Sri Lanka Australia Cricket

Australia 66-2 at stumps on day 1 replying Sri Lanka’s 117

PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka (AP) — Australia recovered from the loss of two early wickets to reach 66 for two when rain brought an early close to the opening day of the test series, cutting the first-innings deficit to 51 runs after dismissing Sri Lanka for a meagre 117.

Play did not get underway after the tea break Tuesday because of a persistent drizzle.

Opener David Warner was bowled by Nuwan Pradeep without scoring in the third over of Australia’s innings and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath bowled Joe Burns (3) with a straight delivery to reduce Australia to 7-2. Captain Steve Smith was batting on 28 and Usman Khawaja was on 25 after an unbroken 59-run stand.

Earlier Tuesday, paceman Josh Hazlewood (3-21) and offspinner Nathan Lyon (3-12) took three wickets each to skittle Sri Lanka less than seven overs into the second session of the first test.

Seamer Mitchell Starc (2-51) and left-arm orthodox spinner Steve O’Keefe (2-32) also contributed as ball dominated bat in the first opening sessions.

Dhananjaya de Silva, who got off the mark in his test debut with a six, top-scored for Sri Lanka with 24 from 38 balls.

After Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bat first Starc trapped opener Dimuth Karunaratne (5) lbw in the fifth over to start the batting collapse.

Hazlewood had No. 3 Kusal Mendis (8) out lbw and Kaushal Silva (4) caught by Adam Voges as Sri Lanka slipped to 19-3 and then returned to have Dinesh Chandimal (15) caught behind by Peter Nevill to end a 24-run stand with de Silva.

Left-arm spinner O’Keefe had Mathews (15) caught by Smith at slip and the hosts went to lunch at 84-5.

The innings ended less than seven overs after the interval, with Lyon striking twice in the over after lunch and doing most of the damage.

Sri Lanka handed test caps to de Silva and left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan as they went into the match with three specialist spinners. Herath and Dilruwan Perera are the other two spinners playing for Sri Lanka.

Nuwan Pradeep is the sole specialist seam bowler, with Mathews expected to back him up with short spells of seam because Suranga Lakmal was injured on eve of the match.

Sri Lanka has lost three frontline seamers in the recent months to injury, and another is banned by the International Cricket Council after his bowling action was found to be illegal.


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