Australia spinner Nathan Lyon on Wednesday said the opening Test in Galle was balanced after his five-wicket haul helped bowl out Sri Lanka for 212 but the hosts made a comeback as they bagged three wickets on day one of the first match of the two-match Test series here at Galle International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
On the very first ball of his spell, Lyon got an excessive amount of turn and bounce from the surface, leaving Sri Lankan batters surprised.
Pathum Nissanka and Karunaratne got Sri Lanka off to a decent start. Both Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc were guilty of bowling a few lose deliveries, which the Sri Lanka openers gladly hammered. Veterans Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews steadied the ship after the two quick wickets and were rotating the strike and getting the occasional boundary. Together, they took Sri Lanka to lunch at 68/2.
“We always talk of the importance of trying to knock over the tails as quick as we can and you look at the way Dickwella played, he played an incredible inning, he put the pressure right back on us as bowlers. I was really proud the way we came back after tea and stuck to our plans and we were able to get the late rewards and knock them over,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Lyon as saying. Nathan Lyon broke through instantly after lunch for Australia, dismissing the dangerous batter Karunaratne with David Warner taking a brilliant diving catch.
His fellow spinner Mitchell Swepson was on a hat-trick a little later, snaring Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal off consecutive balls. Niroshan Dickwella came out all guns blazing, smashing Lyon for three fours in an over. “(Extra bounce) is one of my biggest weapons, there’s no secret about that. It’s something I’m very excited to see, obviously, spin and bounce is good signs,” he stated.
“It’s about me asking different questions by different variations. Whereas in Australia I will probably stick to my strength which is my stock ball and trust in that. When you come over here you have about three or four different variations that you are able to trust and know you’re going to get some assistance off the wickets,” he added. Sri Lanka were in a big spot of bother at 139/6, with the tail exposed. However, Niroshan Dickwella came to the rescue and got to his fifty off just 42 balls.
Lyon snapped up Dickwella and Lasith Embuldeniya in the next two overs to complete his five-for. Vandersay holed out in the deep as Sri Lanka were all out for 212. “Look at my first ball today, that was on the quicker side of things, and you saw how much that turned and bounced. Every bowler is different, but if you are able to go up and down the gears I think that’s only going to help you as a spin bowler in these conditions,” he said.
In the ongoing Test in Galle, Pat Cummins-led Australia team are trailing by 114 runs with seven wickets remaining in their first innings. The last five overs of the day were combated by spin, with the ball beating the bat on numerous occasions. Thankfully for Australia, Usman Khawaja and Travis Head managed to survive the period and remained unbeaten at stumps on day one.