All Three Results Possible In Kandy
Who said Test cricket was dead? We have ourselves a potential classic here as we head into the final day at Kandy. All 3 results remain a possibility as Sri Lanka edged their noses ahead on Day 4. It was gripping stuff late last night as Steve Smith and Adam Voges scraped and prodded around in fading light on a raging turner to survive to stumps. Australia resume on Day 5 at 3-83 in their clunky pursuit of 268 to win the match. Sri Lankan captain Angelo Matthews attacked relentlessly late on day 4 hitting Australia with several vultures close to the bat and a 3 pronged spin assault. Sri Lanka will be looking to spin their way to a memorable come from behind win. Plenty will now rest on the shoulders of Australian captain Smith as Australia look to avoid an embarrassing loss. The normally dominate Smith will still be looking to play his natural attacking game, however he also must bear the weight of having to anchor an innings that could quickly fall apart without him.
Warner, Khawaja Live by the Sword Die by the Sword
It is a very fine line in cricket between pleasure and pain for a batsman in cricket. It truly is a fickle game in some respects. Some days you might get dropped early, caught off a no ball, bat like a complete mug and end up flourishing and receive all the accolades. Other days you might middle every ball, make one mistake, and mope around in the pavilion for 5 hours whilst listening to criticism and backlash. Warner, so often the attack dog for Australia could manage just 1 run in his 2 innings In Kandy. Indeed it was a rare forgettable test match for the pocket rocket opener. Whilst many will be lamenting his seemingly ill advised dance down the track if the ball had gone into the grandstand no one would have been complaining. Warner was playing his natural game, looking to spread the field. He perished and he is big enough to cop any backlash on the chin. However he won't be deterred in the future to try something similar and nor should he. Khawaja looked in good touch before be attempted an audacious slog-sweep only to be trapped plumb in front. Khawaja has become a much improved player of spin over the past few years, and just misread the length here, sweeping at a ball that was too full. Khawaja has been outstanding since returning to the Test team. Since his comeback, he has refused to go into his shell, backing his natural attacking game which saw him plunder Shield bowlers across the country. Coming in at number 3 it is vital to have a player that can up the tempo. Khawaja, despite his failure here is clearly that man.
Starc Impresses Again
A few Years ago Mitchell Starc looked more athlete then cricketer at the highest level. Whilst he still occasionally loses the radar, Starc is now a world class fast bowler in all forms of the game. He impressed again here powering through a combined 30 overs for the match in the Kandy sauna. Bowling at a sustained good clip and swinging the ball dangerously Starc was more then a handful for the Sri Lankan batsman. Starc was rewarded with 6 wickets for the match in a game dominated by spin. Whilst his One Day record has been outstanding, Starc might have been pigeon holed as a white ball specialist. Labelled "Soft" by Shane Warne in few years ago, Starc appears to have taken that barb to heart and is anything but these days. His fitness and body language were really strong here in testing conditions. Starc can go a long way towards solidifying the mantle as Australia's Number fast bowler in all forms of the game with more displays like this.