Australia end SL resistance

Sri Lanka’s second innings resistance came to an end today as the Australian bowlers gave their side their 13th straight Test match victory.

After enforcing the follow on late on Day 3 at the ‘Gabba, the Australian batsmen had to work hard throughout Day 4 as Sri Lanka, led by Michael Vandort, proved stubborn and unwilling to go down without a fight.

A couple of late wickets however, including a beautiful delivery from Stuart MacGill for his 200th Test wicket, saw Australia need only five wickets to take a one-nil lead in the two match series.

There was a lot of frustration for the Australians however as constant rain marred the final day of the first Test, but to their credit, they were able to break through at vital moments to take the required remaining wickets and take an unbeatable lead in the series.

Chamra Silva, five not out overnight, played his shots right from the start and was given a lifeline early when dropped by a diving Jaques who should of held on to the catch. Clark did not let the missed chance get to him and it was in only his next over that he had Prasanna Jayawardene trapped LBW for just the one run.

Maharoof played a couple or classy strokes to take his score to 18 which included four fours but was outdone before doing any serious damage by a beautiful swinging delivery from Lee which took apart off-stump.

Lee managed to silence his critics yet again and was rewarded for his hard work over the previous few days with the wicket of Silva who played a senseless shot which resulted in a thick edge and Hussey taking the catch at deep third man.

The remaining tail enders didn’t put up much of a fight and Lee and Clark both managed to get an extra wicket on either side of lunch to give Australia an innings victory with two sessions to spare.

The result was never really in doubt after Australia’s magnificent batting performance in the first innings. Three centurions and the lowest score of 43 meant Australia had taken the series by the scruff of its neck from day one, yet again.

Most impressive though was the bowling of Brett Lee. There was speculation in the media that Lee’s spot was far from secure and a couple of bad performances might see him dropped for the younger and faster Tait. However Lee responded wonderfully to the challenge and eight wickets in a man of the match performances could perhaps signify a new dawn for the fast bowler.

Sri Lanka will go in to Hobart with the knowledge that whilst they were badly defeated, they may have their premier wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara back in the squad. They will rue their bad decisions in leaving out Lasith Malinga and their costly dropped catches in the field. If some things had gone their way, perhaps the result may have been different. But with the Australian juggernaut, that’s still highly unlikely.

Australia 551/4
Michael Clarke 145*, Mike Hussey 133,Phil Jaques 100
Muttiah Muralidaran 2-170

Sri Lanka 211
Marvan Atapattu 51, Chamara Silva 40
Brett Lee 4-26

Sri Lanka 300
Michael Vandort 82, Mahela Jayawardene 49

Australia beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs
Cricket Web Man of the Match: Brett Lee

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