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The Electronic Telegraph Australia v Sri Lanka
The Electronic Telegraph - 8-12 December 1995

Day 1

Kaluwitharana beats drum

First day of five: Sri Lanka 251 all out

THE drum-thumping Sri Lankan supporters had their celebrations short-circuited as Australia bowled out the visitors for 251 in the first Test here.

Sri Lanka recovered from a not-too-spectacular 54 for three at lunch against Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Craig McDermott.

Before yesterday, Warne's return in three Tests here was humbling - three wickets at 77 each. He took three for 75 yesterday but the Sri Lankans played him with less anguish than the more circumspect Pakistanis.

Sri Lanka were given a lift after lunch when the tourists' two most experienced players, left-handers Asanka Gurusinha and Arjuna Ranatunga, put together a lively, counter-punching fourthwicket stand of 75 in 79 minutes.

The threatening stand was cut short by McGrath but strokemaker Romesh Kaluwitharana (50 in 74 balls) was soon in charge.

The tiny wicketkeeper-batsman has only played four Tests yet the Australians know him well and still talk about his freakish debut century against them in Colombo in 1992.

His bravado bristled to the surface again. Twice in one over he pulled McGrath for four but it was a cannon-shot drive off the same bowler which was his shot of the day.

The most curious innings of the day was that of the gifted but impetuous Aravinda de Silva. After three narrow escapes in four balls he dollied the last ball before lunch back to Warne for an appropriate punch-line to two minutes of batting madness.

Day 2

Ball tampering allegations as Slater hits career-best 189

Second day of five: Australia are 358-2 in reply to Sri Lanka's 251 all out

SRI LANKA were in disgrace after being found guilty of balltampering in the first Test against Australia at the WACA in Perth yesterday.

On a day when a career-best 189 not out from Michael Slater shattered the tourists' Test hopes, Sri Lanka's first innings total of 251 looked paltry by stumps as Australia stormed to 358 for two.

But the day's main drama surrounded a stoppage of play for four minutes after the 17th over of the Australian innings, when neutral umpire Khizar Hayat, of Pakistan, conferred with Australian counterpart Peter Parker about the state of the ball.

Match referee Graham Dowling later released a statement saying that Hayat had noted the ball appeared to be interfered with during the course of the 17th over bowled by spinner Muttiah Muralidharan.

``He showed the ball to umpire Parker who agreed,'' Dowling confirmed.

The Sri Lankan captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, was informed the condition of the ball had clearly been altered by a member or members of his team.

``The umpires advised they would take appropriate action if there was any further attempt to tamper with the ball. The ICC do not condone such practices and I have made it abundantly clear to the Sri Lankan team management.''

The Sri Lankans have not been punished for their indiscretion and refused to appear at a media conference after play. Apart from England captain Mike Atherton's dirt-in-the-pocket affair against South Africa last year, it is believed to be the only case in which a Test team have been found guilty of ball tampering.

Parker also had a long and animated conversation with the Sri Lankan captain before the 19th and 21st overs bowled by Muralidharan. The ball was not changed but both umpires inspected it closely at the end of most overs in the first sesssion.

Slater skipped along at a one-day tempo to add 228 in 54 overs for the first wicket with Mark Taylor (96), who fell lbw when

Aravinda de Silva got one of his amiable off-spinners to straighten from around the wicket just before tea.

Day 3

Ponting 'robbed' of debut century

Third day of five: Sri Lanka (251 & 13-0) trail Australia (617-5) by 353 runs

UMPIRE Khizar Hayat was again the centre of attention on the third day of the first Test at the WACA. On Saturday the Pakistan official had reported the Sri Lankans for ball tampering and yesterday he was heckled by the crowd for his lbw decision against Australian debutant Ricky Ponting when on 96.

When the decision was replayed around the ground, spectators howled in protest believing the ball from Chaminda Vaas had struck Ponting too high. Several fans stood above the players' tunnel and abused Hayat as he went off.

Mark Taylor, the Australian captain, declared after Ponting was given out, with Australia finishing 617 for five, a lead of 366.

On a day when Michael Slater recorded a lifetime best of 219 and Waugh blossomed from 36 to 111, Ponting, with another sturdy new boy, Stuart Law, who made 54, stole the show.

The Australian batting had been overshadowed on Saturday by the ball-tampering incident. Hayat stopped play after the 17th over when he spotted that the ball had been interfered with. Match referee Graham Dowling agreed and the Sri Lankans were warned.

Day 4

Sri Lankans in denial

Australia won by innings & 36 runs

SRI LANKA, who yesterday lost the first Test to Australia by an innings and 36 runs with a day to play, have begun attempts to restore their reputation after being convicted of ball-tampering on the third day.

Duleep Mendis, the team manager, said he had sent the match referee, Graham Dowling, a two-page report defending his side by saying that the ball had been damaged by an abrasive wicket. ``It is unfortunate because we came here to play Test cricket the way it should be played,'' Mendis said as Sri Lankan supporters reacted angrily in Colombo.

Leg-spinner Shane Warne guided his side to victory by claiming three wickets, taking his Test haul past the double century mark in only his 42nd appearance. A weary Warne said that he was pleased to have reached such a milestone but admitted he had not bowled at his best on the day.

Resuming on 13 without loss, Hashan Tillekeratne contributed 119 through aggression and authority. After hitting 12 fours he was last man out when he lofted a simple catch to Ricky Ponting at deep mid-on off Warne's bowling.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk