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Live cricket commentary: Australia v Sri Lanka - day two, Melbourne

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That's it for today, everyone, RC signing off here at Blog Central. Join us back here in the morning at 10am for the 10.30 start on day three. Enjoy your evening, and remember, tweet and blog responsibly!

WHAT HAPPENED: Clarke and Watson came out determined to build Australia's lead and did just that in steady if unspectacular fashion, adding nearly 200. Once more, the Aussies then lost a spate of wickets, but the lower order did more than its bit, the seventh and eighth wickets both adding 50-plus, Johnson looking set for another Test ton with a fine and responsible innings. Sri Lanka stuck to its guns despite losing Welegedera early, but again didn't have enough penetration to bust through the batting order, Australia with a lead of 284.

WHAT IT MEANS: Only one result possible now, surely, with three full days left for the home side to dismiss Sri Lanka a second time. The track offers little for the bowlers, but the visitors don't appear to have the requisite patience or discipline to stave off the bowlers. A clear gap in class between these teams is becoming more apparent, Australia in complete control without necessarily playing to its full potential, the question remaining can they produce the goods against the very best opposition.

STUMPS SCORE: Australia 8/440 (Johnson 73*, Lyon 0*)

That's stumps! Another good day for Australia, never really cut loose, but just steadily built the lead, now close to 300 (284) with Johnson again pushing his all-rounder claims, unbeaten on 73, been a great knock. Aussies will push for more still tomorrow, and have the best part of three days to roll Sri Lanka a second time.

Two overs to go, won't do anything silly here, and can come out tomorrow and get Johnson his ton! Herath again, has bowled really well today with no luck at all.

WICKET! Siddle's gone, a thick outside edge to Eranga and skipper Jayawardene takes his second great catch for the day, flinging himself to his left at second slip. Good stuff from Sids, though, his 13 was part of a 58-run partnership, Aus. 8/434, lead is 278 and Lyon at the crease, suppose you can't really call him a nightwatchman this time!

Siddle out to a blinder (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Siddle out to a blinder

Australia lose it's eigth wicket to a magnificent catch by Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene.

PT0M41S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2bxog 620 349

Great timing from Johnson in this knock, hasn't really tried to belt the cover off the ball at any stage, that was just a textbook cover drive that raced to the rope. He's up to 65, that was his sixth boundary, and brought up the 50 partnership as well. Lead is up to 275.

Sri Lankan bowling starting to look a bit ragged again, Johnson still going great guns, and Siddle offering good support, now this pair has almost cracked the 50 partnership! Aus. 7/423, lead up to 267.

Fifty for Johnson! Great knock, very responsible, important runs, too at No. 8. His 50 has come up in 93 balls with only four boundaries, very restrained by his standards.

Big flash from Johnson, over slips for four, and the 400 comes up ... hello, a pitch invader ... now that's very 1980s!

A few tete-a-tetes today between Herath and umpire Nigel Llong ... not quite Shakoor Rana and Mike Gatting, but they were up as close and personal just then!

Loving this knock from Mitch! Nothing silly, now just guides one between slips and gully down to the rope for four, he's up to 40 and the lead is 236. Aus. 7/392

Lovely swat by Johnson for four, looks good today with the blade. A few issues with this still new-ish ball, too. Aus. 7/383, lead is 227. They're calling the drinks break ... make mine a Pimms, Jeeves.

WICKET! What a catch! A blinder by Herath at deep mid-on and Hussey is gone for 34. Was swirling around, Herath made about 20 metres and ended up diving to his left and taking a one-hander. Ironic, really, can't take a wicket himself, but gets part-timer Dilshan one. Aus. now 7/376.

Hussey goes to great catch (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Hussey goes to great catch

Herath takes a wonderful catch in the deep to end Mike Hussey's innings.

PT0M42S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2bxlp 620 349

Sri Lanka needs another bowling change, I reckon, Johnson and Hussey looking comfortable indeed and runs coming steadily. Aus. 6/374, lead is up to 218.

Drive for four by Hussey brings up the 50 partnership, good stuff, nothing dramatic, just knocking them around for ones, twos and the occasional boundary. Lead is up to 212, might end up around the 300 mark perhaps. Herath still bowling well without luck, more support from the other end would have given him one or two at least, you'd reckon.

Part-timer Dilshan on again ... hang on, Four 'n Twenty wrapper blowing across pitch interrupts proceedings ... just as well Greg Ritchie isn't out there, would have been salivating everywhere!

Hussey lucky there. Big edge outside off to Mathews, flies between the two slips and gully at catchable height for four, and the lead goes to 200.

Picking up some handy ones and twos are this pair, have quietly added 35, Johnson looking the accomplished bat we know he can be. Aus. 6/350, and the lead is 194.

