Pat Cummins act stuns cricket world amid baffling Sri Lanka Test scenes

·5-min read
Play was ended prematurely because of bad light moments after Pat Cummins belted a monster six. Pic: Fox Sports
Play was ended prematurely because of bad light moments after Pat Cummins belted a monster six. Pic: Fox Sports

Pat Cummins put an exclamation point on a dramatic second day of the opening Test between Australia in Sri Lanka, highlighted by a wild storm, a stadium collapse and a bizarre end to play in Galle.

Cummins' Aussies went to stumps after a weather-interrupted second day on 8-313, in reply to Sri Lanka's 212.

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Cameron Green's 77 was the highlight of day two for Australia on Thursday as the visitors marched out to a lead of 101 in their first innings.

The tourists' effort came after more than two hours of play were lost to a morning storm that caused the roof of a makeshift grandstand in the stadium to collapse.

Sightscreens were also torn down and a glass panel in a marquee smashed, as gusts of more than 60km/h thrashed the coastal city.

Australia and Sri Lanka's Test match has been delayed after extreme winds and rain lead to the collapse of a temporary grandstand amnd the outfield being completely soaked. Pictures: Getty Images
Australia and Sri Lanka's Test match has been delayed after extreme winds and rain lead to the collapse of a temporary grandstand amnd the outfield being completely soaked. Pictures: Getty Images

Fortunately, no-one was injured and ground staff placed tyres over covers in a bid to keep them down across the outfield and pitch.

Some late power-hitting from Cummins (26no off 16 balls) rammed home Australia's advantage, but viewers were scratching their heads when the umpires signalled an early end to play because of bad light.

The controversial call came moments after Cummins had belted an enormous six out of the ground and into the car park outside the stadium.

Cummins' big-hitting suggested he was seeing the ball perfectly well, leaving fans baffled as to why the umpires called a premature end to play, after only 44 overs were bowled in the day.

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On a pitch Usman Khawaja has already described as one of the toughest he has ever played on, the early advantage to Australia looks crucial given the way the ball continues to turn.

Australia have now already scored more runs than they did across both innings on a similar Galle wicket in 2016, where they surrendered the series to Sri Lanka amid a 3-0 flogging.

When play finally began after the long delay earlier in the day, it was Green who did the damage to the hosts.

Brought to the wicket after Travis Head went for six in the first over, the West Australian used his long legs to his advantage to nullify the impact of the spinners.

Three of his six boundaries came on the sweep shot, while he also cover drove nicely in a knock that controlled the tempo of the game.

"It took a lot of courage," Khawaja said.

"Where his game is at right now for young (23-year-old) kid, it's great to see him well beyond where a lot of us were on the sub-continent at 20 (or so).

"A lot of the things we have learned as senior batters around the group. It's great to see that knowledge being passed on."

Green's knock exemplified Australia's attempts to go after Sri Lanka's tweakers, with only Ramesh Mendis (4-107) having any sustained success.

The visitors have scored at a run-rate of 4.53 in their first innings, with the hosts' spinners sending down 61 overs without one maiden.

Pictured here, Cameron Green celebrating a half century for Australia in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
Cameron Green celebrates a half century for Australia in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. Pic: Getty

By comparison, Australia's run-rate sat at 2.83 back in 2016 when Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera dictated terms and spun them into a web.

Khawaja had also made a clear effort to unsettle the bowlers in his 71, as he passed 50 for the seventh time in his past 10 innings since his Test recall on Thursday.

After steadying the ship late on day one, the opener continued to employ his tactic of reverse sweeping to go after runs against the spinners.

He ultimately became Jeffrey Vandersay's first Test wicket, edging the legspinner to short leg.

Alex Carey struck a neat 45 as he played well square of the wicket, but the keeper was eventually caught by Dinesh Chandimal after mis-timing a drive off Mendis.

with agencies

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