On a surface where there is bounce and turn – even and well-paced – and ample ways in which wickets can fall, Alex Carey decided to unleash a reverse sweep in the air off Prabath Jayasuriya, more than half an hour into the second day’s play at the Galle International Stadium. The fielder stationed at third man had to move barely a few feet towards his left to take an easy catch and end the sixth wicket stand on 77.
Steve Smith, at the other end, wasn’t impressed by the shot selection and he made his feelings visible. It made Sri Lanka an entry into Australia’s lower order much easier than it seemed till that point. Jayasuriya, who had picked four wickets by then on debut, ripped through the lower order with a couple of more scalps soon after. Mitchell Starc got an outside edge to first slip while attempting to push at the delivery while Nathan Lyon was trapped legbefore while attempting to play a slider off the backfoot.
The left-arm spinner, who became only the seventh Sri Lankan bowler to bag a fifer on debut, kept probing the Australians with his subtle changes in release and pace, returning figures of 6 for 118. Kasun Rajitha too added to his tally by trapping Pat Cummins legbefore with an incoming delivery.
After having made a steady start on Saturday , the visitors were reduced from 329 for 5 to 345 for 9 in a space of 22 balls. Smith, who looked unflustered throughout the course of his innings, continued to march on and farmed strike with No 11 Mitchell Swepson. The duo kept Sri Lanka on the field for half an hour more through the course of their last-wicket stand of 19 runs before Swepson was trapped in front of the wicket by an incoming delivery from Maheesh Theekshana, handing the spinner his maiden Test wicket.
In response to Australia’s 364, the Sri Lankan openers saw through the last 10 minutes of the morning session safely, heading to Lunch on 8 for no loss.
Brief Scores: Australia 364 (Steve Smith 145*, Manus Labuschagne 104; Prabath Jayasuriya 6-118, Kasun Rajitha 2-70) lead Sri Lanka 8 for no loss by 356 runs
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