and Herath boost Sri Lankan hopes
Callistus Davy reporting from Darwin
Left arm spinner Rangana Herath bowled himself into contention as
the first choice spinner in the absence of Muttiah Muralitheran
for the first cricket Test against Australia with a haul of four
wickets as Sri Lanka showed positive signs of strangling the Northern
Territory Chief Minister's X1 on the third day of their four-day
match here at the Marrara oval in Darwin yesterday.
the pitch appeared to get slower, Herath could have been the most
pleased bowler visibly enjoying himself by picking up his first
two wickets in successive balls which included the prized scalp
of Test player Justin Langer who was bowed for a first-ball duck
after overnight batsman Kumar Sangakkara reached 203 and Sri Lanka
declared at 378 for 7 in reply to the home side's total of 419.
who made 151 in the first innings, batted in the middle order and
could not believe his eyes when a ball from Herath kept low and
bowled him on the back foot. The host team eventually made a surprise
decision to declare at 145 for 9 leaving Sri Lanka a 179-target.
In chasing the target Sanath Jayasuriya was bowled with the total
at six after he exposed his leg stump to glance a ball from paceman
Herath was easily the star of the day as he picked up four wickets
to lift up team morale ahead of the first Test. "Without (Muttiah)
Muralitheran in the team I have to be more than a hundred percent
confident. I think with these four wickets I could live up to the
challenge and do something for the team. I'm pleased with the work-out
in the second innings", said Herath who has played just four
Malinga, who is nudging the selectors to make his debut, bowled
what would have been the quickest over of the day in his first over
of the second innings and was rewarded with the scalp of opener
Ashley Williams who was caught behind by a diving Romesh Kaluwitharana
six wickets in the first innings the 20-year old Malinga who hails
from the village of Ratgama in Galle has compelled the selectors
to do some extra home-work when deciding on whom to pick to join
Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa for the first Test.
skidding type of bowling action has already put him alongside Fervez
Maharoof and Dilhara Fernando in competing for a place in the Test
side. Sangakkara had the honour of making the first double hundred
on Australia's latest Test venue when he adventurously but recklessly
raced to 203 from his overnight score of 163 before Sri Lanka declared
41 runs behind the home team's first innings total. Sri Lanka need
a further 173 runs to win with nine wickets in hand.