Pallekele - Australia removed Sri Lankan opener Kusal Perera cheaply after
building up an 86-run first innings lead over their hosts as they took
firm command Wednesday of a low-scoring Test in Pallekele.
fell to the last ball of the day, with the umpires once again forced to
call a premature halt to proceedings following a downpour at the
picturesque ground on the outskirts of Kandy.
Australia were all
out for 203 in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 117, with
spinner Lakshan Sandakan taking four wickets on his debut.
The early loss of Perera on the second day of the first Test was another bitter blow for the struggling hosts.
Perera fell for just four when he was lbw to paceman Mitchell Starc, leaving Sri Lanka wobbling on six for one at close of play.
downpour initially prompted the umpires to call an early tea break, but
they were later forced to abandon play early for the second day
Veteran Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and
the 25-year-old rookie Sandakan had earlier taken four wickets apiece as
the Australian batsman also struggled to cope with a turning pitch.
Voges top-scored for the Australians with 47, meaning no player from
either side managed to score a half-century in the first innings.
with the pitch showing no sign of respite, the Australians' first
innings lead could well prove decisive as they try to cement their
position as Test cricket's number one side.
Herath, who has hinted that he may soon retire from Test cricket, was
the pick of the bowlers and was unlucky not to record a five-wicket
He dismissed both overnight batsmen -- skipper Steve Smith
and Usman Khawaja -- in successive overs and had a third wicket in the
morning session when wicketkeeper Peter Nevill was caught at mid-on.
lunch, wicketkeeper Perera dropped a chance off Josh Hazlewood, denying
Herath what would have been his 24th five-wicket haul.
Australia scored at less than two runs per over off Herath as his 25 overs went for only 49.
Herath was providing captain Angelo Mathews both the attacking and
containing options, Sandakan ran through the lower order to finish with
four for 58.
Seamer Nuwan Pradeep finished with two wickets,
including that of the resolute Voges who was brilliantly caught by Kusal
Mendis at gully.
Voges, who faced 115 deliveries and hit three
fours, added 60 for the fifth wicket with Mitchell Marsh, who was among