‘Good Test wicket’ awaits Aussies, SL

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Australia and Sri Lanka clash in the second cricket Test in Pallekele from Thursday, relieved they will not be playing on a dustbowl like the one in Galle. The controversial dry wicket in the first Test last week was described as “poor” by match referee Chris Broad and the International Cricket Council sought an explanation from Sri Lankan authorities. Australia won the match by 125 runs as 40 wickets fell in four days — 16 on the second day itself — with 273 being the highest total in the Test. Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and his Australian counterpart Michael Clarke, who had both criticised the Galle wicket, said the one at the Pallekele International Stadium looked a much better surface. “It’s a good Test wicket,” said Dilshan. “Batting will be a lot easier and it could turn on the fourth and fifth days.” Clarke, hoping to put his first Test series as Australia’s captain beyond Sri Lanka’s reach, also seemed happy with the pitch on offer. “It’s a lot drier than it was yesterday, but I am sure it will play much better than the one at Galle,” said Clarke. “The wicket is compact, it is hard. It is very important to put up big scores whether you bat first or second. I also think spin will play a big part as the game progresses.”