Rain and Vandort delay Aussies

Frequent delays due to bad light and rain, and a valiant half century by Michael Vandort meant that the new-look Australian bowling attack could not wrap up the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Gabba in Brisbane on the fourth day.

Sri Lanka were still in misery at the end of Day 4, with Australia still in full control, and only five wickets away from dismissing the visitors in the second innings, after having asked them to follow-on trailing by 340 in the first innings.

Starting the day at 80-2, Vandort, on 15, began to craft a frustrating partnership for the Aussies with skipper Mahela Jayawardene. The two made sure that no wickets were lost in the all-important first session of the day, which was also helped for Sri Lankans by a rain interruption. While Vandort crossed half a ton after the lunch break, Jayawardene fell short, getting dismissed one run shy, caught behind the wickets by Adam Gilchrist off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson.

Vandort’s sojourn ended in the second session as well, when, on 82, he became Stuart MacGill’s 200th Test victim. It is MacGill’s 41st Test, and the wicket thus makes him the fourth fastest bowler in Test history to reach the milestone.

The only other wicket to fall was that of Thilan Samaraweera, who was dismissed for 20, caught in the gully by Mike Hussey off Johnson’s bowling. When the Sri Lankan batsmen at the crease, Chamara Silva and Prasanna Jayawardene, were offered the light in the final session with the score at 218-5, it was accepted without hesitation.

Australia are still on their way to going one up in the series, with just five lower-order wickets of the visitors to knock off. It will take some really bad luck with the weather, or a collective dauntless effort from the Sri Lankan lower-order to defy the Aussies of a deserving victory.

Australia 551-4 decl.

Sri Lanka 211 ao and 218-5
Michael Vandort 82, Mahela Jayawardene 29
Mitchell Johnson 2-47

Sri Lanka trail by 122 runs with five second innings wickets in hand

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