Island Cricket

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Australia Chairman's XI v Sri Lankans, 1st day

Kumar Sangakkara gets treatment for a strained hamstring


Sanath Jayasuriya on his way to a run-a-ball 154, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI v Sri Lankans, Adelaide, 1st day, October 27, 2007

Make no mistake, Australia: the Sri Lankans are on a mission. They've promised aggression all week as they aim for their first Test win on Australian soil, and Sanath Jayasuriya duly delivered on Saturday with an authoritative century in the first warm-up match in Adelaide.
He may not have had the strongest opposition - the Chairman's XI a hotchpotch of players who missed out on state selection - and this may not count in his first-class statistics, but it was a statement of intent and rewarded the thousand spectators who braved the wind and the rain in between some warm weather.

Speaking of statements, Marvan Atapattu proved a point to the selectors with a half-century during his first match for Sri Lanka since February following his ongoing issues with the selectors. He wasn't at his fluent best, but Jayasuriya's freedom gave him room to feel his way back into some kind of form, with 56. Together they put on a forthright 195 to give their side a sturdy platform.

Jayasuriya feasted mainly on legspinner Cullen Bailey. The pace trio of Doug Bollinger, Paul Rofe and Mick Lewis threatened in parts early on, causing the odd awkward moment for both openers. But Jayasuriya soon settled down, purring smoothly through the gears while he waited for the introduction of spin. On came Bailey and off went three successive sixes into the stands in his second over.

The first, a pull off a short one, was juggled over the line by Aaron Heal. He pulled the second, too, this one more authoritative. The third was his biggest strike, a sweetly swept six into the stands to bring up his fifty from 51 balls and the hundred partnership.
Jayasuriya had hit cruise control and, as Bailey struggled to land the ball, the batsman helped himself. At one point he had hit 36 runs off ten Bailey balls. All eyes had been on Atapattu and his long-awaited comeback but while he eased to his half-century, Jayasuriya soon took the attention.

Atapattu's fifty, while not his most fluent, could give Upul Tharanga an early warning that his opening spot could be in jeopardy. Tharanga has made one fifty in his last 16 innings. Atapattu struggled early on, fending several edges through the slips, but soon found his niche, playing patiently for his fifty, which came from 140 balls and took nearly three hours. Lewis offered the strongest threat of all the pace bowlers, pursuing the tightest lines, and he should have had Michael Vandort for a duck, but for Bollinger's drop at square leg.
Vandort went to make a half-century, and was joined in his efforts by Thilan Samaraweera, who made a fifty of his own. Bollinger finally broke their 95-run stand when Vandort poked to gully on 55.

But it was the spin of Heal which proved the most effective, eventually removing both openers, and later the captain. Atapattu fell skewing a cover drive to Philip Hughes, and Jayasuriya followed soon after, caught at mid-off by Greg Moller.
Kumar Sangakkara gave them something to worry about when he retired hurt on 1 with a left hamstring strain but his injury is not thought to be serious and he later confirmed to Cricinfo that he was not in too much pain. He is to have further treatment and Prasanna Jayawardene could come in to take the gloves.

The Sri Lankans may have been playing the shortened forms of the game for months on end now - they have not played a Test since July - but even though Jayasuriya nearly reached his century before lunch there was nothing impetuous about his innings.
He and Atapattu merely waited for the loose balls and were content to ease themselves into the game as they put on 141 in the first session. A further 100 was added in the afternoon, with Vandort and Samaraweera taking up the baton later on, all of which rewarded Mahela Jayawardene's inevitable decision to bat. Jayawardene himself made a duck, a tame pop-up back to Heal.

Bad light forced the players off the pitch for 20 minutes before the lights were switched on for the final exchanges. Rain finally finished the day, and is tipped to have a big say on Sunday, with heavy showers forecast. But there was much for the tourists to smile about among the gloom.
Jenny Thompson is an associate editor at Cricinfo
© Cricinfo


0 Comments:

Post a Comment