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Sri Lanka in upset of the century?

The Australian mens' side toured Sri Lanka in January 2002. Ultimately the Australians took a squad of only 9 players (out of an originally selected 12) . . . and paid the price.

  • Full descriptions of the tour games and goings-on, provided by Steve Hart (who maintains the Canberra Rockets website) are reproduced below. Many thanks to Steve (yet again). Through some strategically placed contacts, Steve always manages to provide extremely interesting insights into touring Australian sides, many of which he publishes on his Canberra Rockets' website (see above). The Australian Indoor Cricket Federation site has scores of all the games, but no reports or other details.
  • An opinion-piece has been submitted, describing the tour as a debacle, and can be found on our Soapbox page HERE

The Sri Lankan tour, upsets and all . . .

Steve Hart kept all those on his extensive mailing-list updated on the Sri Lankan tour. With his permission, here are those email updates as received: they paint a very interesting picture -

Subject: Aussie Men lose overnight
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 08:59:11 +1100
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 22 Jan 2002 21:59:12.0648 (UTC) FILETIME=[06B8D880:01C1A390]

Overnight the Australian Extreme men lost the first test to Sri Lanka 88 - 91.

Batting first the Aussies started quite strong. Brent Raverty and Scott Johnson scoring 26, followed by Bill Floros and Adam Hall (go Rockets!) who scored 35. 61 after two pairs looking good. The third pair of Nathan Rennie and Daniel Maclauchlan scored 16 or 17 with the final pair of Aaron Mills and Troy Gurski scoring the rest.

The Sri Lankan pairs scored consistently and it came down to the last ball. Aaron Mills bowling, Sri Lanka on 84 needing 5 to win and ZACK, Sri Lanka creates history winning by 3.

The players are all suffering in the heat and humidity. Bobby Gray and Rod Chilcott also picking up some bug. Hopefully the Aussies will bounce back and can win the remaining two tests to salvage the series.

Steve Hart
ACTICF President
Visit the home page of the Canberra Rockets
PS These details were gained at 1:30AM this morning so if I am slightly out in the details I apologise - check the AICF site to get further info?

Subject: Ross Gregory to make playing debut for Australia!!
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 08:38:04 +1100
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 23 Jan 2002 21:38:09.0334 (UTC) FILETIME=[40242D60:01C1A456]

Apologies to those getting this a second time:-)
No details of whether Australia beat Sri Lanka A overnight, but the job of winning the second test and the series has become more difficult. In a batting accident in the game against Sri Lanka A, Nathan Rennie and Daniel Maclauchlan had a sickening head clash resulting in bad concussion for Daniel and a possible fractured skull for Nathan.

If the injuries are as serious as suspected neither player will be playing in todays 2nd test leaving the Aussies to choose fom Ross Gregory, Rod Chilcott or Ross Collins. My money is on Ross Gregory, unless of course they try and call up ex Victorian player Craig Slocombe who is coaching the Sri Lankans!!

Details were supplied by SMS from Bill Floros overnight, I have not yet been able to contact the team for further word and confirmation. I will endeavour to let people know of more developments as I know them.

Steve Hart
ACTICF President
Visit the home page of the Canberra Rockets

Subject: More dramas in SL
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 01:23:23 +1100
Mime-Version: 1.0
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X-OriginalArrivalTime: 24 Jan 2002 14:23:29.0547 (UTC) FILETIME=[B1CA3DB0:01C1A4E2]

The game against Sri Lanka A in which Daniel and Nathan got injured was called off at the time of the injury - 10th over or so in the second innings the Aussies already leading.

Nathan Rennie received a hairline fracture in his skull and Daniel was knocked out clean when the boys had a horrible mix up trying to steal a second run and collided. Both guys are apparently now feeling OK, but will need specialist OK's before playing again and maybe before flying home. They were forced to stay at the hotel and didn't travel with the team to the centre for the second test in a precautionary move.

In the 2nd Test which started at 9:30 Thursday Evening AEDST Sri Lanka batted first, finishing with approx 43 - only made respectable by some last pair heroics, the same pair that won the first test for the Sri Lankans again scoring 30+.

