CAMERON Green (77) and Alex Carey (45) stitched a vital partnership of 84 while Pat Cummins remained unbeaten on a quickfire 26 as Australia found themselves in pole position at close of play on day 2 of the Galle Test versus Sri Lanka at 313 for 8, ahead by 101 runs.
Green and Carey resumed on 48 and 43 respectively after the tea break, but the latter couldn’t last for long as he lofted one to the fielder stationed at mid-off. Green and Mitchell Starc then strung together a useful stand of 37 before the former was dismissed LBW while attempting a sweep off Mendis. The all-rounder took the review but couldn’t overturn it, with the ball projected to hit leg-stump. In fact, Green was intent on employing the sweep through the course of his innings. On occasions, he had a scare or two but the all-rounder persisted with the stroke and collected a few boundaries.
Starc followed Green back to the hut, spooning a catch back to the bowler, Jeffrey Vandersay. Cummins then pushed Australia past 300 by tonking three sixes and a boundary off Vandersay. The sweep and a couple of slogs have been the highlights of his innings so far. At the fag end of the day’s play, the umpires decided that the light wasn’t good enough to continue and called off play. For the home side, Mendis and Vandersay have shared six spoils. But Lasith Embuldeniya has endured a tough time, giving away 73 runs off 15 overs. The left-arm spinner’s tendency to bowl too full hasn’t helped his cause.
Earlier, Usman Khawaja (71) and Travis Head had resumed Australia’s innings after the first session was washed out. However, Australia had an early setback when Head eked out a leading back to Dhananjaya de Silva. Despite losing Head early, Australia continued to play with freedom. Khawaja, who reached his fifty with a single off Dhananjaya, cracked the sweep off Ramesh Mendis to get himself into the groove.
Meanwhile, once Green gauged the conditions, he kept the scorecard moving with mostly a diet of singles. With Sri Lanka in need of a wicket, Vandersay bagged his maiden Test scalp when he induced Khawaja to edge one towards forward short leg where Pathum Nissanka pouched a sharp catch. Carey, who joined hands with Green, then took the mantle of being the aggressor, cracking sweeps, reverse sweeps and the drive to put the pressure back on Sri Lanka.
Going into day 3, Sri Lanka have an uphill task on their hands on a track that is offering more than enough turn. They have to first wrap up the Australian innings quickly and then erase the deficit without losing the cream of their batting line-up. (Cricbuzz)
SRI LANKA 1st innings
Pathum Nissanka c Alex Carey b Pat Cummins 23
Dimuth Karunaratne c David Warner b Nathan Lyon 28
Kusal Mendis c Alex Carey b Mitchell Starc 3
Angelo Mathews c David Warner b Nathan Lyon 39
Dhananjaya de Silva c lex Carey b Mitchell Swepson 14
Dinesh Chandimal c David Warner b Mitchell Swepson 0
Niroshan Dickwella c Alex Carey b Nathan Lyon 58
Ramesh Mendis lbw Nathan Lyon 22
Jeffrey Vandersay c Mitchell Starc b Mitchell Swepson 6
Lasith Embuldeniya c Usman Khawaja b Nathan Lyon 6
Asitha Fernando not out 2
Extras: (b-5, lb-6) 11
Total: (all out, 59.0 overs) 212
Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-42, 3-74, 4-97, 5-97, 6-139, 7-193, 8-198, 9-206.
Bowling: Mitchell Starc 9-0-31-1, Pat Cummins 12-4-25-1, Nathan Lyon 25-2-90-5, Mitchell Swepson 13-0-55-3.
AUSTRALIA 1st innings
Usman Khawaja c Pathum Nissanka b Jeffrey Vandersay 71
David Warner lbw Ramesh Mendis 25
Marnus Labuschagne c Asitha Fernando b Ramesh Mendis 13
Steven Smith run-out Niroshan Dickwella 6
Travis Head c & b Dhananjaya de Silva 6
Cameron Green lbw Ramesh Mendis 77
Alex Carey c Dinesh Chandimal b Ramesh Mendis 45
Mitchell Starc c & b Jeffrey Vandersay 10
Pat Cummins not out 26
Nathan Lyon not out 8
Extras: (lb-20, lb-3, nb -1, w-2) 26
Total: (69.0 overs) 313-8
Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-75, 3-83, 4-100, 5-157, 6-241, 7-278, 8-278.
Bowling: Asitha Fernando 8-1-34–0 (w-2), Dhananjaya de Silva 5-0-8-1, Lasith Embuldeniya 15-0-73-0 (nb-1), Ramesh Mendis 31- 0-107-4, Jeffrey Vandersay 10- 0-68-2.