Seriously, what the hell was that? Sri Lanka managed to make a fairly placid MCG pitch look like an absolute minefield, jumping around all over the place and showing a complete inability to handle the short stuff. This was an Asian cricket team away from home at its absolute worst. Even the touring Indian team of twelve months ago didn’t manage to look as inept as this Sri Lankan outfit managed here. And we honestly can’t think of a statement more damning than that.
Australia would have learnt little from this Test, other than that Jackson Bird is a ready made Test match bowler. Michael Clarke can score centuries, Shane Watson can’t, and is made out of glass to boot. Mitchell Johnson is at his best when he is not forced to bowl to any sort of plan other than to bowl as fast as he can and hurt people, and Nathan Lyon cannot take the wicket of any batsman higher than number eight in the order. Everyone knew all that already, so unlike the first Test, where Australia were actually challenged at times, this was just a dull procession to a massive victory that ultimately will do nobody much good.
The only real question the hosts now need to answer is how they will face the Sydney Test. Or at least it was, until the selectors announced the squad before the Sri Lankan corpses from this Test were even cold, effectively spoiling days of conjecture over whether Steve Smith was poised to make his heroic return to Test cricket. Sadly, no. The man called up is Glen Maxwell, who is pretty much the new Cameron White. Maxwell gets the gig because Watson needs another body part replaced and the only other ‘decent’ spinner in the land, Jon Holland, is dead. Or injured. It’s hard to keep up when there have been so many cricket related fatalities of late.
Usman Khawaja is on standby for Clarke again, raising the wonderful possibility that David Warner could be named captain in Clarke’s absence.
Oh dear. Our best advice to Sri Lanka at this point would be to just go home now, and damn the consequences. With Kumar Sangakkara, Prasana Jayawardene, and Chanaka Welegedara all in desperate need of new body parts, the Sri Lankans will be scrapping the barrel in the next Test. As for this Test, they’d be best served by just writing it off and forgetting about it. After their fighting performance in Hobart, they were never in the game here. Their batting on the first morning was utterly insane, devoid of any semblance of coherency or even competency The fear after their narrow loss in the first Test was that they would fold here. Those fears were justified, and then some.
At the very least the SCG should suit Rangana Herath more than this deck did, so the way forward for Sri Lanka might be to pack their team with part time spinners and just hope for the best. At the least, it’ll give Australia a taste of what to expect in India. Beyond that there is really very little to say. Nobody performed well for Sri Lanka here. Herath toiled without reward, Shaminda Eranga bowled fast but without any of the venom or control that the Aussie quicks displayed, and the standard of fielding wasn’t bad, a few missed chances aside.
This next Test will perhaps give Angelo Mathews a sharp introduction into how to manage a complete fiasco. With the direction Sri Lankan cricket is headed, it’s experience that could become quite handy in the near future.
There’s not a hell of a lot more to say really. Cricket Australia would be happy that this next Test falls during a period when the SCG is undergoing heavy reconstruction, as there wouldn’t be a chance in hell of the upcoming Test attracting bumper crowds in any case. Sri Lanka would be best served spending the break between Tests getting some more calcium into them to help with that brittle bone problem they have developed, and the coaches should probably crank the bowling machine up to maximum and point it at the batsman’s head in the nets. It probably won’t be very effective, but it would at least inject some sorely needed humour into what has otherwise been a dire tour thus far.
For Australia, it doesn’t really matter what they do. Pen a few chapters of upcoming biographies, sign some memorabilia for Channel Nine, sneak some beef stock into Peter Siddle’s fruit slushies. It’s all good.