HERATH, SANDAKAN HELP SRI LANKA COMEBACK

Published : 10:01 am  July 28, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (356) reads | 

Untitled-4 Untitled-5BY M. SHAMIL AMIT REPORTING FROM PALLEKELE Left-arm spinning duo Rangana Herath and debutant Lakshan Sandakan shared eight wickets between them helping Sri Lanka stage a comeback on day two of their 1st Test match against Australia played at the Pallekele International Stadium. But this was followed with Sri Lanka having to erase a deficit of 86 runs and losing the wicket of Kusal Perera, who was moved up the order to open the innings instead of Dimuth Karunaratne, before rain interrupted play in the third session for the second successive day.

The match came to a halt at 2.30 p.m. and was called off at 3.50 p.m. with Sri Lanka on 6 for 1 having faced 2.2 overs. Only 61.4 overs of play were possible on the second day while two full sessions have been lost so far, with play having an early start again at 9.45 a.m. today. In the morning session Australia, resuming on their overnight score of 66 for 2, lost both their overnight batsmen with Rangana Herath making the breakthrough — deceiving skipper Steven Smith, who danced down the track and failed to read the ball, missing it completely to be stumped by wicket keeper Dinesh Chandimal with ease. Australia were able to add only three runs before that wicket with Smith adding two to his overnight tally of 28. Herath struck again in his next over when he trapped Usman Khawaja, who only managed a further run, making 26 and the two dismissals saw Australia in a spot of bother on 70 for 4. Adam Voges and Mitchell Marsh settled down and the pair helped Australia to reach triple figures and then followed it up with patience to post their 50 runs partnership for the fifth wicket.

The duo were able to add only another ten runs however, before Marsh who was on 31 became debutant Lakshan Sandakan’s first international wicket. Peter Nevill, who joined Voges, lasted only 11 balls for his two runs before Herath sent him back to the pavilion, leaving Australia in dire straits on 137 for 6. Voges along with Steve O’ Keefe added nine runs before the Aussie side went into the lunch break on 146 for 6. Coming back in the post-lunch session Voges and O’Keefe put in some stiff resistance. After having added 23 runs in the session they were separated with Voges edging a catch to stand-in wicket keeper Kusal Mendis off a delivery from right-arm pacie Nuwan Pradeep. On 160 for 7 the Aussie tail wagged to some extent with useful partnerships coming in the process. O’ Keefe along Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon added 19 and 11 runs for the eighth and ninth wicket while Lyon and Josh Hazlewood helped Australia reach 200 runs, and then three runs later their innings came to a close on 203.

Debutant Sandakan, who bagged the last three wickets, ended with figures of 4 for 58, which was also the best bowling figures by a left-arm spinner on Test debut, bettering the 80-year record belonging to Chuck Fleetwood Smith of Australia against South Africa way back in 1935, by six runs. Herath’s 4 for 49 was his seventh fourwicket haul in nine Tests against Australia. Herath and Sandakan became the third pair of left-arm spinners to take four wickets in the same Test match, with the previous occasion being in 1934 and the first being in 1925 both by English bowlers. Even though Sri Lanka fought back with the ball they were not yet out of the woods as the dismissal of Kusal Perera was a setback for them and they have a long way to go with three more days of play left.