GALLE: Nathan Lyon’s five-for helped Australia bowl out Sri Lanka for 212, but the hosts responded with three wickets in the first Test on Wednesday. On a shifting surface at the scenic Galle Stadium, Sri Lankan spinner Ramesh Mendis struck twice, including David Warner’s important wicket for 25, to reduce the tourists to 98 for three at stumps. Steve Smith was run out on six following a mix-up with opener Usman Khawaja, who was undefeated on 47 at the time, and he retreated to the pavilion shaking his fists in dismay. With Australia behind by 114 runs in their first innings, Khawaja and fellow left-hander Travis Head were batting on six.
Mendis, an off-spinner, bowled Warner out for a duck after the left-handed opener blasted five boundaries in an aggressive stay at the wicket. Marnus Labuschagne was caught off a reverse sweep, but it was Smith’s wicket that enthralled the home audience. Khawaja turned him down for a quick single midway through the innings, and despite a frantic dive, he failed to make the crease. Khawaja fought until the end, surviving a missed stumping by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella. Earlier, Dickwella batted defiantly for 58 before the Sri Lankan innings collapsed in the third session following the hosts’ decision to bat first in the two-match series opener. Lyon, who took his 20th five-wicket haul in Tests, teamed up with fellow spinner Mitchell Johnson.
Sri Lanka reached lunch at 68-2 after fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc each claimed a wicket. The spinners quickly took control on a pitch that has typically aided slow bowlers. During his 59-ball stint at the crease, the left-handed Dickwella counter-attacked and put on vital partnerships, notably a 54-run stand with Mendis, who made 22, for the seventh wicket.