Suranga Lakmal picked up 5/75 to help Sri Lanka bowl out hosts Australia for 323 in their 1st innings, before Pat Cummins had Dimuth Karunaratne caught behind to leave Sri Lanka on 17/1, trailing by 162 runs at stumps on Day 2 of the 1st Test between the teams.
Lakmal was left to do much of the work in the 3rd session on his own, with both Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera going off the field. Lakmal bowled with control, moving the ball just enough to keep the Australian batsmen on their toes. He got things rolling in the 3rd session, Sri Lanka’s most successful session of the day, picking up both Travis Head and Aussie skipper Tim Paine off consecutive deliveries. Head was trapped right in front, while Paine nicked one behind where Kusal Mendis held on to another brilliant, diving catch – his 3rd of the innings.
Pat Cummins, one of Australia’s more successful batsmen of the last few months, struggled to get things going before Chameera finally picked him up for a 21-ball duck. Lakmal then came back to remove debutant Kurtis Patterson but a 26-run cameo by Mitchell Starc saw Australia’s lead past the 150-run mark.
Earlier in the day, Kumara and Lakmal bowled to begin proceedings, drying up the runs and accounted for the two overnight batsmen for just 18 runs in the 8 opening overs they bowled in tandem. Kumara in particular, was impressive, bowling with considerable pace and discipline. The quick bowled 9 overs in the opening session, going for just 19 runs, picking up opener Marcus Harris, who played a loose shot to point.
Despite the pressure built by Lakmal and Kumara, Labuschagne and Head battled on, absorbing it all and eventually brought up the 1st half-century partnership of the game, taking Australia into the lead. The batsmen grew in confidence as the 1st session drew to a close and built on that as the Sri Lankan bowlers began to tire in the Brisbane heat. Lakmal produced a chance early in the post-tea session but the nick off Head’s bat was spilled by Niroshan Dickwella behind the stumps.
It was the only real chance Sri Lanka got during the post-tea session, until part-timer Dhananjaya De Silva got Labuschagne to chip one to short mid-on a couple of overs before the Dinner break. The 166-run partnership between the right-hander and Head is the biggest for Australia since the Cape Town ball-tampering incident saw their two best batsmen, Steven Smith and David Warner, suspended.
Dismissing Australia at the back end of the day was bitter-sweet for the visitors as Sri Lanka then had to walk out under lights and try to survive 6 overs from Starc & co. Lahiru Thirimanne and Dimuth Karunaratne seemed to have things under control, until the latter feathered one behind to Paine off the last ball of the day, to give Australia exactly the kind of start they wanted.
Despite the reasonable performance with the ball, Sri Lanka’s poor batting display in the 1st innings sees them far behind in the game, trailing by 162 runs at stumps on day 2.