Nathan Lyon’s five-run chase helped Australia bundle out Sri Lanka for 212, before the hosts bounced back with three wickets in a fast-paced opening Test on Wednesday. Sri Lankan spinner Ramesh Mendis scored 98 for three at stumps twice on a turning pitch at the picturesque Galle Stadium, including the crucial 25-run wicket of David Warner. Steve Smith was run out for six with opener Usman Khawaja making an unbeaten 47 and waving his hand in despair and returned to the pavilion.
Watch: Steve Smith furious after being run out
Khawaja and fellow left-hander Travis Head, batting on six, were still trailing by 114 runs in their first innings.
Warner was dismissed lbw by Mendis, an off-spinner, when the left-handed opener hit five boundaries in an aggressive stay on the wicket.
Marnus Labuschagne was dismissed in a reverse sweep attempt, but it was Smith’s wicket that kept the home visitors alive. The former captain was dismissed midway for a quick single by Khawaja and failed to make the crease despite a desperate dive.
Khawaja, who was saved by a missed stumping by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, continued the fight till the end of the game.
Earlier, Dickwella scored 58 runs before the Sri Lankan innings turned in the third session following the hosts’ decision to bat first at the start of the two-match series.
Lyon, who took his 20th five-wicket haul in Tests, together with fellow spinner Mitchell Swepson, a leg-spinner who took three wickets, shattered the opposition batting.
Fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc took a wicket each as Sri Lanka made lunch at 68-2. The spinners soon took over on a pitch that was traditionally known to assist slow bowlers.
Left-armer Dickwella counter-attacked while at the crease in 59 balls and stitched important partnerships for the seventh wicket, including a 54-run stand with Mendis, who scored 22 runs.
Dickwella reached his half-century in 42 balls in the second session but Lyon eventually dismissed him, sending Mendis back after tea as well.
Lyon got their fifth wicket as Lasith Embuldeniya and Swepson, who was on a hat-trick rejected by Dickwella, ended the innings after 59 overs.
Angelo Mathews also contributed to the Sri Lankan total with 39 and stood with Dickwella in the 42-run stand broken by Lyon.
Sri Lanka are bowling with four spinners and one fast bowler in Asitha Fernando. Debutant leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay bowled three overs.
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The island nation, which won the one-day international series 3-2 against Australia, is grappling with an unprecedented economic crisis, with people across the country struggling to pay for food, fuel and other necessities.
with AFP input
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