Here we go again after tea, Herath to open up with Johnson on strike, off the mark again quickly with a single, Hussey pushes another, Johnson again, four from the over. Will want to keep that scoreboard ticking over, lead still not enough for absolute comfort. And it's Mathews from the other end.

TEA SCORE: Australia 6/331 (Hussey 7*, Johnson 10*)

That will be tea, folks! Good little fightback from Sri Lanka there, looked close to demoralised at 3/311, but managed to snare 3/4. Australia still dominant, though, leading by 176. How many more can they add? Join us for the final session in 15 minutes or so. Me? I'm getting stuck into some leftover plum pudding!

Chance goes begging! Hussey could have gone there, Herath got the edge, Sangakkara didn't get close, popped off his pad up in the air, and first slip couldn't grab it, either. Next ball Herath has big shout for LBW turned down, goes for the review ... and misses out again ... just! Jeez he's been unlucky today!

Mathews coming back into the attack, has 1/26 from eight overs to date. Prasad the main wicket-taker with 3/81 from 21. You have to say so far in this match most of the 16 batsmen dismissed have managed to engineer their own demise! Aus. 6/323.

WICKET! Well, we did say if Wade hung around, something would happen. And it did! He's out, hooked Prasad straight down the throat of Eranga at deep fine leg, Australia has lost three for four!

Australia lose three wickets for four runs (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Australia lose three wickets for four runs

Australia lose three quick wickets as Sri Lanka hold their nerve.

PT0M40S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2bxey 620 349

Interesting to see how Hussey and Wade play this. Lead is 159, plenty of time left obviously, but hard to see Wade hanging around too long without some action happening.

WICKET! Now Watson's gone, and Australia yet again loses another wicket quickly. Ball from Prasad was short outside off, too high and wide to pull, but Watto gambled and lost, hitting it straight down Samaraweera's throat at mid-wicket. What a waste of all that hard work! He's gone for 83 from 198 balls with eight boundaries.

Hussey the new man, and a challenge for Watson, too. He's 82 not out, but how often in recent times have we seen one Australian wicket follow another in quick succession? Aus. 4/312.

WICKET! Pretty unexpectedly, Clarke is gone! Flashed at Eranga, and skipper Jayawardene takes a sharp chance above his head at second slip. His 106 took 187 balls, with 14 boundaries. The partnership with Watson was worth 194 runs.

Lovely drive from Watson for four, almost his signature shot, that. He moves into the 80s. Run rate is climbing. Aus. 3/310.

And there's the 300 up for the batting side. Pretty measured, from 516 balls at a rate of 3.48. The lead is now 144. ... make that 148, as Clarke just swivels and pulls Prasad through mid-wicket.

That will be the drinks break, as the cheers continue for Clarke. Australia's lead is 142 runs, with the 300 nearly up and this pair getting close to a 200-run stand. Aus. 3/298.

And there's the 100 for the skipper! That's his fifth for this year, this one less imposing than others, but still very effective. The ton came up in 181 balls with 13 boundaries, a fitting end to an amazing year of batting. Clarke's 22nd Test hundred, with many, many more to come you'd think.

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Clarke century

Michael Clarke notches his 22nd career Test century and first at the MCG.

PT0M37S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2bxcb 620 349

Prasad into the attack now, Herath had just the one over with the new ball, not the spinner's go. He's looked SL's best chance of a breakthrough today, and boy, do they need one now. Clarke closing in on the ton, he's 94, Aus. 3/292.

Four runs from the first over with new ball, Herath continuing though, might get a bit more bounce. Has bowled well today without much luck at all. Aus. 3/285.

Here comes the new ball. It's going to be Eranga with the new cherry, just two slips in with little encouragement in the track, can he produce something ... anything?

Lovely drive from Clarke off Dilshan for four, moves into the 80s, runs coming more freely since lunch. And there's another lucky break for Clarke! Gets thick edge to Herath straight between keeper and slip for another boundary! Aus. 3/280.

150 partnership comes up, we seem to have spent much of it talking about neither batsman looking near their peak, but pretty hard to argue with that many runs on the board! New ball only a couple of overs away, can't come soon enough for a bowling side starting to look out of ideas.

Clarke stepping up a gear, hoiks Herath away off leg for a boundary to move into the 70s. Australian lead moves past 100. Herath raps Clarke on the pads, appeals for LBW, turned down. Thought briefly about an appeal, but wisely didn't go on with it, was well outside off and down the track a fair way. Aus. 3/258.

Part-time spinner Dilshan coming in for a trundle, not a great sign for the visitors. Straight away, Clarke cracks him through covers for four to bring up the 250 for Australia.

