Australia's Test series in Sri Lanka has concluded and the Aussies have won their first series since defeating New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Trophy in March 2010, after defeating the Sri Lankans 1-0 in the 3-Test series. For Australia, there were more highs than lows with a few young stars establishing themselves in the Australian side, whilst a few more experienced stars have regained form ahead of the Australian summer.
1st Test Match – Australia 273 & 210 defeated Sri Lanka 105 & 253
2nd Test Match – Australia 7/411(dec) drew with Sri Lanka 174 & 6/317
3rd Test Match – Australia 316 & 488 drew with Sri Lanka 473 & 0/7
Phil Hughes – Saved his career in the 3rd Test after a brilliant second-innings 126 when the game was slipping away from Australia. In total, Hughes scored 202 runs at 40.40 during the series and sealed his spot in the side for a while yet. Still, Hughes needs to find some consistency if he is to remain a long-term prospect at the top of the Australian line-up.
Shane Watson – A poor series with the bat, arguably his worst ever. In total, Watson scored just 87 runs at 17.60 and failed to pass 36 in 5 attempts. However, as with all great all-rounders, when one aspect of their game isn't firing, the other usually is… This was the case with Watson who took 7 wickets at 20.57 and was crucial in Australia's dominance of the Sri Lankan batsman.
Shaun Marsh – Arguably the find of the series for Australia, having produced 240 runs at 80.00. Marsh’s only failure was in the final innings when he was dismissed for 18, despite not making contact with the ball.
Ricky Ponting – A disrupted series given he missed the 2nd Test in order to be home with his family, Ponting scored 124 runs at 31.00 and failed to register a half-century. Despite this, Ponting got a start more often than not and a big score isn’t too far away.
Michael Clarke – What looked like being a solid series where many starts were left unconverted, Clarke produced a cracking last innings of 112 to finish with solid figures of 214 runs at 42.80. In addition to this, Clarke’s fielding was supreme, taking 5 catches for the series and his aggressive leadership proved to be highly successful. Any doubts about his ability to captain the side are now gone.
Michael Hussey – Mr Cricket is well and truly back… Arguably better than ever! It’s hard to imagine that just 18 months ago, this man was being written off by almost everyone in the cricketing world. Hussey scored a record 463 runs at 92.60 in the Test series and his appetite for runs will have future Australian opponents terrified. In addition to this, Hussey took 2 wickets at 3.50 for the series, proving to be a lethal change-bowler.
Usman Khawaja – The talented young batsman scored 60 runs at 30.00 in his 3 innings, however lost his place in the pecking order to Shaun Marsh during the series. With time on his side though, Khawaja will get another chance soon enough and there’s no doubt he’ll make the most of it.
Brad Haddin – Is time up for the Australian wicket-keeper? Haddin scored just 90 runs at 18.00 during the 3-Test series and at times, looked more nervous than a debutant. His hitting, at times, was as clean as ever and all that’s needed is a big score to put his mind, and the public’s, at ease. Haddin’s keeping on the other hand was outstanding during the series, taking 10 catches and rarely making an error.
Mitchell Johnson – A poor series for Australia’s leading bowler of the last few years, taking just 6 wickets at 52.16. In addition to this, Johnson’s explosive batting power wasn’t seen and he scored just 34 runs at 6.80. Although safe for now, Johnson needs to regain his wicket-taking form before Australia’s long list of fast bowlers overtakes him… For good.
Peter Siddle – Came into the 3rd Test with a point to prove after being kept out by Ryan Harris and Trent Copeland… And boy did he succeed! The angry Victorian took 4 wickets at 22.75 for the match and probably pushed himself above Copeland for the South African series which next awaits the Aussies.
Trent Copeland – A solid debut series for the young New South Welshman, however it may not be enough to secure his spot in the starting line-up against South Africa. 6 wickets at 37.83 probably doesn’t do Copeland justice, however cricket is, afterall, a statistics game.
Ryan Harris – The big South Australian roared back into the Australian side in the 1st and 2nd Tests, taking 11 wickets at 14.54 before succumbing to a hamstring injury late in the series. At times, Harris was impossible to play and when fit, will march straight back into the line-up, probably at the expense of Trent Copeland. Injury-free, a big summer awaits!
Nathan Lyon – 8 wickets at 36.87 in his debut series, against a Sri Lankan batting line-up which is comfortable against spin, is a solid result and will be enough to keep him in the line-up against South Africa. However, Australia is still searching for someone to fill Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill’s shoes, so Lyon needs to lower that average sooner rather than later.
Despite the series scoreline reading 1-0, had the matches not been interrupted by rain and poor light, it's more than likely that Australia would have gone on to win 3-0. In the 2nd Test, Sri Lanka had a lead of 80 runs with just 4 wickets in hand, a target which Australia would have chased down. Then in the 3rd Test, Sri Lanka needed a further 324 runs, which would have been a tough fourth-innings chase on a deteriorating wicket.
Overall, the tour was a huge success as Australia won both the ODI and Test series' and lifted the spirits of both the Australian players and Australian cricket fans. A 2-Test series in South Africa awaits in September/October, before a 2-Test series against New Zealand in Australia in December. To finish off the summer, Australia hosts India in a 4-Test series during December/January 2012.