Australia take control of 1st Test against Sri Lanka at Galle
All-rounder Cameron Green scored a brilliant 77 to help Australia take a first-innings lead of 101 runs on the second day of their first Test match being played at the Galle Stadium against Sri Lanka on Thursday.
Australia finished the day’s play at 313/8 in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 212, with Usman Khawaja scoring 71 and Alex Carey contributing with a healthy 45.
The visiting side has remained ahead in the contest throughout after they bundled Sri Lanka for a moderate first innings total of 212, with their spinners Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson sharing 8 wickets between them.
The veteran offspinner Nathan Lyon took a brilliant five-wicket haul to help Australia take command of the first Test, with the Sri Lankan batsmen faltering despite getting starts. The right-arm offspinner Nathan Lyon returned with splendid numbers of 25-2-90-5 where as legspinner Mitchell Swepson took 3/55 from his 13 overs. The Australian fast bowlers also contributed – Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins claimed one wicket each.
For Sri Lanka, their opening batsman Pathum Nissanka scored 23, captain Dimuth Karunaratne scored 28, experienced batsman Angelo Mathews contributed with 39 while their explosive wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella contributed with a splendid 59-ball 58, which was laced with six hits to the fence.
Sri Lanka were able to go past the 200-run mark in their first innings courtesy the half-century from Niroshan Dickwella with all the top order batsmen disappointing.
Australia had a shaky start towards the end of play on the first day when they reached 98/3 at stumps, losing their star batsman Steve Smith on an embarrassing run out for 6, Marnus Labuschagne falling for 13 whereas David Warner scored 25.
However, Usman Khawaja continued his magnificent run of form in Asian conditions, hitting 7 boundaries during his 130-ball vigil in which he got 71 runs.
On the second day, Australia were also struggling with the bat since Travis Head was dismissed for six and it looked like the visiting side would finish somewhere close to the total that Sri Lanka had got.
But the pair of Cameron Green and Alex Carey added 84 runs for the 6th wicket after the lanky all-rounder had put on 57 runs for the 5th wicket in the company of Usman Khawaja.
These two partnerships were instrumental in taking Australia past the 300-run mark and giving them a lead of 101 runs, something that they would want to extend as much as possible in order to try and inflict an innings defeat on the home side.