No post-lunch problems for the batsmen yet. Prasad, like his countrymen, hasn't bowled badly, but there's not a lot there to really have Clarke or Watson in strife, and while both have looked a lot better than right now, they're doing well enough to have reached 60-odd and added about 130. Plenty of batsman around who wouldn't mind looking that scratchy!

Ready to go again here in session two. Watson, looking a little inconvenienced in his movement at the crease of late, will be on strike, Prasad is the bowler, Australian lead 82 and rising. Play ball, gentlemen!

LUNCH SCORE: Australia 3/238 (Clarke 56*, Watson 60*)

And that will be lunch, folks! Was a battle at times for the batsmen, but Watson and Clarke are still there, having added 88 for this session from 30 overs. The Australian lead is up to 82. What will it be by stumps, 250, 300? Join us back here at Blog Central in about half-an-hour to find out!

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Aussies tighten the screws

Australia put on 88 runs without losing a wicket in the first session of day two at the MCG.

PT0M44S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2bx6r 620 349

And there's a bit of history! That single not only takes Clarke to 56, but past Ricky Ponting as Australia's highest-ever run-scorer in a calendar year with an amazing 1545. That's in 11 Tests, 18 innings, with four big tons and four 50s at an astonishing average of more than 110!

Eventful over from Herath there! First Clarke might have been stumped, tough chance for Sangakkara who got balked by a late deflection, then Watson steers one in and out of Jayawardene's hands at slip. Needed both of them, SL. Aus. 3/235.

Prasad back into the attack now after Mathews' spell, Clarke immediately bunts him for two. Welegedara's injury is a nightmare for Sri Lanka, an attack already looking thin is being stretched to breaking point, as the lead grows to 75. Aus. 3/231

Fifty for Watson! Lovely pull to mid-wicket from Mathews, half-century has taken 121 balls with six boundaries and a six. Not one of the great knocks, but he's still there good confidence booster for a man who needs it!

Fifty for Clarke! Got some glove to that ball from Mathews, and races to fine leg boundary. Half-century came from 101 balls. And that's also the 100 partnership. Starting to tick over nicely now for the Aussies.

Six for Watson, barely seemed to touch it! Great timing. A race to 50 on here, Watson 45, Clarke 46, Aus. 3/213. Much more confident stroke play these last 15 minutes.

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Aussie finding their rhythm

Watson goes big against Sri Lankan spinner Herath.

PT0M24S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2bx49 620 349

Watson still not quite there, but starting to find a few more gaps, these two closing in on the 100 partnership and Clarke closing in on 50. Aussie lead is now 51.

Good short delivery from Eranga, scones Clarke on the helmet, and goes for leg byes. Now four byes, as Eranga hurls one back at Clarke to the boundary rope! Costly aggression there! That will be the first drinks break of the day, Australia 3/197, have added 47 this morning. Players will have a sip of a sports drink we're not gracing with a free plug, I'll have a cuppa and two Monte Carlos thanks, Jeeves!

This is it folks, over the top ... so says Clarke, channeling Doc Neeson and The Angels, and lofting Herath for four. Neither batsman right on top with their timing yet, but starting to feel more confident about opening the shoulders. Aus. 3/187.

That was the nearest thing so far! Nice ball from Eranga, Watson jams down and gets the classic French cut. Bit of luck there. Aus. 3/180.

Stephen Samuelson: "A lot of people talking about it, past bowlers in particular, have got no idea of the workload of some of the guys."

So says former captain Ricky Ponting on critics of Australia's controversial rotation policy. Read more.

And that's the 50 partnership. Has taken a fair while, from 147 deliveries, but Watson and Clarke needed to steady the ship, and they have. Aus. 3/169.

That's the best shot of the day! Watson just leans into a full-pitched ball from Eranga and steers it along the ground back past the bowler for four. That should help his confidence. Aus. 3/166.

Herath coming into the attack now to replace Prasad. Big problems for skipper Jayawardene now, no regular keeper, and losing an opening bowler, spinner needs to strike early or this could get ugly pretty quickly. You need danger money to be a paceman these days given the attrition rate!

Woops .. trouble for Welegedara here, pulls up quickly after delivery, looks like he's pinged a hamstring! Well, at least the bowling injuries are being shared around! Big blow for Sri Lanka, he'd bowled a nice line this morning. It's going to be Eranga to finish the over.

Blow for Sri Lanka ... fast bowler Chanaka Welgedara is off to hospital for scans on an injured hamstring.

Blow for Sri Lanka ... fast bowler Chanaka Welgedara is off to hospital for scans on an injured hamstring. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Only eight runs added in the first five overs this morning, close shave for Watson there, too, padded up outside off to Welegedara and survived a half-shout for LBW. Aussies trying to play themselves in for the long haul today. Aus. 3/158.

