couldn`t have asked for a better start in their campaign to beat Australia
in the ongoing three match Test series between the countries as their spin bowlers shared six wickets between them to restrict the former World Champions to 273 runs after losing the toss in the first Test here at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.
Australia have had complete domination over Sri Lanka in the 21 Tests played between these countries with the visitors winning 13 games compared to Sri Lanka`s solitary win. However, with the Australians not the force they once were, the three match series has been seen as a good opportunity for Sri Lanka to settle old scores.
After a rain delayed start, Sri Lanka dismissed both the openers in the shortened morning session. Shane Watson had crashed four fours off the third over of the morning, prompting skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan to introduce the left-arm spin of Rangana Herath and he struck off his first delivery of the series when he got one to turn sharply with bounce to have Watson caught behind by the wicketkeeper.
Hughes was caught at first slip off Suranga Lakmal, who got one to bounce more than the left-hander expected. Lakmal bowled well all day along with good variation and finished with three for 55.
Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke the experienced duo of the Australian lineup had taken the third wicket stand to 55 runs before Herath struck dismissing both batsmen. Clarke was ruled leg before wicket after Dilshan successfully challenged umpire Richard Kettleborough`s decision to rule him not out while Ponting, who had played so well against the spinners couldn`t convert a start as he miss-hit one to be caught by Angelo Mathews at mid-off.
At 112 for four it didn`t look good for the Australians and in the last over before tea they lost Usman Khawaja, who was beautifully cleaned up through the gate by a full Welagedara delivery.
Michael Hussey then guided a fight back with the lower order making a fine 95. The left-hander nicknamed Mr. Cricket was scratchy to start off with and didn`t look confident against the spinners. Before opening the account, Hussey left one from Herath only to find out that it was inches close to the stumps.
His 177 ball 95 contained seven fours and three sixes with all three sixes coming off Randiv and he was last man dismissed.
Although Test caps were so hard earned in Australian cricket
not so long ago, it doesn`t look to be the case anymore as the tourists handed over the Baggy Green to paceman Trent Copeland and off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Before the start of play, the Test caps were awarded by former greats Doug Walters and Greg Chappell. While Walters is in Galle with a tour group, Chappell is part of the Australian management staff.
Sri Lanka as expected opted for Randiv and Herath as their spin bowling choices leaving out Ajantha Mendis, a decision the Australians said they were surprised with.