Joe Burns and Travis Head had ensured Australia would not sink to a 136-year low as they broke Australia’s century drought during the second and final Test against Sri Lanka which was played in the new venue of Manuka Oval in Canberra. Burns and Head stitched a 308-run stand as Sri Lanka continued to suffer. After Burns was bowled for 180 by Kasun Rajitha and Head departed for 161 trapped LBW by pacer Vishwa Fernando, it was the turn of Kurtis Patterson to enter the centurions club and create a new record. Patterson became the third century maker in the innings as Australia declared on 534/5 immediately after the lunch break on day 2. However, Patterson and Head created a unique record for Australia during their knocks on Saturday.
Head and Patterson became the first Australian batsmen after 30 years to score their maiden centuries in the same match. The last time such a feat occurred for Australia was during the 1989 Ashes Test against England in Leeds. Mark Taylor (136) and Steve Waugh (177) hit centuries in the same match as Australia secured a 210-run win. Taylor hit 839 runs in the six Tests at an average of 83.9 while Steve Waugh hit 506 runs at an average of 126 as Australia won the series 4-0 and turned their fortunes around in grand style.
This is not the first time that both batsmen have scored their maiden tons in the same match. Prithvi Shaw and Ravindra Jadeja achieved a similar feat in 2018 during the Rajkot Test against West Indies. Shaw, the Mumbai batsman who led India to the U-19 World Cup title, blasted 134 on debut and Jadeja finally broke his century drought by smashing 100 as India thrashed the West Indies by an innings and 272 runs.
Patterson’s performances are a continuation of the consistency he has shown in the last couple of games, where he smashed 107* and 43 against Western Australia and 45 against South Australia playing for New South Wales. Earlier, Patterson had scored 167 in a New South Wales Premier Cricket Game. Before the Test series, Patterson slammed 157* and 102* in the warm-up game for Cricket Australia against Sri Lanka in Hobart in a match which did not have First-Class status but he made his debut in the Pink Ball Test in Brisbane where he hit 30.
The efforts of Patterson and Head along with Burns gives Australia some hope of a revival after a horrendous 2018 which saw Steve Smith and David Warner, their star batsmen, banned for a year due to the ball-tampering scandal while they lost a Test series against the Proteas in South Africa after 48 years. They lost the two-Test series in the UAE 1-0 while Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team became the first Asian side to win a Test series for the first time Down Under.