Bird strikes but Sri Lanka solid

Sportal January 3, 2013, 1:10 pm
Jackson Bird

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Australian fast bowler Jackson Bird has continued the strong start to his Test career but Sri Lanka's batsmen have put up a strong fight on day one of the third Test at the SCG.

After being sent in by Michael Clarke on a green pitch, the tourists overcame the early loss Dimuth Karunaratne (five) to get to lunch at 2-80

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene (30) and Lahiru Thirimanne (four) are the not out batsmen and will hope to cash in after the break on a pitch with no real demons.

Bird (2-18) took both wickets and was the pick of the Australian bowlers, who struggled at times with their line and length.

The Sri Lankans were untroubled early as Tillakaratne Dilshan (34) and Karunaratne got the score to 26 before the latter through his wicket away.

The left-hander tried to pull a Bird bouncer but only succeeded in getting a top edge which flew high above the slips, with the retiring Michael Hussey running back to take a comfortable catch.

While Hussey did well to take that catch, he missed an opportunity to remove Jayawardene just six runs later.

Peter Siddle got a ball to move away for the veteran right-hander, catching the outside edge and flying to Hussey at second slip.

But Mr Cricket was late in seeing the ball, moving too slowly to his left, with the ball slipping through his fingers and down to the boundary for four.

And Jayawardene has made the most of his life, looking comfortable as he has hit five boundaries on his way to an unbeaten 30.

The skipper and Dilshan looked like putting the visitors in firm control at the first break as they played some cracking shots all around the ground.'

But just as it seemed they would survive through to lunch, Bird struck again.

He tempted Dilshan into a drive with a touch of away-movement catching the edge and giving Matthew Wade an easy take.

Bird thought he had another on the very next ball when Thirimanne was given out LBW by umpire Aleem Dar.

But the left-hander, who came into the side for the injured Kumar Sangakkara, opted to review the decision and was given a reprieve with the ball pitching outside the leg stump.

Australia's four-pronged pace attack have so far failed to justify Clarke decision to bowl first, which is the first time any Test team has done that at the SCG since 1955.

Siddle (0-12) looked dangerous in his four over spell but had no luck while Mitchell Johnson (0-17) hasn't been able to generate the same pace and bounce he did in Melbourne.

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