Second maiden from Welegedera, has found a nice line thus far, couple of nice leaves from Clarke, one of which didn't miss his castle by all that much! Watson pushes another single off Prasad, Clarke returns the favour, just knocking them around for ones and twos so far, rotating the strike.

A single to get Clarke off the mark, a two to Watson, the all-rounder very solid in defence. Nothing too threatening in the track, or the bowling for that matter, big chance for some big scores here!

First over passes without incident, bowler finding a line outside off, Watson playing him comfortably, watchful to start. It's a maiden, Aus. still 3/150, Clarke to face his first ball of the day from Prasad, who's coming in from the members end.

And here we go on day two! It's the left-armer Welegedera to open things up with Shane Watson on strike, unbeaten on 13. Watson started to look more comfortable late yesterday, let's see if he can keep it up this morning!

The debate about the bowling rotation policy (sorry, Pup!) continues apace, those in favour temporarily boldened by Jackson Bird's more-than-handy debut yesterday. Seem to recall that happening early in the third Test against South Africa in Perth, too, with the popular view having changed plenty once the visitors had racked up 569 in the second dig!

The weather here in Melbourne is fine again, with a hotter top of 32 degrees forecast. There is a change tipped for late afternoon, but at this stage we're in for a full day's play again, and another good crowd expected to roll in after that bumper Boxing Day turnout of more than 67,000.

Good morning, everyone. RC in the chair here at Blog Central to take you through the second day's play of the second Test at the MCG, Australia looking to cash in on its dominance of day one. Having rolled Sri Lanka for a paltry 156, the home side is just six runs behind that tally already with seven first innings wickets still in hand. There were a few flutters late in proceedings with the three wickets lost quickly, and skipper Clarke and Watson both surviving dropped chances, but having had those breaks, the Aussies will be looking for a long day at the crease and an insurmountable first innings lead.

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Aussie hold the whip hand after first day of Melbourne Test

Australia in control having bowled Sri Lanka out for 156 on day one of the MCG Test.

PT2M3S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2bwxm 620 349

Mitchell Johnson sends down a thunderbolt. Click for more photos

Boxing Day Test: Day one highlights

Mitchell Johnson sends down a thunderbolt. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Rohan Connolly's summary of the first day's play

WHAT HAPPENED: Australia stamped its authority on proceedings very early after Sri Lanka had won the toss and batted, debutant Bird grabbing the first wicket in only his second over, Johnson following suit. Sangakkara revived the visitors' hopes with a commanding half-century, but once he went hope evaporated, and the batsmen continued to get themselves out to overly-ambitious shots. Sri Lanka lost its last seven wickets for just 77 to be dismissed for 156. Warner and Cowan then got off to a flier, knocking off the first 95 in cracking time. Warner got himself out, Hughes ran himself out, and Cowan went soon after, but Clarke and Watson steadied the ship in the final hour, Australia at stumps trailing by only six runs with seven wickets in hand.

WHAT IT MEANS: Pretty hard to see anything other than a big Australian win coming up here, with all the time in the world to build a big first innings lead before dismissing Sri Lanka a second time. Watson looked in better touch the longer he hung around, Clarke is capable of adding anything to his amazing 1500-plus runs this calendar year, with Hussey, Wade and Johnson still to come in the quest for runs. Sri Lanka would need to strike early and often tomorrow morning to work itself into this contest, but it has only itself to blame, and some irresponsible top-order batting.

Sort comments by:
  • No! You didn't "get lucky':. Deal with it!!!

    Meh!

    Commenter
    Monty (with an 'o')
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 5:36PM
  • What is the criteria to be declared an all rounder, MOJO must be getting close... he seems to be getting more sensible with his batting, he will have moved to an average above 22 with this knock

    Commenter
    Home sick in HongKong
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 5:26PM
    • More claims than some who have been handed the tag, certainly, and you're right, this has been as responsible a knock as I've seen him play.

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 5:27PM
  • Last comment: WHAT A CATCH!!!

    Til tomorrow.

    Commenter
    Monty (with an 'o')
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 5:18PM
  • Wow, what a contest

    Commenter
    stefy
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 5:10PM
  • Oh, I am loving this!! If only Steve Harmisson could bat as well as Mitchell Johnson. Then we'd completely kill you.

    And you know it.

    Looking forward to it though.

    Commenter
    Monty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:46PM
  • Siddle comes into bat and the umpire got a problem with the ball. Where is Sandeep.

    Commenter
    Silent Piker
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:35PM
    • Think we'd all agree this blog has been the poorer today for the absence of the prince of trolls!

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:40PM
    • Sandeep!!!!

