Sri Lanka flounder, Australia sense innings victory
BRISBANE (Reuters) – Pat Cummins took three wickets during a hostile spell of fast bowling to reduce Sri Lanka to 74 for five at tea on day three as Australia closed in on a big victory in the series opening day-night Test at the Gabba on Saturday.
Lahiru Thirimanne was batting on 31 at the break and Niroshan Dickwella was on three with Sri Lanka still 105 behind with an innings defeat looming on the tourists.
Resuming at 17-1, Sri Lanka’s hopes of saving the match were dealt a heavy blow when Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis fell in consecutive overs from Cummins at the start of the day.
After taking a wicket with the final ball of day two, it took Cummins (4-11) just two balls on day three to get his next wicket, squaring-up the scoreless Chandimal and finding the edge which ballooned to Kurtis Patterson at gully.
In his next over, Cummins teased an attempted drive from Kusal Mendis (one), who edged to Joe Burns at second slip giving the Australian seamer the extraordinary early figures of three wickets for no runs.
Thirimanne and Roshen Silva (three) briefly stemmed the flow of wickets, before Cummins got his fourth, having Silva caught by Burns in the slips to reduce the tourists to 35-4.
Right on tea, debutant Jhye Richardson produced a fast yorker to bowl Dhananjaya de Silva for 14.
On Friday, a 166-run stand between Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne powered Australia to 323 in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 144.