Green, Khawaja put Australia ahead

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Usman Khawaja (71) and Cameron Green (77) made half centuries, as Australian batters used the sweep shot better than the Sri Lankans to finish the day on 313 for the loss of 8 wickets on day two of the first Test, continued here in Galle yesterday, to lead by 101 runs.

Play resumed only at 1.45 p.m. after a disastrous morning Australia were 98 for 3 in 25 overs overnight with Sri Lanka spinners looking to make inroads, but Khawaja and Green showed great resilience and swept their way out by counter attacking, before skipper Pat Cummins brought in some heavy artillery with three sixes towards the end of the day, one of which went out of the ground which eventually became stumps for the day at 5.40 p.m.  

Dhananjaya de Silva struck in the second over of the day to remove Travis Head with an excellent return catch, but then Cameron Green and Khawaja added 57 runs of 77 deliveries for the fifth wicket to make life easier for the visitors and laid the foundation to take them into the lead. 

Khawaja who resumed on 47 went on to make 71 off 130 deliveries with seven fours as he swept several deliveries successfully, especially attacking left arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who was taken for 73 runs in 15 overs. 

Jeffrey Vandersay provided the breakthrough in his first over of the day, taking his maiden Test wicket to remove Khawaja through an excellent catch at short leg by Pathum Nissanka.

Then Green and Alex Carey took Australia past Sri Lanka’s 212, as the pair kept attacking SL bowlers adding 84 runs for the 6th wicket in just 93 deliveries. Carey made 45 off just 47 deliveries with six fours. Ramesh Mendis provided the much-needed breakthrough when he looked to go over the infield and Dinesh Chandimal took a brilliant catch at mid-off running back.  

Green added 37 more to the tally with Mitchell Starc before being trapped lbw by Mendis as he made 77 off 109 with six fours, which put Australia in a commanding position.

The Match was delayed due to heavy wind and rain, which saw the destruction of some temporary stands in the ground, while side screens and camera stands were also damaged. However, day two proceedings resumed at 1.45 p.m. and play extended till 6.00 p.m. with 59 overs scheduled for the day, though only 44 overs were possible, during which time Australia added 215 runs to their overnight total.

Sri Lanka bowled just one maiden over in the inning, that too, by paceman Asitha Fernando, compared to 6 maidens in 59 overs by Australia.

Australia (1st Innings)

U. Khawaja c Nissanka b Vandersay                  71

D. Warner lbw R. Mendis                                     25

M. Labuschagne c Fernando b R. Mendis        13

S. Smith run out (Dickwella/Mendis)                                06

T. Head c & b de Silva                                          06

C. Green lbw R.Mendis                                      77

A. Carey c Chandimal b R.Mendis                     45

M. Starc  c & b Vandersay                                    10

P. Cummins not out                                            26

N. Lyon not out                                                    08

Extras  (b 20, lb 3, nb 1, w 2)                              26

Total (for 8 wickets in 69 overs)                         313

Fall of wickets: 1-47 (Warner, 9.1 ov), 2-75 (Labuschagne, 15.2 ov), 3-83 (Smith, 19.1 ov), 4-100 (Head, 26.1 ov), 5-157 (Khawaja, 38.6 ov), 6-241 (Carey, 54.3 ov), 7-278 (Green, 63.5 ov), 8-278 (Starc, 64.2 ov)

Bowling: Asitha Fernando 8-1-34-0 , Dhananjaya de Silva 5-0-8-1, Lasith Embuldeniya 15-0-73-0, Ramesh Mendis 31-0-107-4, Jeffrey Vandersay 10-0-68-2

By Anjana Kaluarachchi in Galle