Twin tons give Aussies upper hand vs Sri Lanka
Steve Smith ended his century drought and Marnus Labuschagne struck his first Test hundred abroad to steer Australia to 298/5 on Day I of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Friday.
Prabath Jayasuriya, one of the three debutants fielded after five Covid-19 cases in the Sri Lanka camp, claimed three wickets either side of the tea break but Australia appeared on course for a massive first innings total.
Smith was batting on 109 not out at stumps, his first century after a gap of 16 innings, which included 14 fours. Alex Carey was batting on 16 at the other end with Australia pressing for a 2-0 series sweep.
Before Friday’s twin centuries, Darren Lehmann in 2004 had been the last Australian batsman to score a hundred in Galle.
Earlier electing to bat, Australia lost David Warner (5) cheaply after the opener had his off-stump pegged back by an angling Kasun Rajitha delivery.
Usman Khawaja combined with Labuschagne in a 55-run stand to help Australia overcome the early loss.
Ramesh Mendis bowled Khawaja for 37 but suffered agony when he lured Labuschagne, then on 28, out of the crease but wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella could not collect the ball and effect a stumping.
On another occasion, the off-spinner induced a bottom-edge from Labuschagne which sneaked through Dickwella’s legs and raced to the boundary.
By the time Dickwella stumped Labuschagne off Jayasuriya, the batsman had notched up his first Test hundred on foreign soil, which included 12 fours.
The 134-run partnership between Labuschagne and Smith put Australia in a strong position but Jayasuriya struck again after the break.
The left-arm spinner bowled left-hander Travis Head for 12 and trapped all-rounder Cameron Green lbw for four.
Smith had little problems negotiating the turn and he brought up his hundred with a cover-driven boundary.
Jayasuriya, Kamindu Mendis and Maheesh Theekshana made their Test debuts for Sri Lanka, who made four changes to the squad who were beaten inside three days in the series opener also in Galle.