Usman Khawaja (71) and Cameron Green (77) scored half-centuries to put Australia in a commanding position against Sri Lanka on the rain-truncated second day of the first Test of the two-match series, at Galle International Stadium, here on Thursday.
Australia were 313-8, leading Sri Lanka by 101 runs at stumps on Day 2 with Pat Cummins (26) and Nathan Lyon (8) unbeaten at the crease.
The first session of play was washed out due to rain. The extremely windy conditions in Galle further delayed proceedings as the players spent the first session of play on day two in the dressing room.
It wasn’t until 1345 hrs local time that play was possible. Despite the pitch staying covered for most parts, there was huge spin on offer from the get-go. Travis Head’s decision to play against the spin backfired as Dhananjaya de Silva completed a brilliant return catch to dismiss the southpaw.
Usman Khawaja’s dream run with the bat continued as he notched up yet another fifty. The spin and bounce on the surface continued to trouble the batters but Khawaja and Cameron Green found a way to keep the scoreboard ticking with occasional boundaries.
Khawaja looked set for a big score before he became Jeffrey Vandersay’s first Test wicket. Once again, Sri Lanka showed great catching — this time Pathum Nissanka completed a great catch close in at short leg.
With the pitch doing all sorts of things, Alex Carey came out and decided to fight fire with fire. The wicketkeeper-batter took the attack to the bowlers and quickly knocked off the deficit to put Australia in the lead. Green and Carey took Australia safely to tea with a lead of 21 runs.
Coming out to bat in the final session in the 40s, only one of them managed to score a half-century. Green hit a four to get to his milestone in style but Carey (45) failed to do so as he was out to yet another stunning catch, this time from Dinesh Chandimal while running backwards.
Green and Mitchell Starc added 37 crucial runs for the seventh wicket before both of them were back in the hut in the space of four balls. Skipper Pat Cummins came out and landed some lusty blows including one maximum that went outside the stadium. However, that six was the last bit of action on day two as bad light forced umpires to call stumps early.
Brief scores: Australia 313-8 (Cameron Green 77, Usman Khawaja 71; Ramesh Mendis 4-107) lead Sri Lanka 212 (Niroshan Dickwella 58, Angelo Mathews 39; Nathan Lyon 5-90, Mitchell Swepson 3-55) by 101 runs