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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Memorable day for Aussie debutants as 16 wickets fall for 221

Australia 273 & 5/116 (33.5 ov, M Clarke 60) lead Sri Lanka 105 (50ov, N Lyon 5/34) by 283 runs with 6 second inns wickets in hand. T1/3 D2/5 at Galle.

Two batting meltdowns, a major one by Sri Lanka who lost 7/18 to post an abysmal 105 all out followed by Australia's 5/116, on a bowler friendly - but not that friendly - wicket. have put Australia in control of the First Test after only two days.

My reservations about the inexperienced Australian attack were soon shown to be groundless. Trent Copeland took a wicket with his second ball and Nathan Lyon with his first, as Sri Lanka self-destructed in the face of high class bowling and fielding. Lyon's 15-3-34-5 was a superb debut. while Copeland effectively took two of the first three wickets, one with the ball, the other a run out of Mahela Jayawardene who looked more assured than most of his team mates.

A Sri Lankan revival was blocked by three quick wickets from Shane Watson which opened the way for Lyon to run throught the tail, leaving Sri Lanka embarassed with a paltry 105. The other bowlers kept things tight: Ryan Harris's 8-5-6-0 speaks for itself, even if it doesn't say how unlucky he was not to take at least one wicket.

Much of Australia's second innings has, apart from Michael Clarke's positive 60/80b (1x6, 7x4) , been more akin to parklands than Test cricket. Shane Watson was out first ball from a Sehwag-style stroke while Ricky Ponting fell in comical fashion with both bat and ball airborne.
But with a lead of almost 300, and the wicket continuing to deteriorate (eg puffs of dust, balls keeping low) Australia should be able to win comfortably from here.

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