Cricket 2 years ago

Mendis the man for Sri Lanka in Kandy

  • Mendis the man for Sri Lanka in Kandy

    Australia's cricketer Mitchell Starc (C) celebrates with teammates after he dismissed Sri Lanka's cricketer Kusal Perera during the second day of the opening Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on July 27, 2016. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Australia will aim to make some early inroads into Sri Lanka's batting line-up on day three of the first Test well before the almost inevitable rain arrives in Kandy.

The home side will resume on Thursday at 1-6 in their second innings, still trailing the tourists by 80 runs.

After being thoroughly outplayed on the opening day, Sri Lanka fought back strongly thanks mainly to their left-arm spin pair Rangana Herath and debutant Lakshan Sandakan who each took four wickets on a tricky batting strip.

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The third session on both days were abandoned due to persistent rain at Pallekele Stadium, and the forecast is for more showers in the afternoon.

Wickets have been tumbling too, with 21 falling over the four sessions so far.

Adam Voges, who top-scored with 47 in Australia's total of 203 after Sri Lanka made just 117, hopes that trend continues when Sri Lanka resume on a pitch he described as having inconsistent spin and bounce.

"Yeah we've got a good lead and we've got one second-innings wicket," he said.

"And no one's mastered this wicket with the bat yet so (Thursday) morning is going to be a very crucial session."

While the pitch was playing a few tricks, Australia - following a longer-than-usual tour preparation to get accustomed to the local conditions - were unable to cope with Sri Lanka's canny spinners.

It was a case of old and new getting the job done - 38-year-old 71-Test left-arm finger spinner Herath bagging 4-49 while Sandakan, a 25-year-old left-arm chinaman on debut, took 4-58.

Voges had his heart in his mouth when he survived an lbw review first ball but patiently chipped away in a 115-ball stay.

He found Sandakan's variations hard to pick - especially his wrong'un - given Australia didn't know much about him.

"We had a little bit of footage leading in as we did with a couple of the guys who were potentially making their debuts in this game," said Voges.

"It might have been a local Twenty20 game and there wasn't much of it.

So we weren't going in completely blind but... there wasn't a lot for us to have a look at prior."

Australia won't want to be faced with a daunting victory target in the fourth innings to win, so they'll be intent on repeating something similar with the ball to day one when they blasted out Sri Lanka in 34.2 overs.

Sri Lanka got off to a terrible start in their second dig, Mitchell Starc trapping the promoted Kusal Perera lbw for four just before rain forced the players from the field.

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