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:41PM
    • I dont know Rohan, I think Mnty has done a great jib as stand in troll :P

      Commenter
      Kouta
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:44PM
    • Try spelling in right Kouta.

      Still, I'm still not sure about this Aussie batting lineup. Although Mitchell looks good.

      My misses likes Johnson's tattoos, his hair cut and his height. I have two of them. Apparently Alastair Cook has two of them too. Darn.

      Commenter
      Monty (with an 'o')
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 5:08PM
  • Great catch

    nuff siad.

    Commenter
    Mnty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:27PM
    • *said"

      But hey, bloody good catch eh?

      Wow!

      Commenter
      Mnty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:35PM
  • Kumar might have to bowl. Watch him on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCYI6dROuPo

    Commenter
    Silent Piker
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:27PM
  • Ian redpath had 15 50s before he scored his second ton. Etc etc etc

    Commenter
    Peter warrington
    Location
    Marrickville
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:21PM
    • He might be excused as he had to open with Bill Lawry. Sorry Bill U R my hero.

      Commenter
      Silent Piker
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:24PM
  • Something quite sad about hearing Richie Benaud having to do promos for "The Block"!

    Commenter
    Rohan Connolly
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:19PM
  • Hookesy got 1 ton and 8 50s, Steve Waugh had 10 50s before he got a ton, Simmo batted for 7 years and 15 50s before his first ton. Etc etc etc. get over it. He was out of form but applied himself for almost 200 balls and about 4 hours. Test match batting. Imagine if he had opened... H might have equalled simmo's 311

    Commenter
    Peter warrington
    Location
    Marrickville
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:11PM
    • Well that was just about the smartest thing to come out of Marrickvillle.

      WAIT.....WHAT A ******* CATCH

      good grief...how many great catches do we need in this Test?

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:25PM
  • So we are 3/214 on the day, with 90 minutes to play, the lead is now 206 and growing nicely. Not too much to be concerned about I don't think.

    Commenter
    Kouta
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:06PM
  • RC what is your projected score? Will Australia last the Day or declare?

    Commenter
    JordanS88
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 4:02PM
    • Think they'll keep going, time not an issue. Could see the lead ending up around the 300 mark.

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:14PM
    • Chuck the bat and have 8 overs ahem tonight. Win tomorrow and have a rest for sydney.

      Commenter
      Peter warrington
      Location
      Marrickville
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:27PM
  • Nostalgia session on Ch9 about bats ... pretty interesting. Loved my old Gray-Nic scoop ... why DID they stop making them?

    Commenter
    Rohan Connolly
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 3:51PM
    • Are you drunk? Only joking. I was just wondering about your praise of CH9.

      Keep up the good work RC, Great job mate.

      Hey, this Test cold actually go either way.

      I love test Cricket.

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:59PM
  • Why does the full commentary always list Mathews speed - 121 kph etc. Trying to highlight that E Perry bowls faster ???

    Commenter
    Silent Piker
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 3:48PM
  • As an aside....Mark Taylor talking about Shane Watson reminded me of that 'Barbra Streisland" song.

    Well, it made me laugh.

    Commenter
    Monty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 3:35PM
  • Main page heading reads....
    "Clarke racks up century then racks off"

    What does the heading mean....where can I find out about Clarke racking off, to where???

    It just frustrates me is all....I click because I want to read about the heading, not go through a page of text to try and find its meaning, which I can't anyway.....

    Dumb journalism....perhaps online editor should read his pages before putting up misleading headings on the main page....
    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Commenter
    Andrew
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 3:23PM
    • Your wrong-

      Interpretation- he scored his century then got out...

      Pretty straight forward.

      Commenter
      Greg
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:29PM
    • So why not just say that.....racks off sounds like it was his decision.........bad choice of words

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:53PM
    • Got you to click on the story didnt it? Headlines are there to get ppl clicking... pretty smart journalism if you ask me.

      Alot of articles on the web- the title of the story rarely is EXACTLY what is in the story

      Commenter
      Greg
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:04PM
    • I understand that Greg......but in this instance it is even more misleading. The phrase 'then racks off' suggest he was out after scoring 100+, then left the ground, I don't mean the pitch, I mean the ground....
      It was also second main heading down from the main page, once clicked all it did was take you to the blow-by-blow blog...
      Yes it created interest for me...but most ppl would just hit the back button once they found out where it took them....
      I also understand clicks....and if that heading was placed in such a prominent position just to increase hits on the main page.....well, it's tacky and comes across as a desperate act to generate more interest in the BORING cricket blog....I see it for what it is.....

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:25PM
    • Cheers. Sorry, my joke writer's on hols.

