After a 90-run opening partnership between Dimuth Karunaratne (46 retd hurt) and Lahiru Thirimanne (41) gave a strong foundation to the Lankans for a big score, the visitors couldn’t capitalize on it. Skipper Dinesh Chandimal (15) and Kusal Mendis (6) didn’t trouble the scorers much and fell cheaply to put Lanka in a spot of bother.
Starting the day at 384/4, hosts Australia continued from where they had left on day one. Middle-order batsman Kurtis Patterson brought up his maiden ton only in his second Test and scored an unbeaten 114 to break the back of Lankan bowling attack. His innings included 14 fours and a six.
The 25-year-old Patterson also strung two crucial partnerships of 68 with Joe Burns (180) and 130 with skipper Tim Paine (45) to take Australia to a mammoth first innings total.
Unfortunately for the Lanka bowlers, the toil didn’t seem to end even after Kasun Rajitha got Burns dismissed early in the day. The batsman could only add six runs to his overnight total and before he was castled by the fast bowler.
At that stage, the visitors would have harboured hopes of pulling things back, but that was not to be. Some loose bowling on a batting friendly wicket saw both Patterson and Paine smash 14 boundaries in their stay on the wicket.
Coming into the match with a second-string bowling attack, Sri Lanka gave one boundary too many to the Aussies and paid the price for it. While Vishwa Fernando ended with figures of 3/126 from 30 overs, Rajitha gave away 103 and bagged one wicket.
Chamika Karunaratne and Diruwan Perera too were ineffective and were smashed for over 100 runs each.
The bad day in the office continued for the Islanders even with the bat when the in-form opener Dimuth Karunaratne was hit on the neck from a rising Cummins delivery. The batsman was stretchered off immediately after he complained of pain and tingling in the hands.
That was perhaps the game-changing moment as it was only after Karunaratne’s injury that three Lankan wickets fell. The mini-collapse started when Thirimanne’s edged a ball from Lyon, that went straight into the hands of Usman Khawaja at first slip.
Within 13 balls, Kusal Mendis’ short stay at the wicket ended too as he was out for six off a Cummins delivery. The last wicket to fall on the day was Chandimal, who flirted with danger and edged a ball pitched outside off by Starc and was out for 15.
With Kusal Perera (11) and Dhananjaya De Silva (1) on the wicket, Sri Lanka will hope for a miracle to save them from another possible defeat.
First Published: February 2, 2019, 1:07 PM IST