Ben Roberts brings the third in the series of Pitching It Up: a guide to the Sri Lankan stadiums for the ongoing Australian tour as both sides compete in the third.
Peter Siddle is as lionhearted competitor as you are likely to meet in the game of cricket. It is unlikely that a thought toward another test as the drinks carrier really could really inspire a player like Siddle, but the surface at the SSC could potentially drive him to rue his probably replacement of Ryan Harris in the team.
The surfaces in the first two tests were incredibly lively compared with the reputation preceding the grounds. Of course the first test match’s pitch was later deemed below standard by the ICC. The pitch at the SSC is renowned as being overtly favourable to the batsman. Flat, hard and dry, with the only threat it dusting up later in the test. By which time both sides may have batted the game out of reach for each other.
The last test at the ground was Sri Lanka against the Indians in July 2010 where Sri Lanka began by running up a total of 642 for 4 declared (three centurions, one a double, and two half centurions) before India, needing to win the test to level the series, replied with 707 (two centurions, and three half centurions) all out on the fourth day. Little time remained on such a wicket to force a result, and clearly neither side appeared that interested in one either.
The Australians played in a high scoring affair against Sri Lanka in 2004. Both teams recorded just over 400 all out on the first innings before Australians ran up 375 in the second innings. On top of their game at the time the fast scoring rate of the tourists left them with over a day to bowl at the hosts, which they duly did to great success. The combination Shane Warne and a brittle temperament that haunted Sri Lankan batsman too often saw the Australians win.
The ground is the headquarters for the Sri Lankan national cricket authorities, therefore one down in the series and with those in power looking on you would like to think the Sri Lankans will push for a result. Whichever team wins the toss will bat first and stand the better chance of setting the match up for a win. All bowlers will need to be patient, and captains wise in their use. With an aggressive player like Siddle, Michael Clarke will need to be aware the moment his frustration results in even slightly poorer bowling.
Writers note to Phil Hughes. This may be the best chance you get to shut all of us up who are fast losing patience with your inability to do the job at the top of the order, particularly as we know one S Katich would thrive in these conditions. Do not waste it.
Read More About the Sri Lankan Stadiums in the Rest of the Pitching it up Series
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