Australia Fights Off Sri Lanka, Claim First Test

It came down to the wire, but Mitchell Starc waved goodbye to Sri Lanka.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Australia survived threatening rain and a running clock to close out victory at the first Test in Hobart Tuesday, their first win of the season.

Sri Lanka offered some strong resistance, but in the end Australia’s depleted pace attack got the job done.

The visitors went into tea 4-186, but crumbled in the last session. Siddle claimed the valuable wickets of Angelo Mathews (19) and Thilan Samaraweera (49) to provide hope of avoiding a draw before Mitchell Starc put the Sri Lankans in real danger by collecting the scalps of Prasanna Jayawardene (21, caught Michael Hussey) and Nuwan Kulasekara (9).

As the end of the day approached, Australia finished off the batting order just half an hour later after Kulasekara's dismissal. Starc was potent in collecting the final two Sri Lankan batsmen, Rangana Herath (8) and Shaminda Eranga (6).

Australia's 137 run win was actually more desperate than it seemed. Captain Michael Clarke opted to give wicket keep Matthew Wade his first over in Test cricket right before tea, giving the gloves briefly to Phil Hughes, and the youngster bowled well; he recorded a maiden over at a medium pace registering around 130km/h and gave the batters something to think about.

Day 5 wasn’t without its controversy; rain caused two game delays, Hobart produced another underwhelming crowd and visitors accused the Australians of ball tampering.

Sri Lankan officials accused two Australian players, one of whom was pace bowler Peter Siddle, of tampering with the ball during the first Test. The team officials are claiming they have footage of Siddle picking the ball’s seam during the 88th over on Sunday, although the visitors have not made an official complaint.

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Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.