O’Keefe, who came to bat with an injured hamstring, swept Sandakan for a boundary, but little did anyone realise at that stage that would be the last of Australia’s runs for the match.
Sri Lanka managed to curb the flow of runs by employing a smart field to Smith.
FOR a nation in the throes of a tricky transition since stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene walked off into the sunset, Kusal Mendis’ batting heroics against Australia yesterday will offer new hope to Sri Lanka. Their first win was also in Kandy but it was at the Asgiriya stadium. And yet, from the depths of seventh on the Test rankings they have found a way to overcome the No.1 team in the world.
Sri Lanka were dismissed for 117 in its first innings and Australia made 203. He had 4 victims in the first. But they couldn’t capitalise on the bowlers impressive show.
– Rangana Herath picked up his 24th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. So, when Herath had him out LBW two overs later, the match was effectively over before lunch on the fifth day.
– With 313 victims in 71 Tests, Herath is now the sixth highest-wicket taker among spinners.
15 – Number of LBWs in the Test at Pallekele.
However, things turned when Voges chipped a return catch to Herath (5-54) in the 35th over.
The tourists now face a desperate fight to stay in the three-Test series on what is expected to be a sharp-spinning wicket in the coastal city of Galle.
Chasing a challenging 268 for victory, Australia were bundled out for 161 before tea despite a solid resistance displayed by Peter Nevill and Steve O’Keefe.
The ninth-wicket partnership was the slowest-scoring Test partnership of all time too, picking up just four runs from 178 balls as they tried to hold on for a draw.
O’Keefe and Nevill resisted stoutly with one eye on the skies but could only delay the inevitable.
If rain or bad light were to halt or abandon play, it will take away from what could turn out to be a very gripping Test match. The previous highest was 176 deliveries faced by Adil Rashid and Mark Wood against Pakistan in Dubai a year ago. The lowest such total is South Africa’s 96 in Cape Town in 2011-12. Starc was the pick of the Australian bowlers, finishing the innings with figures of four for 84.
But it was Smith’s prized wicket that got the Lankan camp in a celebratory huddle as the left-arm spinner got the gritty batsman plumb in front of the wicket.
As hard as it was for the batsmen to play spinners on the fifth day track, it was a testing morning for the umpires too.