Australia have put Sri Lanka to the sword in the second Test in Canberra, declaring at 5-534 on day two after Kurtis Patterson became the hosts’ third centurion for the match.
Tim Paine’s first declaration since taking over as Australian captain came midway through Saturday’s middle session at Manuka Oval, ensuring Patterson had time to reach triple figures in just his second Test appearance.
The New South Welshman finished unbeaten on 114, while Paine was 45 not out.
Paine’d decision to declare stunned commentators and fans, considering he was just five runs short a half-century.
He also could have been tempted to bat on and notch a maiden Test hundred, but showed his leadership by putting the team first.
Paine chose to put his teammates before his personal achievements in an effort to ensure the Aussies have enough time to win the Test.
It had fans praising the skipper on social media.
Paine won't even let himself get a half century, harsh
— Alex 🏡 at last 🏠 (@dippizuka) February 2, 2019
Tim Paine on 45 still declared the innings 👏#AUSvSL
— Waiting for RC12 (@Bharu_chirufan) February 2, 2019
Tim Paine is a genuine leader. He showed an example of selflessness today. Proud of you skip. @tdpaine36
— Ibraheem Altaf (@IbraheemAltaf) February 2, 2019
— email@example.com (@DKautukk) February 2, 2019
— Nitin (@nitin_quiry) February 2, 2019
When people talk about personal milestone here is one man @tdpaine36 who dec the Aus innings on 534/5 & he was 5 runs away from 50.Just a fab cricketer setting an example & thinking about the team rather then personal milestone. Your comments on @vikrantgupta73 & @manoj_dimri
— Jay Shah (@jayshah1408) February 2, 2019
@tdpaine36 such a selfless captain and cricketer he is. He's currently batting on 45(Not out) without caring his half century he declared the Australian innings at 534/5 . Hats off to you Paine. Aussies lucky to have behind wickets -perfect banter👏👏 #AUSvSL #Australia #Cricket pic.twitter.com/VrWRr4AfeR
— Ketheny (@Robert_John6) February 2, 2019
— Vatsal (@vatsal10_98) February 2, 2019
Patterson scores maiden Test ton
Having reached 74 not out at the end of the morning session, Patterson needed just 29 balls after lunch to bring up his milestone with an elegant drive through the covers.
Australia’s batsman had managed just one century in the past 12 months before arriving in Canberra, where Joe Burns (180), Travis Head (161) and Patterson ended the drought in emphatic fashion.
Burns added just eight runs to his overnight score before chopping onto his stumps off a delivery from Sri Lankan quick Kasun Rajitha.
But the Queenslander’s huge knock has ensured he will be part of Australia’s Ashes squad in a stunning turnaround after years in the Sheffield Shield wilderness.
Patterson is certain to also be in the frame after building upon a composed 30 on debut in Brisbane.
The left-hander again impressed with his mastery of the short ball, unleashing his favoured pull shot to anything back of a length.
Dropped first ball on Friday, Patterson survived a tricky start to Saturday’s morning session when both Rajitha and Vishwa Fernando had the new ball swinging.
Sri Lanka’s makeshift bowling attack again struggled to make headway against an Australian side looking to cap off a difficult summer with a 2-0 series whitewash.
Burns’ career-best knock will go into the history books as the third highest individual total in an Australia-Sri Lanka Test match behind Michael Slater (219) and Kumar Sangakkara (192).