Jayawardene heroics buoy Sri Lanka
HOBART, Australia (AFP) –
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene pulled off a spectacular flying catch to claw Sri Lanka back into contention on the opening day of the first Test against Australia in Hobart.
The Sri Lankans were up against it after losing the toss when Jayawardene latched on to a magnificent one-handed catch at second slip to dismiss Shane Watson for 30 nearing tea.
Australia looked to be working themselves into a powerful position before Jayawardene’s screamer off Chanaka Welegedara to give the Sri Lankans some heart on a largely fruitless first day.
At tea, the home side were 193 for three with Phil Hughes, on the Test comeback trail, unbeaten on 82 with skipper Michael Clarke not out seven.
Watson had shared in an 86-run stand with Hughes for the third wicket as Australia were in the process of building a big innings.
Only minutes before Hughes had a big let-off when he was caught behind off a no-ball.
Hughes, on his third recall to the team after being dropped a year ago, was on 77 when he was caught but seamer Welegedara’s delivery was judged a no-ball by umpire Tony Hill for overstepping.
Opener David Warner was run out in the final over before lunch to take some of the gloss off Australia’s solid first morning.
The Australians were sailing along without too many problems before Warner was out for 57 in a communication breakdown with Hughes four balls before the break.
Warner, who carried his bat in his first of three Test centuries with an unbeaten 123 in last year’s Hobart loss to New Zealand, played part-time spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan towards short cover and set off for a single.
But batting partner Hughes was well down the pitch and Angelo Mathews had time to lob the ball towards the non-striker’s end with Warner well out of his crease.
Ed Cowan, dropped before he had scored, was out to a poor shot in the sixth over when he attempted to pull Welegedara, only to hand an easy catch to Shaminda Eranga at mid-on for four.
It was the first Test for Australia since Ricky Ponting’s retirement after a record-equalling 168 Tests.
The former skipper was given a lap of honour around Bellerive Oval during the luncheon interval to give his home Tasmanian crowd an opportunity to pay tribute to his career.