBW to Herath and then first innings century maker Wade was bowled by Herath at 132 for 5.

The umpires did not take tea at the stipulated time, extending it by 20 minutes hoping that the winning runs would be made.

But that was not to be and tea was taken with Australia on 136 for 5 with Hussey on 23 and Johnson on zero. It was good tight and competitive cricket with no quarter asked or given.

The two left handers Ed.Cowan and Phil Hughes took Australia without further loss to lunch on 1 for 13 with Cowan on one and Hughes 12, still requiring 128 and Sri Lanka 9 wickets.

Unnecessary runs

To recap – After conceding unnecessary runs to the Australians – 90 runs, a lead of 138 and a century 102 not out to left hand hard hitting batsman Matthew Wade, the Lankan batting in the second innings cut a sorry sight. Other than for Mahela Jayewardene 60 and Dimuth Karunarate 85 who were involved in a second wicket stand of 108, the other batsmen looked sadly out of depth and sad to say did not look up to Test level.

When the other experienced batsmen such as Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews were expected to rise to the occasion, shoulder responsibility and build on the strong stand by Jayewardene and Karunaratne, they sadly failed and let the side down.

The 8th wicket pair of the courageous Dinesh Chandimal and Rangana Herath defied the rampaging Aussies to go to the close on 225 for 7 and take the game to the fourth day which at one stage looked like finishing on the third day.

When the Jayewardene- Karunaratne stand was flourishing, the Aussies looked a bit worried. But the Aussies knew that once they get either Jayewardene or Karunaratne, they could have the Lankans on the ropes. And that’s what happened once Karunaratne and then Jayewardene went.

To add to the Lankan woes, vice captain Angelo Mathews gets run out after a misunderstanding.

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