Debutant Lyon’s five wickets put Australia in control

GALLE, Sri Lanka, (Reuters) – Off spinner Nathan Lyon  dazzled on his international debut by capturing five wickets as  Australia bowled out Sri Lanka for a paltry 105 runs in their  first innings of the opening test yesterday.

Nathan Lyon

Australia were 115 for six wickets at the close of the  second day in their second innings with an overall lead of 283,  leaving the home team facing an uphill task to save the match  with three days still to go.

A limp batting performance by Tillakaratne Dilshan’s men,  with only four players scoring double figures, has left them  trailing on a Galle pitch that has historically favoured  spinners, especially in the last two days of a game.

In Australia’s second innings, improv-ed Sri Lankan bowlers  dismissed opener Shane Watson with the very first ball and Ricky  Ponting (4) in the fourth over.

Australian captain Michael Clarke held the innings together  and shared a 56-run third wicket partnership with Phillip Hughes  and 49 for the fourth wicket with Michael Hussey. He finally  succumbed on 60 to the spin of Rangana Herath.

Earlier in the day when Sri Lankan were batting, Lyon  enjoyed an unforgettable start to his test career when he  removed in-form Kumar Sangakkara off the first ball of his debut  over.

“I wouldn’t say it was a perfect ball, but I was happy at  the end,” a delighted Lyon told reporters.

The 23-year-old finished the innings with five for 34 to  record his best bowling performance in any form of cricket.

He dismissed the last four Sri Lankan batsman in just 12  balls for four runs to leave the home team in tatters.

Sri Lanka were never comfortable as the disciplined  Australian bowlers made it difficult for them to score runs.

Before Lyon’s heroics, all rounder Shane Watson bamboozled  Sri Lanka’s formidable middle order by trapping Thilan  Samaraweera (26), Prasanna Jayawardene (0), and opener Tharanga  Paranavitana (29), lbw within 10 balls.


As Sri Lanka slumped from a relatively comfortable position  of 87 for three to 88 for six, they never recovered from the  shock and their innings soon folded.

“It is disappointing. We have to learn from the  Australians,” Sri Lanka coach Rumesh Ratnayake told reporters.

“We are looking at options how best we can attack Nathan  Lyon. He bowled a good line and he insisted on that line and his  line and length were impeccable.

“Hopefully, we will have out them for less than 140 and have  our best shot going.”

In the second over of Sri Lanka’s innings, debutant paceman  Trent Copeland removed opener Dilshan (4) with the second ball  of his test career after the home captain had smashed a boundary  off his first.

Dilshan had been hoping to give 25-year-old Copeland a rude  introduction to the test arena with a show of aggression but  after his initial blast, the Sri Lankan gave up a smart catch to  Ricky Ponting at cover.

A subdued Sangakkara then batted for an hour to score 10  runs from 40 balls before being caught by Clarke with an  excellent low catch at slip off Lyon’s first ball in the 16th  over.

Mahela Jayawardene, who joined opener Tharanga Paranavitana  for the third wicket, tried to accelerate the pedestrian run  rate but was run out for 11 by Copeland as he attempted an  unnecessary single, leaving the hosts in trouble at 44-3.

Only Paranavitana resisted the Australian advance, facing  almost 20 overs alone, but scored only 29 runs.

The tourists beat Sri Lanka 3-2 in the one-dayers ahead of  the three-match test series.

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