The Sri Lankans were bowled out for just 144 runs in their first innings at the Gabba with Pat Cummins picking up a four-wicket haul. By stumps, Australia had reached 72-2 in their first innings.
Here, we take a look at the takeaways from day one of the Test.
LANKA TOP-ORDER CRUMBLES
Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal had no hesitation in batting first after winning the toss but that was as good as it got for the visitors in the first session as Australia’s bowlers ruled the roost.
It was Pat Cummins who provided the hosts with the initial breakthrough by dismissing Lahiru Thirimanne before debutant Jhye Richardson made his mark.
After impressing in the ODI series loss to India, the Aussie pacer struck gold early on day one finding Chandimal’s outside edge. However, it was his second wicket of the day which was his most memorable moment as he took out Kusal Mendis’ stumps with a late outswinger.
Dhananjaya de Silva became Richardson’s third victim as Sri Lanka’s batting order collapsed at the Gabba. Only two batsmen were able to cross the 20-run mark for the visitors as they slumped to 106-8. Cummins was the most impressive of Australia’s pacers with figures of 4-39.
STARC COMPLETES 200 TEST DISMISSALS
After a disappointing Test series against India where his reputation took a beating, Mitchell Starc had something to smile about on Thursday.
The Australia pace spearhead was made to toil in the early part of Sri Lanka’s innings but he would not be stopped from breaching the 200-wicket mark in Test cricket. At a venue where he had picked up his maiden Test wicket seven years ago, Starc had Dilruwan Perera caught behind to bring up his 200th dismissal.
The pacer removed Suranga Lamkal in similar fashion to take his tally to 201 as he became the 17th Aussie bowler in history to enter the 200-wicket club. More importantly, Starc’s strike-rate of 51.2 is the second best of the 17 bowlers in the club and behind only his predecessor Mitchell Johnson (51.1).
With none of Sri Lanka’s specialist batsmen putting their hands up, it was left to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella to rescue the visitors.
The left-hander kept plugging away even as wickets kept falling at the other end. With none of the tail-enders able to put up any resistance, Dickwella took it upon himself to shepherd the strike.
The wicketkeeper batsman was in a counter-attacking mood and he dealt primarily in boundaries. He cracked six boundaries and one huge six on his way to a 78-ball 64 before he became the penultimate Sri Lankan batsman to be dismissed.
That Sri Lanka managed to avoid getting bowled out below 100 was largely down to Dickwella’s heroics.
LYON GETS FINAL OVER REPRIEVE IN DAY TO FORGET FOR TOURISTS
With just 144 runs to play for, the visitors had their work cut out with the ball in the latter half of the day. The hosts’ openers Marcus Harris and Joe Burns started well before Suranga Lakmal dismissed the latter for 15.
Harris continued to hold one up for Australia but Dilruwan Perera gave Sri Lanka some respite by dismissing Usman Khawaja for the fourth time in his career 10 minutes before stumps.
That brought night-watchman Nathan Lyon to the crease and the Aussie off-spinner was given a huge reprieve in the final over of the day. Perera should have had a second wicket in as many overs but the fielder at short-leg dropped a sharp chance to complete a miserable day for the islanders.
STUMPS— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) January 24, 2019
Nathan Lyon is dropped in the last over and survives. So Australia end day one at 2-72, trailing by another 72. Harris unbeaten on 40.
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