Niroshan Dickwella’s stunning counterattack holds Australia at bay at tea

Tea Sri Lanka 191 for six (Dickwella 51*, Mathews 39, Swepson 2-51, Lyon 2-80) vs Australia

A courageous and sensible counterattack from Niroshan Dickwella prevented Australia’s spinners Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson from working by means of Sri Lanka’s line-up in a rollicking second session on a deteriorating day one pitch in Galle.

Dickwella walked out to face a hat-trick ball with Sri Lanka teetering at 97 for five inside ten overs after lunch. However he determined assault was the very best type of defence, unfurling a raft of high-quality sweeps, reverse sweeps and slogs sweeps to succeed in an unbeaten half-century in simply 42 balls and put Australia’s spinners again underneath strain on a floor that was giving them plenty of help.

Sri Lanka scored 123 runs within the session for the lack of 4 wickets, however Dickwella and Ramesh Mendis‘ unbroken 52-run stand noticed Sri Lanka safely to tea at 191 for six after a horror interval post-lunch.

Lyon and Swepson earlier took three fast wickets because the ball start to spin sharply. Dimuth Karunaratne had battled by means of the morning session, surviving quite a lot of shut calls in opposition to Lyon, solely to be brilliantly caught by David Warner at second slip simply after lunch. A thick inside edge ballooned off his pad in entrance of sq. on the off facet, and Warner dived ahead at full stretch to pluck it in his left hand centimetres from the turf.

Swepson then produced two gems to double his Take a look at wicket tally. Having bowled 544 balls in Pakistan for simply two wickets, he produced two magical legbreaks in two balls to go away Sri Lanka rattled. The primary was at 87kph, drifting into center and leg, and spinning sharply throughout Dhananjaya de Silva as he groped ahead. It scratched the surface edge and was taken by wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

The subsequent ball was slower at 82kph, drifting into leg stump and spinning much more to catch a thicker edge off Dinesh Chandimal’s bat. It bounced off the surface of Carey’s gloves and ricocheted to Warner at second slip, who juggled it a number of instances as he rolled onto his again however ultimately clutched the ball to his arm with out it ever touching the bottom.

Angelo Mathews stood agency on the different finish, and allowed Dickwella to counterattack. He smashed 14 from one Lyon over and by no means confronted greater than 4 dots in a row. Mathews appeared set to proceed his excellent Take a look at kind along with his defence wanting essentially the most assured on the tough pitch.

However Lyon was capable of pressure a uncommon mistake with sharp flip and bounce. Mathews could not maintain it down as he glanced across the nook, as Warner held a 3rd very good catch at leg slip.

Earlier, Australia’s quicks Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc made the early breakthroughs in an attritional first session the place Sri Lanka scrapped to 68 for two in 27 overs after profitable a vital toss, because the ball spun sharply and exploded from the floor within the first hour in Galle.

Sri Lanka picked three specialist spinners previous to profitable the toss and batting first whereas Australia solely picked two, with Jeffrey Vandersay offered his first Take a look at cap. The choice by the hosts to load up on spin appeared vindicated within the sixth over of the day when Lyon was referred to as into the assault.

Lyon’s first ball drifted into center and leg, introduced up a puff of mud after pitching, spun sharply previous the sting and bounced so prodigiously that it hit Carey within the grill of his helmet earlier than he had an opportunity to get his gloves up. Steven Smith instantly gestured to Cummins to get a second slip in, as Carey needed to do a compulsory concussion take a look at regardless of having a wry smile on his face.

Lyon bowled unchanged from that time till lunch and triggered issues with out making a breakthrough. He was bowling by means of some discomfort, with the Australia group physio attending to him a number of instances through the session. It was the quicks who prospered on the different finish, as each Cummins and Starc obtained balls to blow up from a size to trigger doubt within the batters’ minds.

Pathum Nissanka, who performed properly for 23 together with a few pretty pull pictures, fell proper on the sting of drinks whereas attempting to pressure a ball sq. off the again foot, with Cummins’ further bounce catching his exterior edge. Kusal Mendis then nicked off not lengthy after attempting to sq. drive a large half volley from Starc that tailed away from him.

However Sri Lanka can be delighted with profitable the toss given the best way the floor has behaved throughout the primary two classes. Solely three groups have misplaced in Galle of the 20 which have gained the toss and batted first. Sri Lanka suffered two of these losses against England in Galle final yr.

Alex Malcolm is an Affiliate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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