Left hander Phil Jaques wasted no time in getting into the boots of Justin Langer by scoring his maiden hundred to announce himself as the new Test Match opener for Australia. Australia riding on Jaques’ hundred ended at 242 for 3 on a curtailed first day’s play of the opening Test at the Gabba. Sri Lanka though have looked good because of Muttiah Muralitharan who has already started to trouble the Aussies.
Overnight rain and then intermittent showers saw 14 overs being lost in the day’s play. The first session was just of 11 overs after Sri Lanka won the toss and put the hosts to bat first. It was Test Match Debut for left arm quick Mitchell Johnson. The brief morning session was seen off by Hayden and Jaques without any trouble and in the afternoon, Hayden as usual stroked his way confidently. But a loose shot off Chaminda Vaas rather cut his innings to a score of 43 in an opening stand of 69. Sri Lanka after that were kept at bay by a busy innings from Skipper Ricky Ponting and with Jaques batting well, it was a big partnership on the cards. At Tea, Australia were laying a strong foundation at 161 for 1 in 46 overs.
In the final session, Sri Lanka made a comeback with Ricky Ponting done in flight by Murali and a brilliant stumping from Prasanna Jayawardene ended the 114-run stand. Ponting made 56 in 85 balls with 7 fours. Murali would have denies a century for Jaques but for a dropped chance at slip and the left hander soon got what he wanted with a boundary off Vaas in the 65th over. The hundred was short lived with Phil Jaques getting himself out in an ugly fashion, stepping down blindly to be beaten by a big turning offie. Jaques fell exactly for 100 which came in 203 balls with 14 fours. Australia then finished the day’s play with bad light forcing an early end. They would have lost Michael Hussey too but a sharp catch was put down at short mid wicket by Marvan Atapattu off a short ball from Farveez Maharoof. At stumps, Michael Hussey was at 28 which included a six off Murali and Michael Clarke got to 5. Muralitharan bowled 23 overs in the day and has started to look dangerous from the batsmen’s point of view.