2nd Test, Day 2: Karunaratne, Mendis lead Sri Lanka’s fightback against Australia


Brilliant knocks from Dimuth Karunaratne (86) and Kusal Mendis (84 not out) led Sri Lanka’s fightback on Day 2 of the second Test after Prabath Jayasuriya’s brilliant spell (6/118) helped them bowl out Australia for 364 at the Galle International Stadium, here on Saturday.

Karunaratne and Mendis stitched a partnership of 152-run stand for the second wicket for Sri Lanka, who were 184/2, trailing Australia by 180 runs at stumps on Day 2.

Resuming day two at 298/5, Australia were in a commanding position but the Sri Lankan bowlers, especially debutant Prabath Jayasuriya had other plans. Wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey was the first one to be dismissed on Day 2, falling for 28, trying to attempt an audacious reverse-sweep against Jayasuriya.

Jayasuriya clinched his five-wicket haul, with Mitchell Starc edging one to first slip for 1. Skipper Pat Cummins too couldn’t last long, with Kasun Rajitha trapping him lbw for 5. Jayasuriya’s debut Test became all the more memorable as he got his sixth by scalping Lyon for 5.

Sri Lanka’s valiant fightback got completed when Mitchell Swepson fell for 3 against Maheesh Theekshana, with Australia being bowled out for 364. Steve Smith was left stranded at the other end, remaining unbeaten on 145.

In reply, Pathum Nissanka’s struggles against pace continued as he was dismissed by Mitchell Starc on 6, going for a flashy poke.

However, skipper Karunaratne and Mendis embarked on a brilliant stand, with the Australian bowlers looking largely hapless against the patient approach of the pair. Both the players brought up their half-centuries, as the Australians grew desperate to break the stand.

With the day approaching its final phase and the total crossing 160, the visitors were now in desperate need of a breakthrough and the solid stand between Karunaratne and Mendis was finally broken by Mitchell Swepson.

The Sri Lankan captain was beaten for pace and trapped plumb in front of the stumps by the leg-spinner. Karunaratne reviewed the call but to no avail, walking back for a well-made 86. The wicket gave Australia some relief before the close of play. Mendis and Angelo Mathews (6 not out) ensured that the hosts did not lose any more wickets.

Brief scores: Australia 364 (Steve Smith 145 not out, Manus Labuschagne 104; Prabath Jayasuriya 6-118, Kasun Rajitha 2-70) lead Sri Lanka 184/2 (Dimuth Karunaratne 86, Kusal Mendis 84 not out) by 180 runs



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