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Bird takes four

Jackson Bird

Sydney: Australia’s four-pronged pace attack overcame spirited resistance from Lahiru Thirimanne and Mahela Jayawardene before dismissing Sri Lanka for 294 to bring an end to the opening day of the third Test on Thursday.

Both Thirimanne, who scored a career best 91 just three days after joining the squad as an emergency replacement, and Jayawardene, who hit 72 in his penultimate innings as captain, threatened to make a sunny day in Sydney their own.

Ultimately though, Australia captain Michael Clarke’s decision on winning the toss to send his pacemen out to bowl first was all but vindicated and the hosts will have finished the day confident they can wrap up the series 3-0.

Jackson Bird, the least experienced of the pace quartet, took 4-41, Mitchell Starc 3-71 and Peter Siddle grabbed a brace with spinner Nathan Lyon pitching in to end Thirimanne’s knock just shy of his maiden Test century.

“It’s nice to get a few wickets, it was hard work out there,” Bird, who brought an end to the Sri Lanka innings when he dismissed Suranga Lakmal for five, told reporters.

“Jayawardene batted well and Thirimanne batted well but I thought we stuck at it well and got the wickets at key moments.