Jayawardene scalp tilts Test towards Australia
HOBART, Australia (AFP) –
Australia made an important breakthrough with the wicket of captain Mahela Jayawardene as they pushed for victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Hobart.
The Australians set out on the final day needing eight wickets to go one up in the three-Test series while the Sri Lankans required the more improbable 328 runs to beat the home side on a wearing Bellerive pitch.
Jayawardene’s partnership with ICC cricketer of the year Kumar Sangakkara was key for the tourists to bat out the final day for a draw, but his dismissal tilted the odds Australia’s way.
At lunch, Sri Lanka were 144 for three and still needing a further 249 runs for victory with Sangakkara on 58 off 206 balls and Thilan Samaraweera not out on 17.
Michael Clarke, playing with an injured hamstring, bent low to take a sharp catch to dismiss his opposing captain Jayawardene off Peter Siddle to break up the potentially dangerous partnership with Sangakkara in the 56th over.
Jayawardene resisted for 77 balls for his 19 and stubbornly put on 65 runs for the third wicket with Sangakkara off 193 balls.
It capped a low scoring match for Jayawardene, who only made 12 in the first innings.
Sri Lanka’s big batting hope Sangakkara had a close call on 54 when he was given out leg before wicket as he attempted to pull Shane Watson.
But Sangakkara won a review which showed the ball striking his left knee outside the line.
Australia have held the initiative in the Hobart Test but there are memories of their inability to bowl out South Africa on the final day in Adelaide three weeks ago as the Proteas batted out for a draw and subsequently won the series in Perth.