Monday, September 19, 2011
Australian bowlers unable to cut through Sri Lankan batting: T3D3.
Sri Lanka 6/428 (155ov, Mathews 85*, Dilshan 83, Sangakkara 79, M Jayawardene 51) lead Australia 316 by 112 runs with 4 first innings wickets in hand. T3D3 at Colombo (SSC).
It was Sri Lanka's day alright: the first for the series where they have not been fighting to save the match.
4/262 from 90 overs suggests measured more than flamboyant progress. This was certainly the case in the morning session where two wickets, those of the top class batters Kumar Sangakkara 79/176b (10x4) and Mahela Jayawardene 51/120b (9x4), fell while 84 runs were added.
Thereafter Captain Dilshan, much more at home at no5 and ,yet again, Angelo Mathews continued to move the innings forward, the former more positively (he was the only one of the top 6 with a strike rate above 50) though not as rapidly as might have been expected given the bland state of the wicket.
While the Australian bowling's bark was worse than its bite it never let things get completely out of hand. Every so often, just as a partnership looked set, one of the quick bowlers snapped back with a wicket, eg when Dilshan looked set for a century Trent Copeland had him caught behind for 83/131b (14x4). Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene continued in similar vein, then the wicketkeeper accelerated the tempo with two 6s off consecutive balls from Nathan Lyon, before Copeland snaffled him driving on the up for 47/86b (2x6, 3x4)., leaving Mathews to bat out the day for 85*/207b (8x4), and his team comfortably ahead.
Sri Lanka will need to push along if they are to bowl Australia out again cheaply (read 300+ if the pitch continues to play well). Unlike the first two matches the weather hasn't played a large part in the proceedings, so there should be enough time for a result.
It's very hard to see Australia fashioning a victory from here, and their underperforming (and moderately performing) batsmen will have to take a leaf or two out of the Mike Hussey- Shaun Marsh playbook to prevent Sri Lanka from winning. The home team must be kicking themselves over their poor performances (and their authorities' wicket preparation) in T1 & T2.