Karunaratne, Thirimanne survive as Sri Lanka face monumental task to save the game
Sri Lanka finished day 3 of the 2nd Test against Australia at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on 17/0, still 499 runs behind after being set a target of 516 to win.
The day began with the good news that Dimuth Karunaratne would be able to bat again for Sri Lanka and the Lankan overnight pair of Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya De Silva started well, surviving nearly an hour of play on day 3. However, Perera was hit flush on the helmet in the 53rd over, by a delivery from Jhye Richardson. The Aussies had been bowling some quick, short stuff at the Lankans and this time, Perera ducked right into the ball as it cannoned into his helmet. He seemed okay to carry on but looked very ill in the next over, forcing yet another ‘retired hurt’ in the innings.
He was replaced by Karunaratne at the crease and the left hander, who had retired hurt last evening on 46, quickly went to his 22nd Test half century with a lovely square drive to the boundary. Both he and De Silva looked comfortable in the middle but Starc wasn’t done with them yet. The big quick, who was hitting the 147-149kmph mark regularly, got De Silva pulling a ball that got big on him. The right-hander missed the ball, but the swing of his bat carried it towards the stumps, dislodging one bail.
Similar to yesterday, the injury to a settled batsman worked in favor of Australia as Starc then had Karunaratne driving on the up to offer a simple catch to gully. Chamika Karunaratne didn’t last long either, bat-padding a catch to Starc at leg slip off Lyon.
Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera played some shots but the former was caught lbw in the last over before lunch by Marnus Labuschagne; a contentious decision as Ultra-edge and Hot spot seemed to indicate that the ball may have brushed the glove before hitting his pad.
Sri Lanka returned after the break looking to cut off as much of the deficit as they could, but Starc had Dilruwan Perera with his first ball after lunch and then brought one in from around the wicket to rattle Vishwa Fernando’s timber as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 215.
Kusal Perera did not come out to bat in the 1st innings and with Australia not deciding to enforce the follow on, despite leading by 319, he did not take the field either – sitting out the rest of the day.
2nd test Day 2 Report: Karunaratne stretchered off – Sri Lanka lose 3 in a hurry
The Sri Lankan bowlers started well once again, reducing Australia to 37/3, but could not make any further inroads as Usman Khawaja, who had been struggling for form all summer made a century, putting on 159 for the 4th wicket alongside Travis Head.
Kasun Rajitha picked up Marcus Harris and Marnus Labuschagne while Fernando took care of 1st innings centurion Burns.
Australia declared their innings with just over half an hour left in the day’s play, hoping for a few late wickets, but Sri Lankan openers Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne survived the hosts’ onslaught until bad light brought an end to the day’s play.