March 27, 2012
Spinners dominate England-Sri Lanka Test
By Norman da Costa, QMI Agency
It is a well-known fact that spinners have often bamboozled England’s batsmen. But who would have guessed that Sri Lankan batsmen would also be vulnerable against the knuckleball?
With both teams being led a merry dance by spinners, the first Test in Galle could well be in the books inside three days.
On a day when 17 wickets tumbled, Sri Lanka was dismissed for 318, a total boosted by Mahela Jayawardene’s captain’s innings of 180. Paceman James Anderson did the damage with five for 72. England then folded for a mere 193. Rangana Herath, already hailed as Sri Lanka’s next spin king following Muttiah Muralitharan’s retirement, captured six for 74 to give his team a healthy lead.
But off-spinner Graeme Swann showed he too could baffle the batsmen by capturing four for 28 to send the home team reeling to 84 for five. That gives Sri Lanka a lead of 209 but it needs to get a lead of around 300 to sit in a comfortable position.
KIWIS HOLD TOUGH
Kane Williamson and some of the other New Zealand batsmen were left battered and bruised by some hostile bowling by South Africa, but in the end the home team managed to hang on to draw the third and final Test in Wellington Tuesday.
Needing an impossible 389 to win, the 21-year-old Williamson defied the intimidating Proteas bowlers to hit an unbeaten 102 as the Kiwis made 200 for six. Fireballer Morne Morkel took all the six wickets to fall for 23 runs. In the first innings his fellow-speedster Vernon Philander picked up six as well. Philander made history by becoming only the third bowler to reach 50 Test wickets in seven matches.
New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor will miss most of the Indian Premier League that starts next week after suffering a broken forearm trying to escape a bouncer from Morne Merkel. This was an expensive break for the 28-year-old Kiwi as he was to pocket a cheque of $1.1 million from the Delhi Daredevils. He wasn’t the only batsman to be sent to hospital in the drawn Test. South Africa’s Hashim Amla underwent an operation for trauma to his groin area ... Kieron Pollard feasted on Aussie bowling, slamming an unbeaten 54 off just 26 balls (two fours and five sixes) in West Indies’ total of 150 for seven in the first Twenty20 match at St. Lucia Tuesday. Michael Hussey made 59 off 45 balls (four fours and two sixes) and Shane Watson slammed six sixes and five fours in a whirlwind knock of 69 off 43 balls to guide Australia to an eight-wicket win in 18.1 overs.