Cricket: Sri Lanka a handful

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The Independent Online
FOLLOWING their dramatic victory in the first Test, Australia might have been excused for thinking that their Sri Lankan hosts would have given up all hope of levelling the three-match series, writes Niall Edworthy.

But on the second day's play days in the second Test in Colombo it was Australia who revealed a lack of confidence as they were bowled out for 247 by the weakest attack in international cricket. In the two hours play that was possible they lost their last five wickets for just 70 runs. A typically dogged 55 by Greg Matthews prevented an outright collapse as Sri Lanka's seam attack exploited the decision of the groundsman to play the greener of two wickets.

Meanwhile, monsoons more familiar to a Sri Lankan climate turned the county championship into a nationwide game of forfeits. In what became the equivalent of a one-day game at Derby, Somerset lost by 121 runs as they crashed to 199 all out in spite of a sixth-wicket partnership of 120 between Rob Turner and Ken MacLeay. Dominic Cork took four wickets for 61 as Somerset were unable to recover from a disastrous start in which they lost five top order batsmen for just 59 runs.

At Darlington, Hampshire were within two wickets of near-certain victory over Durham before the rain intervened after an inspirational six-wicket haul from Kevin Shine. Rain also brought an end to a thrilling run chase at Edgbaston which left Warwickshire 63 runs short of their target.