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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Australia even better placed despite rain: Second Test Day 2

In today's play Australia advanced from 3/329 to 5/542 dec, with each batsman who came to the crease making a considerable contribution. Mike Hussey 132/220 b, Michael Clarke 71/123b ratcheted up the pace, then Andrew Symonds 50 no /71b and Adam Gilchrist 67 no /77b (including his hundredth test 6) emphasised their team's ascendancy.

The main impediment to their progress was intermittent rain and bad light: the Sri Lankan attack was relatively innocuous (in fact surprisingly so given the reputations of the bowlers) and let down badly by some slapdash fielding.

The weather forecast is better for the next two days, and the Sri Lankan openers hung on to be 0/30 when play ended. The wicket seems to be playing well so that a draw may not be out of the question. The Sri Lankan batting lineup is stronger than in the first test, and its reordering, with Sanath Jayasuriya listed at no 6, means that we should expect a more resolute response this time. It was only a year ago since England declared at 6/551 and yet lost a test, yet it's hard to imagine Sri Lanka being able to both get within range of Australia with the bat and then bowling out Australia cheaply.

I don't want to sound triumphalist; in fact I'd love to see the Sri Lankans put up a sterner fight from now on, but I can't envisage them being able to make a serious push for victory. The Australian attack is, compared to last season's, relatively inexperienced but still looks pretty formidable. My opinion will be tested tomorrow.


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