Cricket 2 years ago

Aussies in a spin in Kandy in 1st Test

  • Aussies in a spin in Kandy in 1st Test

    Australia's captain Steven Smith (L) plays a shot as Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal look on during the first day of their opening Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on July 26, 2016. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Australia are keen to avoid as many demons as possible on a wearing Kandy wicket by building a big first-innings lead on day two of the first Test against Sri Lanka.

The pitch was certainly lively when the three-Test series started on Tuesday, 12 wickets falling in just two sessions before rain intervened at tea and ended the play early.

Winning the toss and choosing to bat, Sri Lanka were skittled for just 117 in just 34.2 overs, the tiny total was their fourth-lowest against Australia.

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In reply, Australia were 2-66 at stumps after stuttering early when openers David Warner and Joe Burns departed within the first four overs.

The wickets were shared around given there was just enough swing and seam movement for the quick bowlers while for the spinners some gripped in the tacky wicket, some skidded on and a few even kept low.

As tough as it was for batsmen on the first day, it's likely to only get harder to score runs given the forecast rain and humidity at Pallekele Stadium.

Australia will therefore be aiming to capitalise on their day-one dominance by piling on the runs on Wednesday, especially as skipper Steve Smith (28 not out) and Usman Khawaja (25 not out) have built some momentum with a 59-run partnership - easily the best of the match so far.

A sizeable first-innings lead is vital if Australia don't want to be chasing many batting last on the unpredictable pitch.

"It's going to be quite hard work (for the batsmen) the longer the game goes," said Australian fast bowlwer Josh Hazlewood, who took 3-21.

"And the spinners are obviously going to come into it a lot more.

They've obviously got some quality spinners so first-innings runs are going to be very crucial for us."

Australia will be set on emulating what their compatriots did in 2011 at Pallekele when they ripped through Sri Lanka for 174 and then thanks to tons from Shaun Marsh (141) and Mike Hussey (142), made 411 to build a huge lead.

On that occasion rain helped the home side salvage a draw, but nonetheless Australia will be eager to avoid chasing a big fourth-innings victory target.

"The wicket was a little bit tacky," said Hazlewood.

"The spikes were going in quite easily. I don't think it spun too much.

It was just inconsistent and that did the damage.

"A couple did shoot through (low) for a day-one wicket so that's going to be interesting the longer the game goes."

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