Johnson And Warner Delight Boxing Day Crowd
Sri Lanka 156 (Johnson 4-63) v
Australia 150-3 (Warner 62)
Second Test, MCG, day one
Report by Daniel Grummitt
Kumar Sangakkara and Mitchell Johnson both achieved personal milestones on the first day of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, but is Johnson who will remember his with more fondness as Australia dominated the day’s play. They closed just six runs behind Sri Lanka on 150 for three as David Warner blazed his way to 62 off only 46 balls.
Johnson had earlier became only the seventh Australian to achieve the double of 200 wickets and 1000 runs when he had Sangakkara caught on the pull to reduce Sri Lanka to 147 for eight. They were all out for 156 shortly afterwards, with Sangakkara the only man to show any resistance with a determined 58. Sangakkara had become the 11th batsmen in Test history to pass 10,000 runs when he square drove Johnson for four in the final over before lunch.
That had ended a disappointing first session for Sri Lanka on a positive note, and things only got worse after the resumption as their last seven wickets fell for the addition of just 77 runs.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene had won the toss at the start of the day, but, through a combination of poor shot selection, some hostility from Johnson and control from the other bowlers, Sri Lanka collapsed. Jackson Bird had taken the first wicket, that of Dimuth Karunaratne caught behind for five, and was rewarded for a promising introduction to Test cricket with two wickets, matching the hauls of both Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon.
It was Johnson, however, who provided the day with the spark and gave the large crowd some proper Test cricketing entertainment. He was at his mercurial best and would take four wickets as well as conceding his 63 runs at over four an over. He started by moving a ball back at Tillakaratne Dilshan, causing him to drag on and ended it with Sangakkara’s wicket. In between, he caused problems for the Sri Lankan middle-order and was on a hat-trick at one point after dismissing Dhammika Prasad first ball. The first wicket in that brace had been Prasanna Jayawardene, who had briefly resisted alongside Sangakkara despite being hit on the thumb by Johnson - a blow which was later diagnosed to have unfortunately caused a hairline fracture, meaning that Sangakkara would keep wicket later.
Sangakkara did help affect a run-out when Australia batted, but he also dropped Shane Watson before the close, who partnered Michael Clarke - who passed a late fitness test on his hamstring - through to stumps.
David Warner had been at his brutal best at the beginning of Australia’s innings, racing to 50 off 34 balls, but was one of three quick wickets for Sri Lanka towards the end as they sensed a feint glimmer of hope. Clarke and Watson, however, saw things through with an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 33 to give Sri Lanka a taste of what may well lie in store for them tomorrow.
© Cricket World 2012
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