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:29PM
  • Wow, I'm a bit embarrassed by the whinging and whining by nearly every poster here. They go four hours without losing a wicket and lose a couple and they way you are all going on you would think it was us that is nearly 200 runs behind

    Commenter
    Kouta
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 3:20PM
    • Kouta, I see your point - I hate negativity as well - but it's not the fact that wickets were lost - it's the manner in which they were lost.

      My, and other 'posters' comments are basically saying that Australia will not have a snowball's chance in hell if their best batsmen pick shots like that.

      Even the idiots on Ch9 can see that this is a great batting wicket. Why bat like that????

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:32PM
    • ....and, have fun watching The Ashes.

      If Clarke plays a shot like that against England - he's gone.

      Don't get me wrong - brilliant batsman and pretty good captain too but, really....meh.

      If the Aussie middle order do that against England then are, quite frankly, (insert swear word here)

      Tell me I'm wrong.

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:50PM
    • No, I'll just tell you that I HOPE you're wrong.

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:52PM
    • Remember 1989. England were odds on to win. History to repeat itself.

      Commenter
      Silent Piker
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:56PM
    • Seeing he played the shot against sri lanka and he is still gone, then your point is rather mute. Just saying.

      Commenter
      Kouta
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:58PM
  • Thank the Lord, Allah, Buddah or any other deity for Pup and Watto.

    How long has it been since the team has had an 11 man performance? It always seems to be one or two inspired pieces of work at the moment getting the job done. If you read between the lines, it's actually still a little concerning.

    Commenter
    Chris
    Location
    Thursday Island
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 3:07PM
  • Matty Wade...what are you doing?? Are you trying to get Haddin selected? become a great of the game, not a flash!

    Commenter
    Peter
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 3:05PM
  • This team winning the Ashes - sorry not possible unless the first 4 batsmen get some brains.

    SL has not taken wickets - Aus batsmen have given their wickets away - impatient and stupid shots - and we are only in the 2nd day of play.

    Test cricket is built on batsmen building an innings - build get the runs and then strangle the opposition.

    But even if we do that - our bowlers, although fast, cannot close out an innings as seen against SA. Against good batsmen they struggle - called brain power no ability like Pigeon to be able to out think a batsman.

    Ashes will remain with England - and I do not like saying that about the b,,,,y POMS

    Commenter
    Cliff
    Location
    Bishkek
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 3:00PM
    • Cliff, you and I are singing from the same hymn sheet mate. Yes, I'm a pom and sincerely hope we smash you in The Ashes.

      However, I'd like it to be a challenge. There's been too many batting errors today.

      Don't get me wrong, Pup and Watto put on a great partnership but they, and Wade, threw their wickets away.

      And it's against Sri Lanka!

      Try that style of batting against India or.....dare I say it....England

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:27PM
  • What is it with Australian cricketers? If you're on form, you maintain it. What was that hit from Wade? Arrrgghhhh!!!!

    I've been seriously impressed by Wade but that hit was bloody awful. Clarke's and Watto's dismissal weren't that much better.

    Ashes? Loving Siddle and Lyon bowling bat like that against England? dream on.

    Commenter
    Monty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 2:50PM
    • What rubbish. Clarke scored two double-tons against the Saffers. The only risk to Clarkie is that he can't keep up the 100+ average of 2012.

      Commenter
      Twodogs
      Location
      Reality
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:10PM
    • See you at Lords, Twodogs :)

      I love this English/Aussie s***

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:39PM
  • I am totally lost with the story that is published left of the comments so let me get this right..."A boat load of Sri Lankan refugees did a spin bowl and knocked out the wicket keeper....Nope still doesn't make sense, does this mean our team will be returning by boat to Colombo to play the next test. Oh! and fellas don't throw your papers overboard or pull the cork in the bottom of the boat you may end up in detention in North Korea!

    Commenter
    Pickled Herring
    Location
    Frankston
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 2:48PM
  • Siddle should be in shortly. Will Mahela have the guts to bowl to him.

    Commenter
    Silent Piker
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 2:42PM
  • Watson = waste! Should have capitalised on that. Can anyone remember the last time Australia didn't lose at least a couple of top-order wickets quickly?

    Commenter
    Rohan Connolly
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 2:37PM
    • Hey rohan- surely Watson has the worst conversion rate for a top order batsmen in test history- 19 fifties and 2 hundreds. Know anywhere we can check that?

      Commenter
      greg
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 2:39PM
    • Cricinfo is a good start ... will try to do it myself if I get a spare 5 minutes!

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 2:52PM
    • Again, really.....isnt it about time he drops to 6/7...thats were all rounders play, let the genuine batsman play up the order.

      Commenter
      Peter
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 2:43PM
    • I tried that and couldnt find the statistic. Let me know if you get the time!. Frustrating.

