I might have to go out this weekend

I can’t see either of the New Year’s Tests going into a fifth day. Michael Clarke finally declared on 659-4 at the SCG after Michael Hussey raised his 150 (and Clarke was on 329) and at Newlands Sri Lanka collapsed to 239 all out and were unsurprisingly asked to follow on. They reached stumps on 138-4, still trailing by over 200. Rather surprisingly, this does mean that India are likely to last longer than Sri Lanka, though it’s close.

India actually played better on day three than day two, though they still didn’t get any wickets (for an entire session and a half) they did spend the morning trying to contain Australia and kept the run rate down below three an over. They still bowled Sehwag quite a bit, however, despite the fact that he was really only there to make up the numbers. He was at least tight enough to avoid bringing up his ton, although his figures of 23-1-0-75 mean that he conceded more runs today than he scored at the MCG (and more than he scored in both Tests against England combined). He did arguably bowl better than Yadav though, who took 0-123 in 24 overs. After lunch, India went back to looking as poor as they had the day before, however, and just waited for the declaration. India made it to stumps on 114-2, which is a decent platform given that they were bowled out for 191 the first time. Whilst Sehwag went cheaply, of course, Gambhir managed to stay not out overnight and has scored 68 so far. It’s a pretty good return for him at an important time. Dravid, unfortunately for India, was bowled through the gate again, this time for 29. Without Dravid it will take a very good batting display from the rest of the order to see them through to stumps, especially as Australia will likely be able to take the extra half hour.

Sri Lanka’s horror show of a Test match is much less likely to make it to a fifth day. After getting themselves into a pretty good position overnight, 149-2, they capitulated this morning and lost Sangakkara to the third ball of the day before the rest fell in a heap. Only the ‘keeper Chandimal offered any resistance and he was last out for 31 in a total of 239 all out. Following on, Sri Lanka’s hopes of getting off to a good start were dealt a blow by Dilshan going for just five, but they recovered well from that and were only one down at tea. Jacques Kallis, who had had a quiet test up to that point, struck in the final session, getting Thirimanne to edge behind and taking good catches off Tahir and Morkel. Sri Lanka now need Mathews and Samaraweeera, who scored 12 runs between them in the first innings, to hold out for at least a session tomorrow and for one of them of Chandimal to shepherd the tail if they are to stand any chance of even making South Africa bat again. I’d start making plans for Friday night and Saturday afternoon now.

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