Australia stand tall in Pallekelle despite rain

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  • Sri Lanka vs Australia - 1st test match day 1

Australia dominated the rain-hit opening day’s play of their first Test match for the ‘Warne-Muralitharan’ trophy against Sri Lanka on Tuesday at Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium. 

After being 84 for 5 at lunch, Sri Lanka lost their last five wickets for 30 runs as the four-man Australian bowling attack prospered again. The Australian openers were sent back to the pavilion cheaply but the unbroken third-wicket stand between Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith helped the visitors reach 66 for 2 in 20 overs at tea.

No play was possible in the whole third session due to rain and the play was called off at around 4.15pm local time.

Earlier, Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bat first on a placid surface. The home team fielded two debutants, chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan and middle-order batsman Dhananjaya De Silva.

In the first session, Mitchell Starc started the Lankan batting mayhem when he trapped Dimuth Karunarathne plumb in front in the 5th over of the morning. The Lankan left-hander reviewed but it did not save him as the ball-tracker showed three reds.

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In the very next over, Hazelwood trapped one-drop batsman Kusal Mendis LBW for 8 with a good length delivery. Hazelwood struck once again in his 5th over as Kaushal Silva gave a low catch to Adam Voges at first slip.

Steve O’Keefe drew the Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews forward and managed to get a knick straight to first-slip Steve Smith for 15. Before the lunch break, Vice-Captain Dinesh Chandimal attempted a wild drive through the off-side but some late movement got the outside edge and was caught behind off Hazelwood.

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Debutant, Dhananjaya De Silva came down the track and lofted O’Keefe for a six to kick start his Test career and continued to cut & pull ferociously before he was undone by Lyon. The ball took the inside edge, hit the pad and lobbed straight to short-leg fielder.

Dilruwan Perera lasted only 2 deliveries before Lyon struck him right in front of the wicket and in the next Lyon over, Kusal Janith Perera left pretty much a straight delivery as the Australian off-spinner got back his wicket-taking groove.

Starc and O’Keefe cleaned up Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep respectively as Sri Lanka registered the lowest-ever Test score in Pallekelle, 117 all out in 34.1 overs.

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In reply to the modest Lankan score, David Warner dragged on onto his stumps for a duck  as Pradeep drew first blood. Soon afterwards, Joe Burns misread Herath straighter delivery, only to see his stumps shattered as Sri Lanka restricted the visitors to 9 for 2.

Usman Khawaja was dropped on 2 by Angelo Mathews but he partnered up pretty well with the World No.1 Test batsman, Steve Smith as they put up a stiff resistance adding unbroken 57 runs for the 3rd wicket.

Batsmen Dismissal Runs Balls
Dimuth Karunarathne LBW b Starc 5 12
Kaushal Silva c Voges b Hazelwood 4 25
Kusal Mendis LBW b Hazelwood 8 7
Dinesh Chandimal  c Nevill b Hazelwood 15 54
AD Mathews  c Smith b O’Keefe 15  24 
Dhananjaya De Silva  c Burns b Lyon  24  38
Kusal Janith Perera  b Lyon  20  15
Dilruwan Perera  LBW b Lyon
Rangana Herath  LBW b Starc  10
Lakshan Sandakan  Not Out  19  15
Nuwan Pradeep c Smith b O’Keefe   0
Extras (1) TOTAL  117 (34.2 overs)

Fall of wickets :1-6 (Karunaratne, 4.1 ov), 2-15 (Mendis, 5.3 ov), 3-18 (Silva, 9.1 ov), 4-43 (Mathews, 14.2 ov), 5-67 (Chandimal, 25.6 ov), 6-87 (de Silva, 28.2 ov), 7-87 (MDK Perera, 28.4 ov), 8-94 (MDKJ Perera, 30.2 ov), 9-100 (Herath, 31.6 ov), 10-117 (Pradeep, 34.2 ov)

Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Mitchell Starc  11 1 51 2
Josh Hazelwood 10 4 21 3
Steve O’Keefe 10.2 3 32 2
 Nathan Lyon   3 12
Batsmen Dismissal Runs Balls
Joe Burns b Herath 3 15
David Warner b Pradeep 0 5
Usman Khawaja Not Out 25 54
Steve Smith Not Out 28 46
Extras (10) TOTAL  66/2 (20 overs)

Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Warner, 2.2 ov), 2-7 (Burns, 3.6 ov)

Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Nuwan Pradeep  5 3 3 1
Rangana Herath  6 2 15 1
Dilruwan Perera 4 1 19 0
 Lakshan Sandakan  2 13 0
 Angelo Mathews  3 1 6