SL vs AUS: Fifties from Karunaratne, Mendis highlight Day 2
An all-round show from Sri Lanka helped them dominate the Day 2 proceedings of the second Test against Australia. Resuming from 298/5, Australia managed an additional 66 runs to be bundled on 364. Steve Smith was unscathed in his marathon 145*. Debutant Prabath Jayasuriya (6/118) came up with a classy performance. Sri Lanka (184/2) at stumps, trail by 180 runs.
Smith couldn't have asked for a better occasion to end his century drought. He smashed his 28th Test ton to power Australia to 298. Resuming from 109* on Day 2, Smith compiled additional 36 runs and stayed put from an end throughout. He hit 16 fours en route to his 145* off 272 deliveries. Against SL, Smith now has 398 runs at 56.85.
Jayasuriya, who was one of the three debutants for Sri Lanka, emerged as the trump card behind humbling the visitors. The slow-left arm orthodox was disciplined with his line and lengths throughout. He has become only the seventh Sri Lankan bowler to pick a five-fer on debut. He was instrumental in breaking a 77-run stand between Smith and Alex Carey for the sixth wicket.
As per ESPNcricinfo, Jayasuriya (6/118) has etched the second-best figures among Sri Lankan cricketers on their Test debut. He ranks behind Praveen Jayawickrama, who had bagged figures worth 6/92 against Bangladesh at Pallekele. Meanwhile, Upul Chandana (6/179), Akila Dananjaya (5/24), and Kosala Kuruppuarachchi follow suit.
A decisive Test and crucial WTC points on the card called for a captain's knock. And, Karunaratne delivered what was expected of him. He clobbered 10 fours in his 165-ball 86. Karunaratne looked set for a ton but was out LBW on a plumb from Mitchell Swepson. He now has 5,905 runs at 39.89. Versus Australia, he has raced to 412 runs at 21.68.
Just like Karunaratne, Mendis was equally patient in his approach to tackling the Aussie bowlers. The right-hander hit a back-foot punch off Cummins to register the first boundary for the Lankans in the Test. He ran a double off Travis Head to register his 14th fifty in this format. He hit nine fours as he steered to 84* off 152 deliveries by stumps.
It was a more than desirable stand between Karunaratne and Mendis during the second day's proceedings. SL needed a solid partnership that could counter the Aussie attack. The duo didn't disappoint as they added 152 runs for the second wicket. As per ESPNcricinfo, it's the fourth-highest partnership by SL batters for any wicket against Australia in Tests.
Mitchell Starc pinned the first breakthrough for the visitors. In the ninth over, Pathum Nissanka (6) was tempted to hit a short-of-a-length delivery which carried straight to gully. Australia then struggled to seep through the Lankan line-up. It wasn't until the 55th over that Swepson got the better of the SL skipper. Cummins (0/34) built pressure from an end, but Lyon (0/69) looked clueless.