Cameron Green helped Australia to a 101-point lead in the first test at Galle after a morning of chaos caused by torrential rain and wild winds.
Most important points:
- Cameron Green scored the highest score for Australia in their first innings, but the all-rounder didn’t make it into his first Test century
- Mendis also claimed Alex Carey for 45 to expose Australia’s tail
- Bad light stopped play with Australia 8-313 and led 101
Green’s 77 was the highlight of day two for Australia, before going to the stumps 8-313 in response to Sri Lanka’s 212 when poor light halted play.
It came after more than two hours of play were lost to a morning storm that caused the roof of a makeshift grandstand at Galle’s International Stadium to collapse.
Visors were also broken and a glass panel in a tent smashed, while wind gusts of more than 60 km/h ravaged the coastal city.
Fortunately, no one was injured and ground crews placed tires over blankets in an effort to keep them over the outfield and field.
When the game finally started, Green dealt the damage to the hosts.
The Western Australian was taken to the wicket after Travis Head went for 6 in the first over, using his long legs to his advantage to cancel out the spinners’ impact.
Three of his six limits came on the sweepshot, while also neatly riding through the covers in a knock that controlled the pace of the match.
It came when Australia’s efforts to go after Sri Lanka’s tweakers clearly paid off, with only Ramesh Mendis (4-107) having any sustained success.
The visitors scored in their first innings with a run rate of 4.53, with the hosts’ spinners sending down 61 overs without bowling a maiden.
In comparison, Australia’s run rate was 2.83 in 2016 when Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera dictated terms and spun them into a web.
Usman Khawaja had also made an obvious effort to upset the bowlers in his 71 on Thursday, as he passed 50 for the seventh time in his past 10 innings since his Test reminder.
After bringing the ship to a halt late on the first day, the opener continued to use his sweep backwards tactic to go after runs against the spinners.
He eventually became Jeffrey Vandersay’s first Test wicket, moving the leg spinner to the short leg.
Alex Carey hit a neat 45 while squared off the wicket, while a late power hit from Pat Cummins (26* from 16 balls) gave Australia the advantage.
A first-inning lead in Sri Lanka is usually crucial as teams from outside the subcontinent have won just once in the country after conceding a deficit.