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Sri Lanka battles back after Starc five-for

Warner falls off last ball of day one as Australia replies to host’s 281 with 54 for 2

Sri Lanka battles back after Starc five-for - Cricket News
Mitchell Starc took his 100th Test wicket as he returned 5 for 44,

Mitchell Starc, Australia’s pace spearhead, bagged a five-wicket haul to help bowl Sri Lanka out for 281 on the first day of the second Test in Galle on Thursday (August 4).

Starc, who took his 100th Test wicket when he dismissed the in-form Kusal Mendis for 86, finished with figures of 5 for 44, keeping the visitor well in the hunt for a series-levelling win. It was the fifth time Starc had taken five or more wickets in a Test innings.

Australia reached 54 for 2 in reply at stumps, rocked by the dismissal off what turned out to be the last ball of the day of David Warner. Warner had bludgeoned his way to a 41-ball 42 when Dilruwan Perera found the outside edge of his bat with a sharp off-break, and Angelo Mathews held a low catch at slip. Warner and Usman Khawaja had put on 54 for the second wicket after Joe Burns had fallen to the second ball of the innings, caught on the pull off Vishwa Fernando, the debutant paceman.

Sri Lanka elected to bat first on a bright sunny morning, but lost early wickets before Mendis, whose maiden Test century in Pallekele helped script a famous win, once again came to the fore. He put on 108 runs with Kusal Perera for the third wicket, but their departure after lunch left the side in some trouble.

Nathan Lyon got the first wicket of the afternoon session after sending Perera (49) trudging back to the pavilion, caught at slip with a ball that turned and bounced sharply. Starc then denied Mendis his second consecutive ton after getting the batsman caught behind for his 100th Test wicket in his 27th match.

However, Mathews scored a 65-ball 54 to ensure Sri Lanka stayed on course for a decent total. Mathews came to the crease with a positive mindset as he used the reverse-sweep to good effect against Lyon’s off-spin. His stay was laced with three fours and as many sixes.

Dhananjaya de Silva, playing just his second Test, supported the skipper well, scoring a 63-ball 37 before being trapped in front by Jon Holland to give the debutant left-arm spinner his maiden wicket.

Earlier in the day, Mendis entertained a lively home crowd with ten fours and two sixes at the Galle International Stadium, with good support from Perera at the other end.

The host lost two quick wickets with Starc snaring Dimuth Karunaratne with the first ball of the match. Karunaratne tried to put away a juicy half-volley from the left-arm pacer, but failed to keep the ball down as it headed straight to Burns at mid-wicket.

Starc struck again in his third over, with Kaushal Silva edging a widish delivery that was safely caught by Peter Nevill behind the stumps as Sri Lanka slumped to 9 for 2.

Click here to view the full scorecard

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