The hosts had seized the initiative on day one by bowling the tourists out for just 144 runs and were firmly in the driving seat by the time the second day’s play was completed.
Labuschagne made 81 while Head scored 84 as Australia posted a total of 323 runs in their first innings. By the time stumps were drawn on day two, Sri Lanka had been reduced to 17-1 in their second innings.
Sri Lanka made a promising start in the first session at the Gabba on Friday with two quick wickets. Lahiru Kumara ended a fine knock from Marcus Harris (44) while Suranga Lakmal dismissed night watchman Nathan Lyon to reduce Australia to 82-4.
However, that was as good as it got for the tourists on day two with Labuschagne and Head forging a 166-run stand for the fifth wicket. It was Sri Lanka all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva who finally broke the partnership by snaring Labuschagne’s wicket.
Australia debutant Kurtis Patterson made 30 in his maiden Test innings before he fell to Lakmal who also ended Head’s vigil at the crease on his way to a five-wicket haul.
Australia’s tail did not last too long although Mitchell Starc battled hard with an unbeaten 26 to help the hosts take a first-innings lead of 189 runs.
Sri Lanka’s openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne then had to face a tricky spell of six overs before the close of play but disaster struck when the former was dismissed by Pat Cummins with the last delivery of the day.
Sri Lanka: 144 and 17-1
Australia: 323 all out
Travis Head: 84 (187)
Marnus Labuschagne: 81 (150)
Suranga Lakmal: 5/75 (27 overs)
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