Australia on top despite Sangakkara milestone

MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – Australia reached 150-3 at the close of the opening day of the second test, punishing Sri Lanka after the visitors had failed to build on Kumar Sangakkara’s landmark half-century and were dismissed for just 156 yesterday.

Openers Ed Cowan and David Warner charged to 95 without loss but Sri Lanka checked the hosts with three quick wickets following the drinks break in the final session at a sunbathed Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The mini-revival stalled, however, with two demoralising dropped catches late in the day that allowed Australia captain Michael Clarke (20 not out) and Shane Watson (13 not out) to survive a watchful final hour to stumps.

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first in glorious sunshine, but barring Sangakkara’s elegant 58, which saw him notch his 10,000th test run, the tourists suffered a calamitous bout of stage-fright in front of a huge Boxing Day crowd of 67,000.

Only quick wickets in the morning session of day two may save Sri Lanka, with the MCG’s drop-in pitch expected to flatten out in the sun and offer less for bowlers.

“We’re definitely in a strong position. I think the two openers started exceptionally well,” seamer Mitchell Johnson, who took his 200th test wicket and led the team’s bowling with 4-63, told reporters.

“We’re three down, we’re 150 and we’ve got a great wicket, but we’ve just got to move on from that and we have a big day ahead of us to put on some runs.”

After dismissing Sri Lanka just before tea, swashbuckling opener David Warner got Australia off to a flying start, blasting eight fours and a massive six over long on off the bowling of seamer Chanaka Welegedera.

Warner dispatched Sri Lanka’s pace trio to all corners of the ground before all-rounder Angelo Mathews ended his innings at 62 when he belted a pull shot straight to Dhammika Prasad in front of the rope at deep mid-wicket.

That precipitated a minor collapse, with number three batsman Phillip Hughes run out for 10 and Cowan caught behind for 36 six balls later.

Hughes fell in farcical circumstances, failing to leave his crease as Cowan charged through for a single after poking the ball to midwicket.

The misjudgement allowed the fielding Tillakaratne Dilshan enough time to fumble the ball before whipping it back to the stumps where replacement wicketkeeper Sangakkara whipped off the bails.

DROPPED CATCHES
Cowan soon brought about his own downfall with an indiscriminate swipe at a Prasad delivery that flew into the welcoming hands of Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene at second slip.

Sri Lanka failed to maintain the momentum, however, with Dilshan dropping a sharp chance off Clarke in close, with the in-form Australia captain on six.

Clarke, who became the first man to score four double-centuries in a calendar year during Australia’s lost test series to South Africa, went on to notch his 1,500th test run in 2012.
Watson, on five, edged a catch behind the wicket off the bowling of Welegedara, but Sangakkara spilled the diving chance.

Sri Lanka’s woes were further compounded by a broken thumb to regular wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, and it was unclear whether he would take the gloves for the rest of the match.

It was all smiles for Australia, however, as their seamers reduced the tourists to 79-3 by lunch and took the last seven wickets for a paltry 77 runs.

Johnson, back in the side after being overlooked for Australia’s first-test victory in Hobart, unleashed a mean spell of short-pitched bowling and missed out on a hat-trick straight after the drinks break in the middle session.

The mercurial left-armer captured his 200th test victim with the prized wicket of Sangakkara, but had birthday-boy Matthew Wade to thank, the 25-year-old wicketkeeper bolting 50 metres behind the wicket to take a brilliant lunging catch after the batsman sent a top edge soaring into the heavens.

Sangakkara had earlier become the 11th batsman in test history to reach the 10,000-run milestone and did it in style with a glorious cover drive for four off the same bowler in the final over before lunch.

The 35-year-old former captain bathed in a standing ovation and shook hands with the Australian team but his dismissal left Sri Lanka 147-8, snuffing out their hopes of a more competitive total.

While Johnson showed venom, and enjoyed fine support from seamers Peter Siddle (2-30) and debutant Jackson Bird (2-32), Sri Lanka’s batsmen were culpable as they flashed carelessly on a wicket that deserved more respect.

“Pretty clearly we’re back to playing catch up unfortunately,” Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford said.

“We found ourselves doing that in the last test and we’re desperate not to do it this time round, but that’s what it is.”

