Sri Lanka vs Australia
So there you go. Just when things were getting interesting the rain intervened, and so Sri Lanka will go into the third Test at the SSC in Colombo with a chance to level the series. They'll certainly have to perform a lot better, but will be heartened by a much-improved showing with the bat in this second innings. The final Test starts on Friday, so do join us then.
Tom Moody, who is in Pallekele as a commentator, has just tweeted: 'You can close the book on this match rain set in & full covers coming out, Aust will go to 3rd Test 1 up, SL need to bounce back!' Looks like the game will be called off pretty soon then.
Aaand now they're back on again. The last of the covers was just coming off when another shower swept down from the hills. Have to suspect that that will be that. Officially we have a little more than two hours of possible play left, but the light is so bad that it's hugely unlikely they'll get back on at all, let alone play for long enough to make it worthwhile.
Good news - the rain has stopped, and so the covers are slowly being peeled off.
Still raining in Pallekele, so presumably we're into the tea break. The groundstaff are exceedingly efficient so if the rain stops we will be back on in the shortest possible time, but at the moment it looks highly unlikely that the rain Gods are about to allow Australia a Test victory here.
The rain is heavier now, so the entire ground has been covered. Australia's hopes of a series-clinching victory recede further. Still a lot of time left in the day but this looks like it could be a lengthy delay.
It's still drizzling out there, so the covers are in place, although the umpires stopped the groundstaff from bringing on the ones that cover the outfield. The Aussies have traipsed off for the moment, and will be frustrated to see heavier showers in the distance. We'll keep you updated.
Over 115 Johnson 0-0-0-
317-6 - It's pretty dark out there at the start of the over and you sense it won't be long. Indeed it's just three deliveries before the drizzle begins and Tony Hill confirms that rain has stopped play. However the Aussies stay out in the middle with the umpires because it looks to be a passing shower. Of course the Sri Lankan batsmen are up the stairs and into the dressing room in no time.
Over 114 Watson 1-0-4-0-0-0
317-6 - Risky stuff from Randiv as he pushes at one away from his body and drives in the air through the covers for four. Would have been at a perfect catching height had the cover fielder been five yards to his right. Perhaps it was just impeccably judged by the batsman?
Over 113 Johnson 0-0-0-0-0-0
312-6 - Johnson has three slips, a gully and a square-ish point in place in the hope that Randiv will be tempted outside his off-stump. The right-hander bites, but not enough to find and edge - just an awkward play'n'miss. Drinks break.
Over 112 Watson 0-0-0-0-0-0
312-6 - Watson threatens, but Mathews would rather have himself see of the reverse swing than the cavalier Randiv.
Over 111 Johnson 0-0-4-0-1-0
312-6 - News from the Aussie camp reveals that Harris is being assessed for a stiff hamstring, so we await the extent of that injury. In the meantime, Mathews is yet again left to bat with the lower order and this really must be old hat for the all-rounder now.
Over 110 Watson 0-0-0-0-0-W
307-6 - Mathews and Samaraweera have the tendency to play across the line now and then, so Clarke sticks in two close catches to the on-side. Watson, meanwhile, really working hard at the ball - sometimes seam up, sometimes a scrambled one and at every turn a shine to the pants pocket in his quest for more reverse swing. WICKET! It does the trick, although it's more Samaraweera's poor shot than the impact of the ball that does the job. The right-hander had another go outside the off-stump, the ball stayed on its line and copped the edge. Haddin was at hand for the catch. Australia into Sri Lanka's tail now as Randiv, not one for blocking things out but rather a bit of a willow wielder, comes to the crease. Sri Lanka, only just ahead, effectively 70 for six now.
Over 109 Johnson 2-0-0-0-0-0
307-5 - Some lengthy troubles with the sightscreen delays proceedings, with some sort of rope thingy eventually fixing the problem. Play eventually resumes, with Johnson forcing the edge but Mathews deploying soft enough hands to avoid the ball carrying to Clarke in the slip cordon.
