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Monday, September 12, 2011

Predictable weather, predictable result

Sri Lanka 174 & 6/317 (114.3 ov, Sangakkara 69, Paranavitana 55, M Jayawardene 51) drew with Australia 7/411 dec: T2D5 at Palekelle. Australia lead series 1-0 with one match to play.

Today, when rain permitted play, Sri Lanka added 4/95 from the 35.3 overs bowled by Australia. All the Sri Lanka top order made handy scores though the two of whom big things were expected didn't build on the platform they'd established yesterday. Kumar Sangakkara  made 69/165b (8x4), while Mahela Jayawardene notched 51/133b (5x4).

Ryan Harris again was the best of the bowlers: 22-8-54-3 are figures of a fit, as well as a very good, bowler, yet it is widely believed by those close to the team that his body cannot keep on going like this. His value to the team this series has been immense: Mitchell Johnson has bowled some sharp spells but prefers not to take the new ball, Trent Copeland has bowled a steady line and length but lacks the spearhead's sharp pace, while Nathan Lyon struggled on the relatively (compared to Galle) benign Pallekele wicket.

The final Test begins in four days.The major selection issue for Australia, assuming Harris is fit (if not Peter Siddle may come into contention), is who to omit  to make room for the returning (from parental leave) Ricky Ponting. After his century on debut Shaun Marsh cannot be omitted, which leaves a choice between Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja. Neither have scored many runs, and while they aren't bad in the field, they don't seem quite as athletic as most other young Australian cricketers. 

I'll leave that one to the selectors, who, now following Greg Chappell's departure, comprise the captain and the coach: something which would, not so many years  months ago, have raised more than a few eyebrows..  

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