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Seven-star Herath sets up Sri Lankan sweep

Chasing 324 for consolation win, Australia crumbles to 160 all out to suffer a third successive defeat

Seven-star Herath sets up Sri Lankan sweep - Cricket News
Ranagana Herath finished with 28 wickets in the three-match series.
Rangana Herath, the veteran left-arm spinner, took 7 for 64 as Sri Lanka completed a dominant 163-run win over Australia in the third and final Test on Wednesday (August 17), knocking Steve Smith’s men off the top of the ICC Test rankings chart after a 3-0 clean sweep.

Australia was set a target of 324 for a consolation win on the final day at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club after Sri Lanka declared its second innings closed at 347 for 8, but crumbled after a bright start to be bowled out before tea for 160. Dilruwan Perera, the off-spinner, picked up two wickets while Moises Henriques was run out as Sri Lanka’s spinners continued to maintain their stranglehold over the Australian batsmen.

It was the third successive time that the Australians had lost all three Tests in a series in Asia, following a 4-0 loss to India in 2013 and a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates the following year.

David Warner and Shaun Marsh, the openers, got Australia off to a brisk beginning in the morning session, but once their partnership was broken, the visitor suffered a rapid collapse.

Perera struck just before lunch to send Marsh, who scored a century in the first innings, back to the pavilion for 23, with the score on 77.

Herath soon took over from his fellow spinner to dismiss Smith and Adam Voges, the senior batsman, in the same over. Smith was bowled off-stump trying to cut a ball too close to his body, while Voges was trapped plumb in front as Australia tottered at 102 for 3.

That became 114 for 4 when Warner, having brought up his first half-century of the series, became Perera’s second big scalp of the innings. Having hit six fours and a six in his 68, Warner was bowled behind his legs by a sharp off-break.

Herath, who had claimed six wickets in the first innings, then ran through the middle and lower order as the visitors' batsmen had no answer to his left-arm spin.

Herath, 38, took the final wicket of Nathan Lyon to trigger wild celebrations in the Sri Lankan camp.

Earlier Sri Lanka had resumed on 312 for 8 and continued its quest for quick runs through Dhananjaya de Silva, who went on to make an unbeaten 65.

Playing in just his third Test, de Silva smashed 10 boundaries during his 74-ball knock, after scoring a century in the first innings.

Kaushal Silva's gritty 115 on the fourth day, made with six stitches in his left hand, had played a big part in Sri Lanka registering its first series sweep against a major side since gaining Test status in 1981.

Sri Lanka was tottering at 26 for 5 on the first morning on winning the toss before centuries from Dinesh Chandimal and de Silva ensured it they reached a competitive 355.

Mitchell Starc, the pace spearhead who had done much of the damage on day one, remained the standout performer for Australia with his 24 wickets in the series including three five-wicket hauls.

Sri Lanka had only ever beaten Australia once before in a Test match, in 1999 in the series in which Herath made his debut, but won the first two matches of this series comfortably in Galle and Pallekele coming into the final game in Colombo.

The teams now play five One-Day Internationals with the first of those games on August 21, at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

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