Over 108 Watson 2-0-0-0-0-1
305-5 - Watson pushes hard for the yorker but can't quite reach the blockhole and Mathews cashes in for a couple worked through the on-side to get off the mark. Small signs of reverse swing creeping into the seamer's approach now. Good signs for the Aussies. Ominous ones for Sri Lanka.
Over 107 Johnson 0-0-0-0-0-0
302-5 - Clarke won't want to rest Harris, but he has to for the time being. So, Johnson resumes. 12th man Warner is on the field as today's chief wicket-taker enjoys a quick break in the pavilion. Samaraweera, meanwhile, flashes wildly at a wide delivery and is pretty lucky not to fetch an edge. That said, he is also rather unfortunate not to have that scream through the covers. Either or. You choose.
Over 106 Watson 0-0-0-0-0-0
302-5 - Watson enjoys some sharp nip off the seam into the right-handed Mathews, but the line isn't good enough to trouble the batsman. Then something that keeps low and based on this sporadic lack of bounce, I'd really like to see the slip cordon take a collective step or two forward. The edge, if or when it arrives, is bound to fall short.
Over 105 Harris 0-0-0-0-0-0
302-5 - Harris finds some kicking elevation off a standard length, with Samaraweera entirely surprised by one that lifts through him. With the momentary theatre done and dusted, it's another maiden over.
Over 104 Watson 0-0-1-0-0-0
302-5 - With Sri Lanka sporting a rather long tail, the bulk of the home side's charge sits with the batsmen currently at the crease. Samaraweera and sidekick know this, and won't dare drive at anything sent down outside their off-stump. The slips are waiting for the error.
Over 103 Harris 0-0-0-0-W-0
301-5 - Cautioned by the umpire for running on the wicket in the previous over, Harris makes sure to fall away from his follow-through much quicker this time around. WICKET! Meanwhile, Jayawardene's attacking vigil meets its end on the defence. He got forward for the block, but didn't account for the slightest bit of seam movement. So arrives the edge and Haddin does the rest. The Aussies are going about their hunt for 10 second-innings wickets methodically. Mathews in now.
Over 102 Copeland 0-0-0-2-0-0
301-4 - Sri Lanka bring up their 300 and that's the first time this series that they have reached a score of such proportions. Samaraweera, meanwhile, is still mistiming his drives, which probably means the pitch is starting to hold up a bit.
Over 101 Harris 0-1-0-0-0-0
299-4 - Harris digs in a short ball and, although it's a bit wayward, Jayawardene can't connect the pull. Haddin takes the delivery at a higher position than usual and there are hands on heads all around the Aussie camp. No edge, though.
Over 100 Copeland 0-0-0-0-0-0
298-4 - That's another maiden - this one from the hand of Copeland to the defence of Jayawardene. Australia have two scalps for their new-ball effort, but really would've wanted at least three at this stage.
Over 99 Harris 0-0-0-0-0-0
298-4 - Full stuff from Harris, and Samaraweera is on the drive time and time again. He can't pick the gap, though, and instead of a couple of boundaries has to make do with a maiden.
Over 98 Copeland 0-4-0-4-0-0
298-4 - Copeland is nothing more than military medium, so wicketkeeper Haddin fancies he'll stand up to the stumps. Jayawardene, meanwhile, welcomes some width for four on the cut before four more off from a forced error might've had Haddin in with a chance were he standing back.
Over 97 Harris 0-0-0-2
290-4 - Harris eventually completes a rather elongated over, with Samaraweera more than happy to take in a string of newer sighters on the defence.
All and sundry are back out in the middle after the delay. Harris to resume a very broken over, while Samaraweera needs to play himself back in.
Update At 12:13 Local Time (06:43 GMT)
The rain has relented, there is a bit of sun out, the covers are being dragged off and the umpires will soon expect conditions.
