Australia spins out Sri Lanka to win 1st test by 10 wickets
GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka collapsed in stunning fashion as Australia won their first test before lunch on the third day by 10 wickets at Galle Stadium on Friday.
Australia started the day still batting in its first innings. Resuming on 313-8, Australia was all out for 321 and a lead of 109.
In its second bat, Sri Lanka made only 113 in 23 overs, its shortest all-out innings in test history.
Australia was left with five runs to win, and David Warner scored 10 to finish the match after four more balls.
After its first win in Sri Lanka after batting second, Australia leads the series 1-0. The second and last test starts on July 8 at the same ground.
Australia spinners Nathan Lyon, Travis Head — who didn’t bowl in the first innings — and Mitchell Swepson took all 10 wickets in Sri Lanka’s second innings. That’s the first time Australian spinners have claimed all 10 in a test innings since 2017, and only the second time in 28 years.
The 18 wickets for the spinners is the most by Australians in a test in Asia, and the most since 1989.
Lyon’s 5-90 in the first innings and 4-31 in the second gave him 436 in his career and 10th place on the all-time wicket-takers list. Lyon has overtaken New Zealand’s Richard Hadlee (431), Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath (433) and India’s Kapil Dev (434) during the test.
“Nathan Lyon showed his class, he looked unplayable out there, and built off the back of a really good batting day,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said. “When you’re bowling. you want things to happen quickly like that.”
The chaos wasn’t apparent when the first over from fast bowler Mitchell Starc was plundered for 17 runs by Sri Lanka openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka.
But Lyon ended the stand at 37 having Karunaratne caught behind on 23 — the best individual score — and legspinner Swepson trapped Nissanka on 14 at 39-2.
Kusal Mendis top-edged a sweep of Lyon to Swepson at square leg and Oshada Fernando, who replaced Angelo Mathews, who tested positive for COVID-19, edged Swepson to Steve Smith at slip to leave Sri Lanka 63-4.
Head, a part-time offspinner, took two wickets in his first over to rush Sri Lanka’s demise.
He bowled Dinesh Chandimal for 13 with a sharp-turning delivery, and two balls later trapped Dhananjaya de Silva on 11.
Lyon took two more wickets and Head finished the innings with the last two. Head took four wickets in the space of 17 deliveries to return 4-10. He had not taken a wicket in 26 previous tests.
Cameron Green ended up player of the match for his match-high 77 on a difficult pitch. Cummins praised Green, saying he learned the art of playing on a turning track quickly even though he was batting on that kind of a pitch for the first time.
Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood said his spinners were second best to Australia’s.
“Our spinners failed to put pressure on the opposition. We failed to push them,” Silverwood said. “We found their spinners put pressure on us and made life difficult.”
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