Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Australia has won first test match against Sri Lanka

Starc & Siddle keeps Australia at victory stand:

At last, Michael Clarke must have thought. At last Australia have tasted victory this summer. It took until the fourth Test of their home campaign, and into the final hour at that, but Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle delivered a 137-run win for Clarke and their team-mates as Sri Lanka's tail-enders narrowly failed to hold on for a draw at Bellerive Oval. Despite the best efforts of Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera in particular, Sri Lanka will walk out on Boxing Day at the MCG 1-0 down.

As the gloom began to close in, Australia entered the final hour needing two more wickets; Sri Lanka's victory target of 393 had become irrelevant during the morning. Starc delivered precisely what his captain required. All the Twenty20 cricket he has played over the past year began to pay off. He viewed the task as similar to bowling at the death in the short format, sending in yorkers and mixing it up with the occasional shorter delivery. And unlike in T20, he had the luxury of catching men everywhere.

After a few yorkers narrowly missed the stumps, or hit the pads on their way down the leg side, Starc finally directed one that bowled Rangana Herath to leave Sri Lanka at 9 for 250. In his next over, Starc banged one in shorter and Shaminda Eranga couldn't work out how to play it, in the end offering a fend of sorts that was edged through to Matthew Wade. Starc had 5 for 63. Sri Lanka were out for 255. And Australia had won the fourth Test of their home season, the first time since 2001-02 it had taken them so long to register a win.

There was a sense of inevitability about the victory, at least, after Samaraweera and Sangakkara had departed. Unlike in the Adelaide Test last month, where the South Africans held off Australia's bowlers to survive for a draw, this time the pitch was tougher for batting, the weather was much cooler and allowed the bowlers some respite, and importantly, it wasn't all left to Siddle. It was him who provided the spark, though.

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