Colombo - Australian bowlers Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon decimated the Sri Lankan batting line-up as the hosts stood at 55 for five at lunch on the opening day of the third and final Test in Colombo Saturday.
Sri Lanka, who elected to bat first on a bright sunny morning, were dealt early blows against an inspired Australian side which is looking for a consolation win.
Dhananjaya de Silva, batting on 23, and Dinesh Chandimal, on seven, were at the crease after putting together a 29-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Pace spearhead Starc, who took three wickets, bagged Kaushal Silva for a duck as the opener struggled to score after facing 15 balls.
Off-spinner Lyon, who has been criticised for failing to benefit from turning tracks, soon combined forces with Starc to rattle the Sri Lankan top-order with two wickets.
The spinner seemed to have learnt his lessons on these pitches after getting Kusal Perera caught at first slip and then the prized wicket of Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews, who was out for just one.
The left-handed Perera looked good during his 32-ball 16 which included three boundaries, but was done in by a beauty from Lyon that pitched and turned to take an outside edge of the bat.
Starc also kept the other end busy with his wicket-taking as he bowled opener Dimuth Karunaratne for the fifth time in the series as the hosts slipped further.
Sri Lanka, who took an unassailable 2-0 lead in Galle, have a chance to register their first whitewash against a major team since gaining Test status in 1981.