Saturday, February 2, 2019

Australia declare at 534 after Patterson’s maiden ton

Tea Sri Lanka 0 for 47 trail Australia 534 for 5 dec (Burns 180, Head 161, Patterson 114*, Vishwa 3-126) by 487 runs

Australia declare at 534 after Patterson’s maiden ton

Australia declare at 534 after Patterson’s maiden ton

Only one wicket fell in the first two sessions of day two, as Australia marched to a mammoth total before declaring an hour after lunch – Kurtis Patterson driving their advance with a maiden century in just his second Test innings. In response to Australia’s 5 for 534 declared, the visiting openers took their own team total to 0 for 47 after 13 overs.

Patterson had begun the day on 25 not out, and although somewhat nervy in the early overs, as Sri Lanka’s seamers gleaned movement from the second new ball, eventually settled into a happy rhythm. He was strongest through the covers, hitting half of his eventual 14 fours through that region, but was almost as good with the pull shot, as Sri Lanka’s quicks repeatedly tested him with the short ball.

The bowlers had exerted substantial pressure in the first 15 overs of the day, but once the ball stopped moving around, and Sri Lanka’s discipline frayed, Patterson began to appear more and more immovable at the crease. He never quite scored as quickly as day one’s centurions – Joe Burns and Travis Head – had done, at times, but his batting was no less secure than either of those men. He reached a maiden half-century off the 100th ball he faced, and by this stage, seemed to have worn the opposition bowlers down. His second fifty was populated with strong shots square of the wicket – particularly through point as Sri Lanka sprayed the ball around, and through midwicket, when they tried to bounce him out.
At the other end, Tim Paine made a cautious start against the second new ball, before eventually warming to his work himself, eventually moving to 45 not out before declaring – his own half-century seemingly no major consideration. The majority of Paine’s runs came through the leg side, as Sri Lanka went short at him as well. His stand with Patterson would be worth 130, and came in 239 deliveries.

If there was one point of solace for Sri Lanka’s bowlers on the second day, it was that Australia did not score quite as quickly as they had on the first day. The morning session had cost them only 90 runs (from 31 overs), and though the scoring rate quickened after lunch, they did not leak runs at more than a run-a-ball as they had in parts of the previous afternoon and evening sessions.

Partly this was due to Australia’s less aggressive approach, but also to Sri Lanka’s discipline. Kasun Rajitha bowled with impressive consistency, from among the quicks. It was he who had taken the day’s sole wicket, removing Joe Burns for 180 with an indipper that took the batsman’s inside edge and then clattered into leg stump.

Sri Lanka’s openers were confident in the hour before tea. Dimuth Karunaratne repeatedly flicked Mitchell Starc towards midwicket as Starc attempted to go full and straight with very quick deliveries (he was in the low 150kph range during parts of his spell). There were occasional plays and misses, but Dimuth and Lahiru Thirimanne largely gave off the impression that there was not a lot to fear from the quicks on this surface. Nathan Lyon did get some turn in his only over, however.

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