      Commenter
      Greg
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 2:54PM
    • www.howstat.com is excellent for test records. Has everything and is very readable.

      Commenter
      Twodogs
      Location
      Reality
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:19PM
  • Watson. What a waste!!!

    Commenter
    Greg
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 2:34PM
    • Not again.

      Commenter
      Silent Piker
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 2:38PM
  • Watson's SR is embarrasing. More of an annoyance than entertainment watching him bat right now!

    Commenter
    JordanS88
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 2:22PM
    • Batting for his test career it has to be slow.

      So boring though

      Commenter
      John
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 2:31PM
  • Great knock again, Pup. Remember the debates about what captaincy might do to his batting?!

    Commenter
    Rohan Connolly
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 2:17PM
    • Yes, Pup's been great. Still, if Sri Lanka had hung on to their catches Pup and Watto would have been out last night with Oz 5 down. Catches win matches.

      I wouldn't count on the Poms making the same mistakes.

      Commenter
      Chickadee
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 2:30PM
    • No Chickadee -we won't.

      Australia need to be be more ruthless. There's no doubt that Clarke and Watson are class. But they need to have a bit more, what's the word "Mongrel"

      If they don't then The Ashes is already lost. And any clear minded Aussie cricket fan knows this.

      Sorry, but that's just the way it is.

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 2:41PM
  • Random observations No.1: KFC ads ... I'm starting to find the glorified groupies giggling insanely at nothing even more annoying than the Madden brothers ... and that's a sizeable call!

    Commenter
    Rohan Connolly
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 1:29PM
    • Couldn't agree more. Ok, the Maddens have sold themselves out, but to get Slats to do it too! That's even more annoying RC. KFC? There is an acronym there but not for these pages I'm afraid! lol

      Commenter
      Raywoo
      Location
      GSL!
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 1:35PM
    • Just watching those KFC ads brings me close to a heart attack. Having said that, CA needs the money.

      So, RC - what d'ya think's going to happen now? I reckon that pup and Watto should up the ante and give it large. The kids loved the Warner/Cowan show but they've now gone to sleep. The last thing one of them said was, "Dad, can we go and watch Big Bash next week?"

      Now, I'm not saying that BB is better than Test cricket. Never. but, this is like watching paint grow (sic)

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 1:38PM
  • Why don't they restart the record books for highest scorer in a calendar year etc etc SINCE THEY SHORTENED THE BOUNDARY BY 20 METRES!!!!
    Some sixes wouldn't have even been fours in the old days!!!

    Commenter
    hard edge
    Location
    the short boundary line
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 12:40PM
    • That's a very good point, I reckon, even if only because it allows us to croak ... "In my day...etc, etc."!

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 1:14PM
  • I doff my proverbial cap to Michael Clarke. What an amazing batsman. And a great captain as well. Aussies should be proud to have a man like this at the helm.

    He won't win The Ashes though

    Mwahahahahahah!

    Commenter
    Monty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 12:36PM
  • Didn't Clarke only need to make 54 to beat Punter's record of most runs in calendar year?

    Come on RC - I need my trivial cricket stat fix!!!

    Commenter
    Dr Grouchy
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 12:27PM
    • Aaaah - Thank you

      Commenter
      Dr Grouchy
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 12:44PM
    • 12:26pm: And there's a bit of history! That single not only takes Clarke to 56, but past Ricky Ponting as Australia's highest-ever run-scorer in a calendar year with an amazing 1545. That's in 11 Tests, 18 innings, with four big tons and four 50s at an astonishing average of more than 110

      Nuff said

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 1:02PM
  • Where's Gigs? I need a magrana.

    Commenter
    Monty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 11:37AM
  • Discussion point: who's the best cricketer in the (current) world? Clarke, Cook or Kallis.

    I'm going to go for Kallis (because English people like South African cricketers)

    Commenter
    Monty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 11:29AM
    • Kallis has the stats but my choice is Clarke - a joy to watch.

      Commenter
      Silent Piker
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 1:00PM
  • I'm still in awe over Mike Hussey's catch yesterday. And Wade's. If the Aussies are going to win The Ashes then that's the fielding they will need.

    But, you're still stuffed. England to win. Easy.

    Commenter
    Monty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 11:23AM
    • Oh c'mon Aussies! Bite! Let's have some banter!!

      Coz the cricket sure is boring.

      Sandeep, surely you've got something to say about this low run rate!

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 11:49AM
    • Where is Sandeep? Too busy preparing his next conspiracy theory?

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 12:08PM
    • OK - I'll bite.

      1989 Ashes - "Australian Team possibly the worst side to ever tour England" - some English press twit.

      Need any help checking the results of that tour Monty?

      Cricket's a funny game - a twisted ankle here, a hangover there (veiled 2006-7 reference) - who knows what may happen, Monty old bean!

