Cricket 2 years ago

Sri Lanka spin web around Aussies in Kandy

  • Sri Lanka spin web around Aussies in Kandy

    Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis (R) plays a shot as Australian wicketkeeper Peter Nevill looks on during the third day of the opening Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on July 28, 2016. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Nathan Lyon is hoping he won't be required to add to his 200 Test wickets; in Kandy that is.

After Australia were in the driver's seat for the first two days of the first Test, Sri Lanka on Thursday mounted a huge fightback, turning an 80-run deficit into a lead of 196 runs in two-and-a-half sessions.

They had Kusal Mendis to thank, the 21-year-old belting 169 not out in the home side's 6-282.

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Local eyes will be on Mendis at Pallekele Stadium as he tries to not only stretch their advantage past 250 but attempts to break Kumar Sangakkara's record as the holder of the highest score by a Sri Lankan against Australia.

Sangakkara made 192 in Hobart in 2007.

Lyon, who made his debut in Sri Lanka in 2011, hit the milestone mark in the island nation when Dhananjaya de Silva spooned a catch to Usman Khawaja at mid-off.

It came a lot later than Australia would've expected after reducing the No.7-ranked Test team to 2-6 and after rolling them for just 117 in 34.2 overs in the first innings.

Lyon wants early wickets when Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood take the new ball that is due.

"We have missed our half chances," he said.

"It's been a tough day for the Australian bowlers but... (we) look forward to taking the new ball and, hopefully, taking some early wickets and then get batting."

Australia will face a tricky task against a skilful three-pronged spin attack given the tourists' only successful Test run-chase over 200 on the subcontinent was when they made 307 against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2006.

They may also take heart in Pakistan's victory at the same ground last July when they made 3-382.

"It's been proven today that if you have a simple batting plan there are no demons out there," said Lyon.

Lyon (2-98) got through 26 overs after Stephen O'Keefe injured his right hamstring midway through the second session and didn't return.

The right-armer was typically accurate and threatening while he snared the big wicket of skipper Angelo Mathews.

Mitchell Starc bowled at good pace and with a bit of reverse swing in taking 2-44 while Josh Hazlewood was steady.

Dilruwan Perera, who is five not out, will join Mendis on Friday morning when play starts early after bad light - not rain - forced the players from the field.

LYON BECAME FIRST AUSTRALIAN OFFSPINNER AND SIXTH IN TEST CRICKET TO TAKE 200 WICKETS: * Muthiah Muralidaran (Sri Lanka) - 800 * Harbhajan Singh (India) - 417 * Lance Gibbs (West Indies) - 309 * Graeme Swann (England) - 255 * Saqlain Mushtaq (Pakistan) - 208 * Nathan Lyon (Australia) - 200

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