Cricket 2 years ago

Sri Lanka score famous Test win over Aust

  • Sri Lanka score famous Test win over Aust

    Sri Lanka's successfully appeals for a Leg Before Wicket (LBW) decision against Australia's Nathan Lyon (2R) during the fifth and the final day of their opening Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on July 30, 2016. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Rain and bad light might have a say, but there's nothing bleak about Australia's mindset heading into a daunting day-five run-chase to win the first Test against Sri Lanka in Kandy.

Australia will resume on Saturday at 3-83, needing a further 185 runs for victory in the opening match of the three-Test series.

It will be an intriguing examination for Australia - who have only ever lost one Test to Sri Lanka in 26 matches - against the home side's three-pronged spin attack.

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Skipper Steve Smith, who is 26 not out and Adam Voges (nine not out) will likely have to extend their 20-run partnership past the 100 mark to give Australia a hope.

"The two that are at the crease now, they've got to put on a big partnership and everyone else just needs to chip in where they can," said Australia's batting coach Stuart Law.

Each of the first four days have been abbreviated due to showers or poor light, with only 40.4 overs bowled on Friday at Pallekele Stadium.

The forecast is for more of the same on the final day, but Law is adamant that Australia will press forward with victory first and foremost on their minds.

"We're still very confident - we want to play to win games of cricket," he said.

"We don't play to draw. So we're just waiting to see what (Saturday) brings weather-wise and then we can really have a crack at it."

Predictably, it was Sri Lanka's variety of spinners who did the damage on Friday afternoon after they set Australia a victory target of 268.

Rangana Herath, a left-arm finger spinner, Lakshan Sandakan, a left-arm wrist spinner and Dilruwan Perera, a right-arm offie, each took a wicket.

They will no doubt bowl the lion's share of the overs as Australia face up to their batting frailty in Asia.

Australia's poor record of chasing down sizeable fourth-innings totals on the subcontinent is stark - their only successful Test run chase above 200 in the region in 13 attempts was when they made 307 against Bangladesh in 2006 in Dhaka.

They should also take heart from Pakistan's victory at Pallekele last July when they made 3-382.

However, Law believes the pitch hasn't deteriorated significantly given the shortened days of play, so it isn't likely to misbehave like a typical day-five wicket.

"It's as hard as concrete," he said.

"It's very dry. Overnight these conditions do tend to get the moisture back up into the surface. So the first half-hour to an hour can be tricky but the wicket's dry enough now."

Stephen O'Keefe, who will fly back to Australia at the end of the Test after injuring his hamstring, is expected to bat if needed.

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