History against Australia as Sri Lanka secures first-leg lead in second Test

Australia must overturn 40 years of Test history in Sri Lanka to secure a 2-0 series win after DRS woes left them on their feet in the second Test in Galle.

Sri Lanka went to the stumps at 431-6 on day three in response to Australia’s 364, already leading by 67 runs in the first set.

He came on the back of a fine unreleased 118 from Dinesh Chandimal, while Angelo Mathews and debutant Kamindu Mendis joined Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis in hitting the first-inning half-cents.

With two days to play, the odds are already strong against Australia.

Teams outside Asia have only won once when they give up a first-leg lead in Sri Lanka, having lost or drawn on all 28 other occasions. And none have mounted a comeback with the deficit Australia already faces.

Sri Lanka’s 149 overs effort came after losing all 20 wickets in just 81.5 overs in the first Test, heavily beaten by Australia in just over two days.

But it’s a much different box office, devoid of the demons that caused a prodigious turn in the series opener.

Australia’s Rapids were also unable to generate a reverse swing, with the lush wicket square and outfield helping to preserve the ball.

There is still hope that the wicket could deteriorate by day five, although it has shown no serious signs of wear so far. But even if that’s the case, it’s likely now to be Australia fighting to a draw rather than trying to force a result.

Tourists also made life difficult after running out of reviews during Sunday’s first session.

Chandimal should have been out on the 31st when he edged past Mitchell Starc, but Australia had no chance to return the call on the pitch not to go out.

Veteran Mathews was also lucky to survive an lbw shout from Nathan Lyon who would have been in review, only to fall to Starc’s bat pad (2-47) in the next over for 52.

Alex Carey also missed three chances behind the stumps, an extremely difficult prospect when Chandimal danced at the Lyon wicket on the 10th.

The ball spun sharply from the outside and beat the batsman and keeper on the way to the fine leg.

Carey’s other big chance for a drop from Lyon, however, should have been taken when Kamindu Mendis was at 43, before the debutant was eventually knocked out by Mitchell Swepson (2-90) off the mark for 61.

Missed chances marked a tough day for Lyon, who finished with the wicket of Niroshan Dickwella while battling cramp in their 56 overs for 2-160.

The offspinner had started the day by trapping Kusal Mendis lbw in the third over 85, at which point it looked like Australia could expose the lower order and reach a first-innings lead.

But Chandimal stood out as he went upside down and led Lyon for four and six consecutive balls, setting the tone for a clinical play on the pitch.

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