Lunch, Day Five
With the rain still falling, the umpires have done the right thing in deciding that the lunch break be taken. It's 11:39 local time (06:09 GMT) now and we're still waiting for Mum Nature to sort herself out.
Over 96.2 Harris 0
288-4 - The resumption of play lasts all of one delivery as the rain begins to fall again. So, on come the covers, off go the players and so the wait begins again at 11:10 local time (05:42 GMT).
Short And Soggy
Just a brief break, then, with the shower just a passing one. Off go the covers, on come the players and so proceedings resume.
Over 96.1 Harris 0
288-4 - Harris' return to the attack is halted as rain begins to fall. Off go the players, on come the covers and so the wait begins at 11:00 local time (05:29 GMT).
Over 96 Johnson 2-0-1-0-4-1nb-4
288-4 - The left-armer continues from around the wicket. That doesn't last long, though, as he returns to over the wicket, which results in a rank half-volley and four spooned through the off-side by Jayawardene. A shoddy over for the bowlers is capped by four more - this time glanced through fine-leg as Johnson mopes to the drinks break in the wake of a string of shoddy line.
Over 95 Copeland 0-0-4-0-0-0
276-4 - Copeland puts his back into it for a short ball - and it's a really testing one as Jayawardene is left to get his block out the way at the last moment. Then a full one, which the right-hander drives at to almost hole out at gully. Hussey, however, can't pull off a repeat of the cracker that he orchestrated from the same position in the Galle Test.
Over 94 Johnson 1-0-0-1-0-0
272-4 - Having fallen for a pair in the series opener, Jayawardene is entirely relieved to get off the mark. Samaraweera, meanwhile, knows full well that he must be the backbone of Sri Lanka's knock from here on in after the fall of the old guard.
Over 93 Copeland 0-0-0-0-W-0
270-4 - WICKET! Clarke pulls off a blinder in the slips to make up for his early spill. Copeland forced the edge, the fielder put in a fine dive to his left to clutch the ball just before it struck the deck with one hand. Clarke immediately relays that there is no doubt in his mind that he took a clean catch. Jayawardene, though, is not convinced and wants the umpires to check some television replays, which soon reveal that Clarke is in the right and the Sri Lankan is left looking a bit unsporting. Off he mopes. Wicketkeeper-batsman Jayawardene in now.
Over 92 Johnson 0-0-0-0-4-0
270-3 - No swing whatsoever on offer for the left-armer, so Johnson is relying on his pace and line. He can't deliver on either front, though, as Samaraweera finds four on the cut. With that, the bowler opts for a change of approach from around the wicket to close the over, but that's not troubling the right-hander.
Over 91 Copeland 0-0-0-2-0-3
266-3 - Just a short break for Copeland, who is back into the attack at a new end. So, it's Harris that is set for the extended breather. Again, though, the right-arm seamer is too straight and Samaraweera finds it easy pickings through the on-side for a couple and then three.
Over 90 Johnson 4-0-0-2-0-1
261-3 - Johnson is into the attack as Copeland gets a breather and a long think about an inadequate opening spell. The southpaw seamer approaches the right-handers from over the wicket, and immediately sends down an ugly loosener for Samaraweera to plank down the ground for four.
Over 89 Harris 0-4-0-0-0-0
254-3 - Harris too strays to the leg-side, with Jayawardene picking four through backward square-leg with a superb stroke to bring up his half-century - 124 balls to get to the milestone and it's 39th 50 of his prolific Test career. From here on in, he'll settle for nothing less than a 30th ton.
Over 88 Copeland 1lb-0-0-0-0-4
250-3 - Much better from Copeland, who has the batsman playing at the ball much more than in his previous overs today. But then, he targets the stumps too much - and coughs up a rank half-volley to Samaraweera's pads for the right-hander to work through midwicket for four in bringing up the team 250.
Over 87 Harris 0-1-0-0-0-0
245-3 - It must be said that Samaraweera is hardly convincing off the frontfoot defence at the moment. While Copeland isn't getting it right to the right-hander, Harris has him looking very iffy.