Sri Lanka batsman Sangakkara in tests

(Reuters) – Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara became the 11th cricketer to surpass 10,000 test runs during his innings of 58 on the opening day of the second test against Australia in Melbourne yesterday.
Here is a rundown of the former Sri Lankan captain’s test career:
● Born: Oct. 27, 1977 at Matale, Sri Lanka
●Test debut: July 20, 2000 against South Africa in Galle
● Matches: 115 (captained Sri Lanka in 15 tests)
● Total runs: 10,018
● Average: 55.65
● Highest score: 287
● Hundreds: 30
● Double hundreds: 8
● Catches: 169 (including 131 as wicketkeeper)
● Stumpings: 20
Stats include ongoing Melbourne test against Australia

SCOREBOARD

Sri Lanka first innings
D Karunaratne c Wade b Bird       5
T Dilshan b Johnson                  11
K Sangakkara c Wade b Johnson  8
M Jayawardene c Wade b Siddle  3
T Samaraweera c Warner b Bird 10
A Mathews c Hussey b Siddle    15
P Jayawardene c Hughes b
Johnson                                    24
D Prasad c Wade b Johnson         0
R Herath c Hussey b Lyon         14
S Eranga not out                          4
C Welegedera c Hussey b Lyon    0
Extras: (lb-5 nb-7)                     12
Total (all out, 43.4 overs)        156
Fall of wickets: 1-13 2-19 3-37 4-79 5-99 6-134 7-134 8-147 9-156 10-156
Bowling: Johnson 14-2-63-4 (nb-4), Bird 13-5-32-2 (nb-2), Siddle 8-1-30-2 (nb-1), Watson 3-2-3-0, Lyon 5.4-0-23-2
Australia first innings
D Warner c Prasad b Mathews    62
E Cowan c M. Jayawardene b Prasad                    36
P. Hughes run out                      10
S. Watson not out                      13
M. Clarke not out                      20
Extras (b-2, w-5, nb-2)                9
Total (three wickets, 39 overs)150
Still to bat: M. Hussey, M. Wade, M. Johnson, P. Siddle, N. Lyon, J. Bird
Fall of wickets: 1-95 2-117 3-117
Bowling: C. Welegedara 11-4-36-0, S. Eranga 10-2-53-0 (2-nb, 1-w), D. Prasad 8-1-39-1, A. Mathews 4-2-9-1, R. Herath 6-1-11-0

Series:Australia won the first test in Hobart
Third test Jan. 3-7 Sydney Cricket Ground

Latest in Sports

Off-spinner Sunil Narine (left) will be a key member of the West Indies attack.

Confident Windies seek happy ending

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies will seek to write a happy ending to a promising Tri-Nations campaign when they clash with Australia in today’s final, in a contest that brings together the champions of the Twenty20 and 50-overs World Cups.

GABF President Nigel Hinds (sitting centre) displaying an official team jersey in the presence of Director of Sport Christopher Jones (2nd from left sitting) while members of the Guyana Boys and Girls u16 squads and management staff look on

GABF unveils teams for CBC c/ships

The Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) officially unveiled yesterday the Boys and Girls u16 teams that will be representing the nation at the upcoming Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championship on local shores.

default placeholder

Jeffrey crowned Time Trial champion for a third time

Add another National Time-Trial title to Raynauth Jeffrey’s collection. Yesterday, the 22-year old star cyclist put on an epic display of racing against the clock and the inclement weather to earn the title of National Senior Time Trial champion for the third time.

Darren Bravo is one of only two West Indian batsmen to score a century in the current Ballr Tri Series One Day tournament.

Bravo! West Indies never-say-die

For Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel playing in only his second One Day International it was ‘D’ Day at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Friday as West Indies took on South Africa to secure a place in the final of the Bellr Tri-Nation tournament where they will face world champions Australia today.

default placeholder

Mixed fortunes for Floodlights

Floodlights softball cricket team endured mixed fortunes last Sunday when the Wolf’s Challenge Cup softball cricket tournament continued at various ground in Georgetown.

Old Fort’s Aderemi Simon unleashing a powerful shot which was denied by GCC’s Stephen Xavier (behind the goalkeeper) during their matchup at the National Gymnasium.

Old Fort, Pit Bulls secure hard-fought wins

Old Fort and Pit Bulls secured the hard-fought wins over Saints and Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) respectively when the Lucozade Indoor Hockey League continued on Friday at the National Gymnasium on Mandela Avenue.

Domini Alleyne

Mr. Guyana bodybuilding c/ships set for July 10

Fitness fans get ready, the highly anticipated Mr. Guyana Bodybuilding and Fitness Show will be staged on July 10 at the National Cultural Centre.

default placeholder

Pollard praised as leader, match-winner

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Darren Bravo has hailed Kieron Pollard as a “game winner” and a “leader” and said his presence in the West Indies camp has been invaluable.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: