1.12am EST 01:12 75th over: Australia 339-4 (Burns 151, Patterson 1) Patterson gets off the mark with a single into the offside, a passage of play that betrayed Sri Lanka’s mindset. After his nervous opening delivery there should have been suffocating pressure on the new batsman. Instead he nudges harmlessly into an acre of space.
75th over: Australia 339-4 (Burns 151, Patterson 1) Patterson gets off the mark with a single into the offside, a passage of play that betrayed Sri Lanka’s mindset. After his nervous opening delivery there should have been suffocating pressure on the new batsman. Instead he nudges harmlessly into an acre of space.
Joe Burns 150 from 211 deliveries
74th over: Australia 337-4 (Burns 150, Patterson 0) Burns consolidates following the dismissal of Head but he still has the presence of mind to dab a single through the gully region to bring up his 150. Then PATTERSON IS THE LATEST TO BE DROPPED! First ball! The new batsman props forward and lobs a simple bat-pad catch straight to short leg but it’s a shocking attempt, barely anywhere near Thirimanne’s fingers as he snatched at the ball like a hungry hippo. What a torturous day this has been for Sri Lanka’s bowlers. Huge let-off for Patterson after watching Head and Burns make hay.
73rd over: Australia 336-4 (Burns 149, Patterson 0) “Is Jason Gillespie the last South Australian to score a Test century before today?” asks David Busuttil. Yes, he is/was David. I thought you were going to be in a position to ask a similar question but replacing century with double century, but alas Head has now departed.
WICKET! Head LBW Fernando 161 (Australia 336-4)
This incredible partnership is finally broken and Head walks off to a rapturous applause for a 204-ball 161. Fernando is the man celebrating, trapping his man plumb in front, angling the ball in from around the wicket enough and beating the attempted swipe across the line.
72nd over: Australia 330-3 (Burns 148, Head 156) Head clubs another four to extend the partnership in excess of 300. Then he checks a firm drive straight back to Dananjaya but, of course, the bowler shells it. A horrible, horrible day for Sri Lanka somehow manages to get even worse. That was very catchable, firmly struck, but straight at the bowler around hip height.
71st over: Australia 324-3 (Burns 147, Head 151) The scoreboard now has one six and 44 boundaries on it. The 44th is the streakiest of the lot after Burns cue-ended one through the slips. They all count, I guess.
One for the sniggerers at the back of class from Mr Naylor.
150 for Travis Head from 193 deliveries
70th over: Australia 317-3 (Burns 142, Head 150) 81 runs from the previous ten overs (before this one) in case you were wondering. An eventful over for Travis Head. First he escapes a flukey dismissal, then he eases beyond 150.
Abhijato Sensarma is creatively bored. “With an extended net session going out in the middle I have penned this (admittedly long, and my apologies) question for you!
So let me engage myself by asking you, Mr Howcroft – by the time the Aussies are done.
Here are Head Burns, they are making the Sri Lankan Heads Burn.
There is bounce, and there is the slightest hint of turn.
But they negotiate all deliveries, run after run.
There is no pink nut this time, all three sessions are under the Sun.
They will look to cash in and each might score his double ton.
But for a neutral like me, matches like these are no fun.
They might think they are good again, but the Sri Lankan team is not (none will argue with that, none!).
So will this build false assurance which comes crashing down when they go to England to retain their urn?”.
Honest answer – who could possibly know how England or Australia are going to perform later this year after their wildly fluctuating performances of recent weeks? It certainly looks like a bowler’s series, beyond that, it feels a bit of a lottery right now.
Not out! The soft signal is clearly wrong. Replays instantly show the ball was chopped down by Head onto the toe of his boot and down onto the pitch before it leapt up and into the hands of slip. The third-umpire takes a belt-and-braces approach to overturning the soft signal but he gets there in the end.
Travis Head might be out… Sri Lanka reckon he is after chopping a drive onto his boot and into the hands of slip. The soft signal is out.
69th over: Australia 314-3 (Burns 141, Head 148) Head overtakes Burns in the race to 150. He profits from yet another short and wide medium pace delivery, mercilessly carving it to the boundary like a scimitar-wielding extra from Jason and the Argonauts.
68th over: Australia 306-3 (Burns 141, Head 141) This is now the biggest Australian partnership for any wicket against Sri Lanka, and also the highest first-class partnership at Manuka Oval. Runs, runs, runs, runs, runs…
“Re appropriate names, in Sydney grade cricket Manly used to have an opening pair of Bush and Tuckerman (which relates to a 1980s tv show if you’re wondering what I am on about)”. Lovely stuff from David Markham.
67th over: Australia 301-3 (Burns 140, Head 137) Another bowling change, another first-ball boundary, Vishwa Fernando the latest to be treated with contempt by this partnership. Head battered that four through the offside then tried to launch Fernando’s next ball into orbit but didn’t get hold of everything. This is so dispiriting from a Sri Lankan perspective. They can’t find a dot for love nor money and this pair are batting like it’s a competitive dads v lads T20.
Nick Jewlachow (61st over) is back with an enlightening clarification, thanks Nick. “My apologies Jonathan, it’s David Colley. He was an all-rounder and a teammate of Border’s at Mosman. So, when Border joined as a pup in the mid 70s, Colley was already a bit of an old dog having played his tests in 1972.”
66th over: Australia 293-3 (Burns 139, Head 131) Dananjaya de Silva has been brought on to stem the bleeding but his opening delivery is something of an anti-coagulant, short wide and calmly put out of its misery by Burns’ ruthless blade. The run-rate is edging up towards 4.5 rpo. This is brutal.
65th over: Australia 285-3 (Burns 132, Head 130) Glorious from Burns, crunching a cover drive off Chamika like a golfer loosening his shoulders with a warm-up swing. Effortless timing. The same length but more width from Chamika looks destined for a similar result but there isn’t the same whipcrack off the bat and Burns has to settle for a single. The runs keep coming though, Head disdainfully ramping a wide delivery up and over the infield and down to the third-man fence. The partnership skips gleefully beyond 250, becoming the highest fourth-wicket stand for Australia against Sri Lanak in the process.
64th over: Australia 273-3 (Burns 126, Head 124) Half a life for Head who doesn’t get everything on a wristy drive that flies just beyond the fingertips of a diving short midwicket. Chastened by the experience the left-hander sashays down the pitch a couple of balls later and absolutely marmalises one into the post that holds up the sightscreen. The first six of the innings is followed up by the 38th four, Perera offering enough width for Head to check his forward intent, rock back and cut powerfully behind square. This is getting ugly now for Sri Lanka. Very very ugly indeed.
63rd over: Australia 258-3 (Burns 125, Head 110) Another over, another gentle half-volley, another boundary. Burns smokes his 20th four through mid-off with classical efficiency.
This is very good from OB Jato. “Regarding names which make sense, perhaps the most destructive and reliable ODI partnership of all time, between Rohit and Kohli of India, can be an answer to the question you asked in the 56th over. Virat means ‘momementous or huge’ (two of the word’s meaning in Hindi, anyways), while Sharma means ‘being shy’. Virat Sharma would roughly mean in Hindi – ‘being hugely shy’. Even then, I must say after looking at their assured chases and astonishing chases, they don’t give off that feeling while batting!”. Rohit is currently captaining India in a very entertaining ODI series in NZ, one that recently turned into a Trent Boult special.
62nd over: Australia 252-3 (Burns 120, Head 109) Buns is playing the enforcer now, looking to move down the pitch and disrupt Perera’s length. It works fourth ball when he skips down the track and whips a four through midwicket.
61st over: Australia 247-3 (Burns 115, Head 109) Chamika returns and he begins by floating up a half-volley into Head’s slot and the boundaries just keep on coming, the 33rd between this pair already today at a rate better than one every second over. Chamika almost makes amends when Head makes a mess of a short ball, guiding it off the face of the bat – right in front of his eyes – towards second slip. Fortunately there wasn’t enough pace on the shot to carry on the full and despite a dive it arrives in the cordon on the half-volley.
“Re Head Burns: in the 1970s for a while the NSW No 5 and 6 batsmen were Border and Collie. Lots of dogged partnerships. They retrieved some the Blues from some ruff situations”. That is splendid Nick Jewlachow. I presume the big dog was Allan Border, who was the pup Collie?
60th over: Australia 243-3 (Burns 115, Head 105) Like London buses, you wait all summer for a century and then two come along at once. Considering the match situation neither will have a better opportunity turn their tons into doubles.
Century! Travis Head 100 from 155 balls
Travis Head advances down the pitch and drives Perera on the full through extra-cover for four. The boundary brings up a maiden Test century for the South Australian in his eighth Test. Tremendous moment for the 25-year old.
59th over: Australia 236-3 (Burns 115, Head 98) Rajitha’s over begins with an incorrect no-ball call, once again highlighting how preposterous it is that on-field umpires retain that responsibility when there are TV umpires better placed to do the job. Head nudges another single closer to his century. He will be on strike at the start of the next over.
58th over: Australia 233-3 (Burns 114, Head 97) A tickled three off Burns’ pads brings up the 200-partnership between this pair, by some margin the coupling of the summer for Australia, and they’re not finished yet. Head in particular is a man on a mission and he cuts his way four runs closer to his ton, feasting on a fraction of width from Perera.
57th over: Australia 226-3 (Burns 111, Head 93) The latest Rajitha over is an interesting one. Head is trying to force his way to a hundred through the offside but the field is well set. Rajitha lands the ball often enough in dangerous areas awaiting a false stroke but despite the left-handed batsman threatening to mistime one on the up he gives nothing away. The result is a maiden.
56th over: Australia 226-3 (Burns 111, Head 93) Dilruwan Perera resumes his spell and after Head nudges a single nearer his century Burns blocks out the remainder of the over.
Question: are there many other partnerships that make sense as a combination of names in the manner of Head Burns or Burns Head?
55th over: Australia 225-3 (Burns 111, Head 92) Kasun Rajitha begins the post-Tea action and he’s quickly flayed behind point for four by Burns. It was catchable height through a gully-ish region with Burns throwing his hands at a wide delivery without adjusting his feet.