Over 86 Copeland 0-0-0-2-0-4
244-3 - This isn't a great spell from Copeland - and he will be the first to admit it. Affording Samaraweera too much width to leave alone at will, he then coughs up something too straight for the right-hander to clip around the corner for four. The bowler just isn't finding that channel of uncertainty.
Over 85 Harris 0-0-0-0-0-2
238-3 - Umpire Hill snubs a shout for lbw as the ball was jagging past the leg stump. Clarke, with one review in hand, won't go for the referral - and rightly so. Harris - right up there with the best of them based on current form - really is gunning hard for another breakthrough here. Sri Lanka are now in the lead.
Over 84 Copeland 2-0-0-0-4-0
236-3 - Copeland is pitching the ball as late as possible in order to give it as much chance to swing as possible. He overpitches, though and fetches four on the back of Samaraweera's on-drive. Other than that piece of fodder, it's another tidy over from the seamer.
Over 83 Harris W-0-0-1-0-0
230-3 - Haddin on Sunday spoke volumes of how Australia would have to strike early if they hoped to get a win out of this game - and that's exactly what they've done. The right-armer pitches on a great line, finds a bit of seam movement away from the left-hander, who tickles the edge into Clarke's hands at second slip on the back of a great delivery. Clarke hangs onto that ball for dear life, because he knows what a key scalp that is. Samaraweera in now. He is beaten by some away swing and then has a go at a wide one, but only succeeds in feathering an edge to Clarke. DROPPED! The Aussie skipper is a bit late to the ball in falling to his right, and parries the ball through the cordon. Samaraweera breathes a huge sigh of relief and will want to make that lifeline count.
Over 82 Copeland 0-0-4-0-0-0
229-2 - Decent timing and placment from Jayawardene, who dinks the ball between the slips and gully for a boundary that brings up the century partnership. It's the 13th time that Sangakkara and his fellow former captain have put on 100 or more in Test cricket.
Over 81 Harris 0-0-0-0-0-0
225-2 - Still no new-ball duties for Johnson, understandably so as the hope of seam and swing to not suit his fast and hard approach. Rather Harris, who sends down a great line and length to beat the left-hander on occasion, but there really isn't much movement off the deck or through the air out there.
Over 80 Copeland 2-0-0-0-0-0
225-2 - Jayawardene gets underway immediately with a couple worked through square-leg as Copeland errs with a loosener. That's it on a runs front for the over, as the right-hander takes in its remainder on the defence. Nice, little warm-up for the seamer ahead of the new ball, which is now available.
First Session, Day Five
All and sundry, comprising umpires Hill and Kettleborough, batsmen Jayawardene and Sangakkara and the Australian XI, out in the middle and good to go. Strap in for the ride folks.
Resident pitch pundit Ranil Abeynaike has surveyed the playing surface and finds it pretty much ready for the new ball, which he reckons will swing around for the first hour before the track reverts to it's usual, flat nature. The sodden weather, for now, is holding off and we are in for a prompt start.
Hello and welcome to our over-by-over commentary of day five to the second Test of the three-match series between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Stadium. The hosts are in search of 14 more runs to, at least, make the opposition back again and will thereafter look to bat out a draw. The Aussies, new ball in hand, want 10 wickets. The weather, well, is sure to have a say. Some rain is probable while eventual bad light is inevitable.
- 8th - 12th Sep 2011
- A L Hill and R A Kettleborough
sri lanka BATTING CARD
|Paranavitana||c Haddin b Hussey||55|
|Dilshan||c Watson b Harris||36|
|Sangakkara||c Clarke b Harris||69|
|Jayawardene||c Clarke b Copeland||51|
|Samaraweera||c Haddin b Watson||43|
|Jayawardene||c Haddin b Harris||21|
|Extras||1nb, 6b, 20lb||27|
|Total||Close, 114.3 Overs||317 - 6|