Australia firmly in front

Gilchrist, Symonds, Clarke and Hussey all scored heavily on day two of the second Test in Hobart to ensure Australia were firmly in front by stumps.

In stark contrast to the beautiful weather of the previous day, Bellerive Oval was under a thick set of clouds for the entire day’s play, causing rain interruptions and bad light stoppages that frustrated both batsmen and bowler alike.

Unlike the conditions however, Australia’s scoring was similar to the first day and they added runs freely and with ease, building on their already imposing overnight total of 329 for three wickets with Mike Hussey on 101 and Michael Clarke on eight.

Conditions were in favour of the bowlers early with a strong wind coming through, but the Australian batsmen showed little discomfort in setting about the task.

Hussey added 31 runs to his overnight score and looked in fine touch, however, almost out of the blue, Fernando produced a stellar delivery that swung in to the left hander, trapping him LBW for 132. It was a brilliant knock that included 18 fours and a daring six of Muralitharan the previous day.

Symonds came to the crease and made an immediate impact, taking two fours off Fernando in his first three deliveries in the middle and a six off Muralitharan the next over.

Just when things couldn’t have looked bleaker for the tourists, wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene took a fabulous catch off the bowling of Malinga to give the Sri Lankans some respite. Clarke, on 71 and cruising, managed to get some glove on the leg-side delivery whilst attempting to glance it and Jayawardene produced a magnificent dive to his left to end the New South Welshman’s innings.

With Gilchrist the new man in, that was about all the joy Sri Lanka would experience for the rest of the day as both swashbuckling batsmen set about demolishing Sri Lanka’s confidence. Gilchrist whacked a six off Malinga and then two off Muralitharan to become the first man in Test match history to hit one hundred sixes in what has been a fabulous career.

The Australian vice-captain ended up on 67 not out with Symonds continuing to prove his critics wrong with another half century before Ricky Ponting decided to end the Sri Lankan misery and declare the innings closed at 5-542.

Sri Lankan openers had an awkward session before the close of play to negotiate, including a fired up Brett Lee who began his spell with two maidens. Vandort was given a life on zero when Ricky Ponting was unable to catch an edge at second slip and the openers scampered to 0-30 before being offered the light, which they gladly accepted.

Australia 5-542 dec
Phil Jaques 150, Mike Hussey 132
Sanath Jayasuriya 1-18, Dilhara Fernando 2-134

Sri Lanka 0-30
Marvan Atapattu 18* Michael Vandort 12*

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