Herath, Sandakan spin Sri Lanka to massive victory
Sri Lanka 117 & 353 (Mendis 176) beat
Australia 203 & 161 (Smith 55) by 106 runs
First Test, day five, Pallekele
Lakshan Sandakan and Rangana Herath shared eight wickets between them as Australia were bowled out for 161 runs in their second innings, succumbing to a 106-run defeat on the fifth day of the first Test in Pallekele, giving Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
This victory was also Sri Lanka’s second win against Australia in the history of Test cricket while it was Steven Smith’s first defeat in the format as the captain of the Australian team.
The start of the day was once again delayed by an hour due to rain. When the game began, Smith (55) and Adam Voges (12) were quite diligent in their approach.
However, things turned when Voges chipped a return catch to Herath (5-54) in the 35th over. It had to be sent to the third umpire to rule out a bump ball.
Batting steadily at the other end, Smith completed his fifty with a well settled Mitchell Marsh (25) for company.
After a 43-run stand, Marsh was struck on the pads but the umpire turned down the appeal. Sri Lanka successfully had the decision overturned with a review.
Smith was given out caught behind in the next over but he successfully reviewed that decision and survived. However, the Australian captain was not very lucky in the next over as Herath trapped him in front once again. This time, Smith’s review went in vain.
At the stroke of lunch, Mitchell Starc (0) lobbed a return catch to Sandakan (3-49), as Australia went into the break with the score at 141 for seven.
The second session began with a Nathan Lyon (8) hitting a boundary but Sandakan had him out LBW in the 57th over.
In the next over, Peter Nevill (9) survived an LBW review. With Steve O’Keefe (4) unable to run due to his hamstring injury, he and Nevill dropped anchor and shifted to an ultra-defensive mode.
The pair shared a four-run stand but more importantly, they saw out 178 balls, thwarting the bowlers in the process. This was a record for the least number of runs scored in a partnership which lasted more than 100 balls.
In this stand, O’Keefe survived an LBW review and was also given not out when caught at short leg.
The blockathon finally ended when Dhananjaya de Silva (1-12) had Nevill caught behind in the 86th over. Two overs later, O’Keefe was castled by Herath as Australia were bowled out for 161 runs in 88.3 overs.
With this 106-run win, Sri Lanka took a 1-0 lead in the series. Kusal Mendis was the man of the match.
© Cricket World 2016