Aussies march on despite Sanga heroics

Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 12:44 [IST]
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Hobart: Kumar Sangakkara posted the highest score by a Sri Lankan in Australia and Sri Lanka achieved their highest fourth innings total but still lost the second Test by 96 runs to Australia at Bellerive Oval here Tuesday.

Sangakkara was in line for his seventh Test double-century before his contentious dismissal on 192 and with it went Sri Lanka's remote chance of running down Australia's huge 507-run target on a flat wicket.

The elegant right-hander passed Aravinda de Silva's 167 in Brisbane in 1989 as the highest score by a Sri Lankan in this country.

He faced 282 balls and hit 28 boundaries and a six in his 431-minute vigil at the crease.

The Sri Lankans amassed 410 in the final innings, surpassing the 352 for nine they scored to beat South Africa in Colombo last year.

Australia steamed to victory on the back of man-of-the-series fast bowler Brett Lee, whose 4-87 off 26.3 overs included the crucial wickets of Marvan Atapattu (80), first-innings centurion Mahela Jayawardene (0) and experienced Sanath Jayasuriya (45).

Lee finished the two-match series with 16 wickets and was by far the outstanding bowler of the two sides as he seeks to take over the new-ball attack from the retired Glenn McGrath. He now has 247 Test career wickets.

South African umpire Rudi Koertzen later apologised to Sangakkara for giving him out after television replays showed that the ball appeared to deflect off his shoulder to Ponting at second slip.

But the Sri Lankans took it all with good grace with skipper Mahela Jayawardene calling it a human error.

"Rudi came and said sorry to him. But that's it. Kumar being Kumar was fine with it," Jayawardene said.

"He was very disappointed at the particular moment but when you sit back after half an hour, you know it's a mistake made by a human and that's it."

In any case, Australia sailed on to their 14th consecutive Test victory and are looking ahead to next month's four-Test series with India at home to push them past their own record of 16 straight wins.

"We still had 260 runs in the bank when the day started," Australian skipper Ricky Ponting said.

"Once we got that (Jayasuriya) wicket I didn't think we had any chance of losing the game whatsoever.

"I thought our batting on day one and most of day two was absolutely outstanding and set the game up early and Brett Lee led the way again with the ball."

Jayawardene was disappointed with the outcome of the series.

"I felt we had a very good team. Good attack. But the way we played wasn't very consistent," he said.

"We couldn't penetrate their top order, which was very disappointing. And the way we batted was disappointing as well -- particularly the first innings we played in both Test matches.

"That gave us a lot of problems in the whole series."


Sri Lanka's winning chances nosedived with the loss of quick five wickets in the morning.

Lee gained the vital breakthrough with the wicket of Jayasuriya 20 minutes into the day.

The 38-year-old left-hander, playing in his last Test match in Australia, played a loose shot outside off-stump and was snapped up by wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist low down for 45.

Sri Lanka's fragile middle order was exposed as Chamara Silva lasted nine balls before he edged to Ponting at second slip off left-armer Mitchell Johnson for a duck.

Wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene was out next ball, shouldering arms and not offering a shot to Johnson and was leg before wicket as the tourists lost 3-7 in three overs.

Injured paceman Farveez Maharoof played an attempted pull shot and was caught overhead by Lee at deep mid-on for four.

Dilhara Fernando showed poor judgement when he failed to run at full pace attempting a third run and was run out by a throw from the deep by substitute Rhett Lockyer.

The end came 15 balls after lunch on the final day when Lee bowled Muttiah Muralitharan for 15.

Lasith Malinga blasted medium-pacer Stuart Clark for three sixes in his unbeaten knock of 42 off 58 balls.


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