Lyon a likely threat on final day: Herath

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Sri Lanka will have to contend with turn in addition to variable bounce on the final day of the first Test in Hobart, after Rangana Herath credited a surface that was becoming increasingly conducive to spin for his five-wicket haul on day four. Herath’s 5 for 96 helped restrict Australia to 278 in the second innings, and was aided by a wearing, cracked surface that offered much more lateral movement for him than in the first innings.
Australia’s offspinner Nathan Lyon had already exploited the bowler’s footmarks when he bowled earlier in the Test, and dismissed Thilan Samaraweera with a topspinner that leapt off the turf. Lyon is set to have a high workload on day five, with Ben Hilfenhaus’ injury leaving Australia a bowler short, and Michael Clarke also unlikely to bowl his left-arm orthodox spin due to a hamstring strain.
Herath will now likely finish as the top wicket-taker in 2012, with 60 wickets and a Test to go. His five-wicket haul in Hobart was his seventh of the year in nine matches.
“I didn’t get a wicket in the first innings, but on a fourth day pitch I thought that there would be some assistance for the spinner, and there was some turn and bounce,” Herath said. “The ball does not spin as much as Sri Lanka, but if you maintain a good line and length, you can take wickets.
“Lyon will get turn and bounce as well – he always gets bounce because he is tall, and he will have the assistance of the surface as well.”
Several seasons of county cricket before he became a mainstay in Sri Lanka’s Test side also contributed to his performance in Hobart, he said.
“I used my experience of playing in England. When you get wickets on a pitch like this it’s always pleasing. The main thing is that it helped me to adapt to the situation and the pitch, and I managed to do that. That’s why I was successful.”
Herath said Sri Lanka had not ruled out victory, and backed Sri Lanka’s batsmen to see out the final day if a draw seemed the better option. Sri Lanka were set 393 for victory, but lost both openers in the 37 overs before stumps. They will begin at 65 for 2 on day five, with Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara at the crease, and 328 runs required for victory.