Trent Copeland

Australian Test & NSW SpeedBlitz Blues Cricketer

The SSC ground, and the end of my first Test Match tour.

Who would’ve thought a month ago I could’ve said I will play the tour match, take 5 wickets, make my debut in Galle and play all three tests? I can tell you… Not me! Surely not anyone! But boy has it been amazing, I am so thankful and have a serious hunger to make sure I get more opportunities in the near future.

Kim has arrived and it has been so good to see her and relax with her over dinner and by the pool in our down time. The restaurants at the hotel, in particular the seafood, and the shopping at ODEL and Gem stores got a workout and we loved every minute.

After some heavy rain overnight on the first day we arrived back in Colombo, the humidity must surely have been 100000000000 percent and training was intense as always. With Ricky arriving back in time to play this test, and unfortunately Ryan Harris succumbing to a hamstring niggle, there were some selections that were going to be line ball.

It is most definitely necessary to highlight Ryan Harris’ efforts in the first two tests, spearheading our attack and making life difficult with new and old ball for the Sri Lankans. We hope that Rhino will be fit and firing in time for South Africa tour in November. It was our job as a bowling group to step up in his absence and get the job done in this game to secure the series.

So the changes were Khawaja out, Ponting in. Shaun Marsh holding his spot after a remarkable debut. Tough one for Uz who is a great mate of mine and will no doubt get his chance again very soon. Class player. The other change was Peter “Diddy” Siddle in for Ryan Harris.

Batting first we reached 316 all out early on the second morning of play, thanks largely to that man again… Mike Hussey. It’s not all about batting Huss, but in this series it’s been pretty close to it!! Huss was the man of the match (for the 3rd time in the series) with scores of 112 and 94. Taking out the Man of the Series award also. Absolutely genius this man is to watch up close how he prepares is a great example for any young cricketers. Working hard at your game and hitting lots of balls in challenging situations pays dividends.

Sids has been training his beeeeehind off and made the most of his opportunity, taking 4/91 in our mammoth first innings bowling effort of 174 overs (Let’s not mention the fact we took a THIRD new ball!). Mitch, ‘Gaz’ Lyon and Watto bowled extremely well at different stages!

I was quite happy with my performance on a flat, slow wicket ending up with two wickets – which could have been a few more. Lets not mention the DRS at this stage.

The big thing I have learnt in this series with the help of Craig McDermott has been how crucial length is, being able to hit that ‘in-between’ length where batters don’t know whether to commit forward or back. Margin for error with the likes of Dilshan, Jayawardene and Sangakkara is minute!  Regardless of what pace you bowl, if you can control and manipulate this length successfully it makes things difficult for batsman.

The second innings for us was one of great things happen when under pressure. Phil Hughes has received some slack of late and for him to come out and produce a century on the 5th day in the sub-continent, an innings of aggression and statement to the cricketing world was incredible for him personally and crucial for us as a team controlling the match.

The other stand-out was our skipper Michael Clarke. When batting on 16 or 17 not out the big screen flashed the amount of innings and matches since his last Test match century. I thought to myself that could work one of two ways. One, he could let it get to him and affect the way he plays. Or two, which was the undoubted approach he took, was to take the bull by the horns and back himself and his game. A great innings, his 15th Test century and no where near his last.

One interesting fact I learned this test match, was that it was Kumar Sangakkara’s 100th Test Match – an amazing achievement – but what was more astonishing was when he strode out to bat amongst the incredible noise, the big screen showed his scores breakdown. The man in 100 tests has made how many ducks? I guessed 30 when asked by Michael Clarke in the slips. The answer… FOUR! In all of those test innings, only dismissed for four ducks. Astonishing. And a challenge I’d like to take on next time I get the chance.

The match ended in a draw and so the series was ours! Amazing feeling to have beaten Sri Lanka in their home conditions in my first test tour. To have contributed some runs, wickets, catches and a run out has been incredible!

So it’s now time to head to the airport, say our goodbyes to the Cinnamon Grand hotel, Chitral our Liaison officer and to all the boys heading off to India for the Champions League T20 starting this week. Donning the suit and talking to family and friends around the pool bar prior to leaving, a wonderful journey is finished. Let’s hope there’s plenty more around the corner…

Stay tuned for some updates on Grade cricket, NSW Blues training and the start of the Sheffield Shield Season.

Signing off from Sri Lanka,

Copes

Posted 526 weeks ago