35 more overs are remaining in the day’s play, so not for the first time this summer we will finish after the scheduled close of play.
Phillip Lewis is already my favourite reader. If you want to compete for my favouritism, you know what to do.
“Usman’s summer has been similar to that of Mitch Starc, emails Phil, the legend. “As a senior player more solidity and consistency was required. Both now legitimately have a question mark beside their name. Very good players but…? I began to have reservations about Harris when he kept getting hit in the head. Openers don’t have the luxury of struggling against the bouncing ball. If he continues hitting easy catches to point the selectors will soon conclude he’s not the man for the job”. Do you all agree? At what point does backing a senior player through a form dip become carrying a deadweight?
Thank you very much Geoff. No pithy handover aside today I’m afraid, so here’s Jimi Hendrix, in honour of the long-awaited centurion.
Tea – Australia 220 for 3
It’s one of those days where the batting side could say, “It did a bit early, then settled.”
Or more accurately, “We played some horrible shots early, then settled.”
Often in these kind of games, the partnership that gets itself settled can run away with the Test match. Burns and Head are doing just that, even if they’ve had their own slices of luck along the way. Sri Lanka was always likely to struggle with a bowling unit tacked together out of parts. Someone among them will have to find a way through this pair, and the catchers will need to support them.
It was a lovely moment for Burns, raising the century after finally getting the second chance at Test cricket that he’s craved.
That’s enough from me, thanks for your company. For the final session of the day I’ll leave you in the capable grip of Jonathan Planetary Howcroft.
54th over: Australia 220-3 (Burns 107, Head 91) Last over before tea. Perera bowling, and Head cashes in on his life by sweeping three runs fine. Burns knocks a couple through cover, though another shoddy piece of running has him in some trouble coming for the second. The luck is with this partnership.
Here’s an email note from Sam Casey: “On the Manuka/NZ chat, State Circle, which girts Parliament House, has avenues running off it for the capital of each state of Australia. Canberra Avenue, on which you find the oval, was intended to be named Wellington Avenue because there was still some thought that New Zealand may become a state of Australia (section 124 of the Constitution still allows for this).”
Top marks for your Constitutional Australiana chat including the word ‘girt’, Sam.
53rd over: Australia 215-3 (Burns 105, Head 88) Oh, Travis. As sure as eggs are a bad item to put in your pockets. You just have to keep bowling outside off and eventually he’ll flash a catch somewhere. The cut shot should bring him undone this time, but it’s dropped at gully. A combination of toe end and top edge, lifting but travelling direct. Perera the culprit, and that should have been taken. So they’ve dropped Burns at slip earlier and now Head, who should have been left to rue another shocker. Burns makes the bowler feel even worse by clobbering his own cut shot for four.
52nd over: Australia 210-3 (Burns 101, Head 87) Calm can resume. Perera bowling off-spin, a couple of singles taken, proper dull cricket. Perfect.
Century! Joe Burns 100 from 147 balls
51st over: Australia 208-3 (Burns 100, Head 86) Kasun Rajitha comes back. Two slips, gully, ring field, fine leg. He bowls yet another no-ball, Sri Lanka have been bleeding these today. Burns whips it for two. Misses out on a pie down leg side, but makes up for it by pulling a limp short ball from about waist height for four.
He’s on 99! Can he get there? The header already told you that he can. After a couple of dots, he faces the last ball of the over. Taps and runs, towards cover. The crowd is cheering before he’s even halfway down. Makes it, and wheels away towards mid-on, pulling off the helmet as quickly as possible.
Australia’s first century of the summer! First since Usman Khawaja’s epic in Dubai back in October. And Joe Burns’ fourth in 16 Tests, which rather tends to suggest he could have played a few more than he has.
50th over: Australia 200-3 (Burns 93, Head 86) Hot tip: if you’re bowling to Travis Head you either need someone in the deep on the off side, or you need to not bowl short and wide. Ideally do both. Head smashes four from de Silva to raise Australia’s 200. The partnership is also Australia’s highest of the summer, now at 172 compared to the 166 at the Gabba between Head and Labuschagne.
49th over: Australia 196-3 (Burns 93, Head 82) Just a slip as Burns faces Perera, once Head turns over the strike. A ring field of six with two on the leg-side boundary. Just wanting to deny him runs and make him nervous? They’ll have to bowl more accurately than any of the bowlers have so far today. It works for this over.
48th over: Australia 195-3 (Burns 93, Head 81) Double spin with de Silva continuing, so Joe Burns is quick to get the baggy green cap on. Smart move with a century in the offing: those celebration photos look so much better in the vintage headgear. He nearly runs himself out though, stuttering halfway down the wicket after responding to Head’s call, but a misfield means he makes it safely.
47th over: Australia 193-3 (Burns 92, Head 80) Perera returns from the Church End. Or the Shops End. Whatever you want to call it. Taking his time setting up his field, taking his time as the right and left handers change over. But when you bowl short as an off-spinner, all the fielder can do is take his time to collect the ball from the fence.
Those who are au fait with Canberra watering holes will appreciate this sentiment.