The Australian chase started well with Scott Johnson and Brent Raverty scoring approx 26. This bought Bill Floros and Ross Gregory to the crease, Ross succumbing to an injury (I don't think it was too serious in the end;-> )after just a ball or two. The Sri Lankans picked Scott Johnson to bat again, probably taking advantage of the fact he had just finished and in the heat and humidity it would have been like running a marathon. He and Bill failed to find a good combination and only put on approx 10. Adam and Bobby Gray went in third and had a couple of interesting third umpire decisions, but recovered back to be approx 10 behind with about 6 overs left. Then came the dramas.

A huge storm hit, causing blackouts and chaos in the centre. All lights went out and the game was suspended. A decision was made at approx 7:30 SL time (approx 12:30 AEDST) to finish play for the evening and resume at 11:00AM local time friday morning with about 6 overs to go and the Aussies batting needing approx 10 runs to win. With Adam and Bobby in who by all accounts have been batting quite well and Aaron and Troy finishing after a nights break and feeling refreshed the guys are confident of winning the game setting the scene for a tense third and deciding test - hopefully with either Nathan or Daniel cleared to play.

Let you all know more as I get any news.

Subject: Ross Gregory Player of Match
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 17:41:28 +1100
Mime-Version: 1.0
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X-OriginalArrivalTime: 25 Jan 2002 06:41:33.0214 (UTC) FILETIME=[53FB33E0:01C1A56B]

Well not quite (Ross Gregory being the Player of the Match), but he did do alright, from what I have been told. Match bowling figures of 4 for negative 8 - Victoria have called him up for Nationals, and it will be hard to keep him out of the side for the third test!!!

In the second stanza of last nights rain delayed match the Aussies confortably won finishing with a sore of 73.

Everything is now set up for the final test which will decide the series starting at 3:30 Sri Lanka Time tomorrow (8:30 AEDST). Still no word on whether Daniel or Nathan have been cleared to play, they go back to the specialist later today. Let you all know more as I get any news.

Steve Hart
ACTICF President
Visit the home page of the Canberra Rockets

Australia in a must win game to ensure the first series loss since approx 1992/3 v NZ was buoyed by the clearance of Nathan Rennie and Daniel Maclauchlan to play. Both these players were rushed into the side at the expense of Ross Gregory and Bill Floros - Ross in particular unlucky after his sterling efforts in the second test.

The Aussies arrived at the centre nice and early to ensure no disruptions to their preparation - in the end they were far too early. As the published game time approached the Sri Lankans were nowhere to be seen. Tournament Match Referee Ross Collins attempting to find out what was going on was told that "oh no, the game isn't due to start until 4PM (over an hour later than was expected), everybody was told!" This left the Aussies sitting in a hot humid environment much longer than anticipated. Could this have been some form of one-up-manship following Ross Gregory's "injury" in the second test? (although I am not suggesting that Ross had anything less than a life threatening injury - it just seemed to happen at a rather fortunate time)

Once the game started it became clear from very early on that the Sri Lankans would not be creating any headlines in the game and would have to settle for a single win in the series - this in itself a huge accomplishment and something that none of the sports other 3 members of the "big 4" had been able to do in nearly ten years.

Batting first the Australians scored 116 and then restricted the Sri Lankans to 63. Player of the series honors went to test debutant Adam Hall from the Canberra Rockets, an excellent recovery after not hitting the courts for any of the tests on the NZ tour.

Personally, I also think some mention should be made of the efforts of Ross Gregory. Taking a side with limited/no preparation into an unknown, hostile environment without three of the best performed players on the last tour (including the undisputed worlds best player Dion Muir) and salvaging a series win is commendable.

One thing that this tour (and the NZ tour and the 2000 World Cup before that) has highlighted is that Australia can longer expect to just turn up and win - even if that was truly the case in the past. We have had some scares in the past 12 to 24 months, will we learn from the or write them off as aberrations, remaining complacent until we lose a series - or a knock out game at World Cup? For Australia to remain the number 1 nation we must ensure our preparations are better and work harder at making our players and coaches more innovative and forward thinking.

Steve Hart

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