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Thursday August 11, 2022

Lyon bags five in spin battle

By AFP
June 30, 2022

GALLE: Nathan Lyon’s five-for helped Australia bowl out Sri Lanka for 212, before the hosts hit back with three wickets in a fast-moving opening Test on Wednesday.

The tourists reached 98 for three at stumps after Sri Lankan spinner Ramesh Mendis struck twice, including David Warner’s key wicket for 25, on a turning pitch at the picturesque Galle stadium.

Steve Smith was run out on six after a mix up with opener Usman Khawaja, unbeaten on 47, and returned to the pavilion waving his hands in dismay.

Khawaja and fellow left-hander Travis Head, on six, were batting with Australia still trailing by 114 runs in their first innings.

Mendis, an off-spinner, trapped Warner lbw after the left-handed opener hit five boundaries in an attacking stay at the wicket.

Marnus Labuschagne was out to an attempted reverse sweep but it was Smith’s wicket that brought the home crowd alive. The former captain was turned down midway for a quick single by Khawaja and failed to make the crease despite a desperate dive.

Khawaja, who survived a missed stumping by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, kept up the fight till close of play.

Earlier, Dickwella made a defiant 58 before the Sri Lankan innings folded in the third session following the hosts’ decision to bat first at the start of the two-match series. Lyon, who bagged his 20th five-wicket haul in Tests, combined with fellow spinner Mitchell Swepson, a leg-spinner who took three wickets, to rattle the opposition batting.

Fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc struck early with a wicket each as Sri Lanka took lunch at 68-2. The spinners soon took charge on a pitch traditionally known to assist the slow bowlers.

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