Millennium Post

Sangakkara reaches 10,000 runs as Sri Lanka totter

Australia skittled out Sri Lanka for 156 and trailed by just six runs after an eventful opening day saw 13 wickets fall in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday. Before a Boxing Day crowd of 67,138 at the sun-bathed MCG, the home side were in command after winning the opening Test in Hobart by 137 runs.

Kumar Sangakkara joined the 10,000 runs club and Mitchell Johnson claimed his 200th Test wicket before the Australian batsmen made Sri Lanka pay for their paltry first innings total made off just 43.4 overs, with David Warner clobbering 62 off 46 balls. Despite a late flurry of wickets Australia finished the day well on top. At the close they were 150 for three with Michael Clarke, who passed a fitness test on a strained hamstring, not out 20 and vice-captain Shane Watson on 13.

The Sri Lankans were rueing dropped catches off both batsmen late in the day. Their only bright spot was Sangakkara’s 58, which was ended by a stunning running catch by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to give Johnson his 200th wicket in his 49th Test.

Sangakkara was the equal-fastest to the 10,000 milestone, reaching it in his 195th Test innings as did Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara. Johnson, recalled after being left out in Hobart, claimed four for 63 off 14 overs to finish off the sorry Sri Lankans.

The Australians made a lively start with Warner and Ed Cowan putting on 95 off 106 balls, Warner blazing his fourth Test half-century off 34 balls before falling to a trap laid by medium-pacer Angelo Mathews. Mathews tempted him with a short ball and the opener duly obliged by finding Dhammika Prasad at deep mid-wicket. Phil Hughes was run out for 10 in a dreadful mix-up with Cowan in the 23rd over, well beaten home by Tillakaratne Dilshan’s throw to the striker’s end. Cowan was out for 36 in the following over, flashing at Prasad. Mahela Jayawardene took a hot catch in the slips. The Sri Lankan batsmen self-destructed with poor shot-making, although the Australian pace attack maintained a good line and length.
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