      Commenter
      Dr Grouchy
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 12:53PM
    • At least we know where 'The Full Monty' phrase came from. Geez mate, you are full of it Monty! England? Can't wait. Back to back Ashes this year. Beauty. You can never get enough of bashing the Poms or Pommy bashing on the other side of the fence! Is that enough niggle for ya Monty to whet ya appetite! Good luck to ya mate! Bring it on.

      Commenter
      Raywoo
      Location
      Great Southern Land!
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 12:54PM
    • PS - Forgot there's a Lions tour in 2013 too. Could be a 'Three-peat' for the Old Dart? We can only hope!

      Commenter
      Raywoo
      Location
      Great Southern Land!
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 12:59PM
    • Monty is your surname python?
      You Pommie pie chuckers don't stand a chance against us genetically superior Aussies.
      BTW why are the Sri Lankans not fined by the ICC for bringing the game into disrepute over false ball tampering allegations?

      Commenter
      selector 2
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 3:03PM
  • Mornin' RC. bit slow innit? What's your opinion of the wicket? It looks dead to me.

    How funny was Huyton's commentary? Had me in stitches. He'd be a lot better in the box than Tubby "Australis's Favourite Air" Taylor

    KFC? Yours.

    Commenter
    Monty
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 11:20AM
    • Setting themselves up for a big day, Monty. Track doing nothing. Ads as annoying as ever!

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 11:22AM
  • Top Batsmen in the 1st Innings - J.Bird is 501/1 any takers.

    Commenter
    Silent Piker
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 11:19AM
  • Watson will be out within the first couple of overs today.

    Then we will be back to the Clarke / Hussey partnership as always.

    Commenter
    sw0rdy
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 10:30AM
  • I just dont get this bowler rotation thing. Bird bowled beautifully yesterday and for mine was the pick of the bowlers... and obviously with Johnson getting a bag- who will they drop for sydney. 4 quicks bowling well.... based on rotation it would have to be Siddle right?

    Commenter
    Greg
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 10:20AM
    • It would be a real challenge to try and predict what the pecking order might be, if they were all fit and independent of balance and pitch condition - maybe siddle, pattinson, starc, hilfenhaus, bird, Johnson, Harris. With cummins as a wildcard for the ashes if he shows some form? Not my order, I wouldn't pick hilf again.

      For sydney, siddle and starc and bird and two spinners, wade to bat 6. One of Cowan and Hughes and Watson to rest. Steve smith first go, possibly cam Boyce on a johnny Watkins whim?

      Commenter
      Peter warrington
      Location
      Marrickville
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 11:25AM
    • You are confused about the "rotation thing". Its not about who's turn it is, its about rotation of the bowlers arm. After each game, each bowlers arm rotation is teasted on a rotation-arm multi-flexer to see what the reflexation is. Are they approaching the chuck? The four flattest rotators are chosen as the bowlers (or three, whatever).
      I thought everyone knew about bowler rotation, but evidently not..

      Commenter
      Huyton
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 1:20PM
  • Imposing slips cordon on Ch 9, Healy with the gloves, Slater, Nicholas and Taylor all in position out on the MCG in their suits! Is this corporate cricket?! Healy could at least have dived when he recreated Wade's catch from yesterday!

    Commenter
    Rohan Connolly
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 10:20AM
  • Looking forward to another big day's cricket here, and keen to read all your comments on how the day unfolds. Share your thoughts, observations, gags and sledges right here, and we'll respond in kind ... right Sandeep?!

    Commenter
    Rohan Connolly
    Location
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 10:06AM
  • am a big watson fan especially as opener, but he must get a big score for mine today, or step aside for Khawaja in Sydney.

    having said that, Hughes' lack of cricket brains in his runout was the sort of thing to drive Invers mad when he was playing... he might find himself in rotation while he sorts it out?

    Commenter
    Peter Warrington
    Location
    marrickville
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 10:00AM
    • Don't be silly. We don't rotate batsmen, even if they're not 100% fit, only inform bowlers. It's obvious that Clarke isn't thinking about the good of the team, only his chances of rewriting the record books for himself.

      Commenter
      Charlie.M
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 4:43PM
  • Not being a professional commentator, I'll go out on a limb and have a prediction myself for today:
    The bowling side (Sri Lanka) will be looking to get quick wickets.
    The batting side (Australia) will be looking to score lots of runs.
    How'd I do?

    Commenter
    Huyton
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 27, 2012, 9:54AM
    • Very, very astute, expect a call from Ch 9 shortly, as long as you know how to flog some memorabilia!

      Commenter
      Rohan Connolly
      Location
      Date and time
      December 27, 2012, 10:09AM
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