x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Rain denies Clarke first win as captain

Michael Clarke was in a diplomatic mood after rain denied him the chance to secure a first series win as Australia captain in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara plays a shot during the fourth day's play of the second test cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka in Pallekele , Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara plays a shot during the fourth day's play of the second test cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka in Pallekele , Sri Lanka.

PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka // Michael Clarke was in a diplomatic mood after rain denied him the chance to secure a first series win as Australia captain in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

Australia dominated the match after bowling out Sri Lanka for 174 on the opening day, but the weather prevented them from forcing home their advantage.

Despite the fact that Australia had retained hope of a series-clinching win midway through Monday's final day when they had exposed the Sri Lanka tail with the hosts just 80 runs ahead.

But again the rain returned to force the players off and leave Australia 1-0 ahead heading to the third and final Test, which starts in Colombo on Friday.

"It was disappointing in regards to the weather throughout the five days," Clarke said. "I think we lost over a day due to the weather and 100-odd overs.

"I was really happy with the way we performed today with the second new ball, [and] we bowled in really good areas. It's disappointing though because we wanted to win every Test, and the rain has prevented us from doing that.

"But we're 1-0 ahead and we will aim to make it 2-0 in Colombo. We should be flying high with confidence, and hopefully there's no rain for the third Test."

Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, also believed his team can head into the third Test with some confidence after a rearguard performance with the bat, defying Australia's bowlers for 114.3 overs in making 317 for six .

"Definitely this is a very good batting performance," he said. "After three innings we batted from the first Test to now, this is a very good performance for all the batsmen to get their confidence, and we are carried forward by it to the last Test. This is a good sign for us as a batting group."

Elsewhere, four members of India's World Cup-winning side have been included in the ICC's one-day international team of the year. Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni and Zaheer Khan made the line-up, chosen by a panel chaired by the former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd.

Sri Lanka are represented by batsmen Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, while South Africa (AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn) also have two players in the team.