SL vs AUS 2022: Nathan Lyon, Travis Head help Australia secure huge win over Sri Lanka in Galle Test

Nathan Lyon
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Australia’s spin contingent has bowled them to the verge of consecutive Test series wins abroad for the first time in 14 years after Sri Lanka fell in a heap on the third morning of their series opener in Galle.

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On a treacherous Galle pitch that made part-time off-spinner Travis Head (4-10) look like Muttiah Muralidaran, the Aussies surged to victory chiefly on the efforts of Nathan Lyon, who claimed nine wickets for the match.

In a sign of the volatile nature of the rapidly deteriorating surface, Head had two top-order victims in his first five balls and clean bowled Dinesh Chandimal and Jeffrey Vandersay with near unplayable off-breaks in a remarkable spell.

Without a wicket to his name coming into this match, Head ended up with four in 17 balls and was applauded off the field by the Australians after they routed Sri Lanka for 113 in just 22.5 overs.

David Warner then knocked off the five runs required to win with a four and a six to clinch the 10-wicket win before lunch.

It was Australia’s second fastest Test win since 1946, with the entire match lasting just 920 balls.

Sri Lanka, whose cause was not aided by the absence of their most accomplished batter Angelo Mathews, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, lost their last eight wickets for 54 in just 70 deliveries.

Following their series-sealing victory over Pakistan in Lahore earlier this year, Australia’s win at the beachside city on the island’s south coast has handed them their first successive Test victories in Asia since they knocked off Bangladesh twice in 2006.

Nathan Lyon
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

A win in Galle again next week will be mark consecutive away Test series wins for the first time since 2008.

The visitors took a 109-run first-innings lead after paceman Asitha Fernando snared the remaining two Australian wickets in quick time on Friday morning, though the Aussies swiftly squandered a third of that advantage through just five overs to begin Sri Lanka’s second innings.

But, following on from his first-innings return of 5-90, Lyon soon looked like taking a wicket with every ball as he snared 4-31 and bowled unchanged from the city end.

If skipper Pat Cummins needed any convincing that pace was about as effective on this surface as an umbrella in a hurricane, Mitchell Starc’s 17-run first over might have done it.

Cummins did not even need to bowl himself as his slow bowlers ran rampant.

Lyon commenced the carnage courtesy of a sharp catch from Alex Carey off a Dimuth Karunaratne bottom edge, with the off-spinner adding the scalps of both Mendises (Kusal and Ramesh) and Niroshan Dickwella.

Mitch Swepson (2-34) took his match wicket tally to five as he dismissed Pathum Nissanka and Mathews’ substitute Oshada Fernando.

The sweep and reverse sweep shots, so expertly played by the tourists in their first-innings haul of 321, proved more perilous for the Sri Lankans, with Nissanka, the two Mendises, and Dickwella all out to the stroke.

Australia 321 (Green 77, Khawaja 71, Ramesh 4-112) and 10 for 0 beat Sri Lanka 212 (Dickwella 58, Lyon 5-90) and 113 (Head 4-10, Lyon 4-31) by 10 wickets

Cummins, Australia captain: Turned out this morning, didn’t think it was going to happen that fast. We were really clear in our planning. Bravery and proactiveness shown, especially by our batters. Someone like Green has grown up at the WACA, it’s so different. Really happy for him. He was fantastic. He was the difference.

Karunaratne, SL captain: Disappointed. Winning the toss and getting out for 212 is disappointing. There are something for the bowlers. Australia batted very well. Have to put our hands up as a batting unit. We have plenty of experienced players. Knew how it’s going to turn.

Decision we took was horrible. We played with this for last couple of years. They’re good enough to do the job here. Bowled well in patches. Ramesh bowled well. Others couldn’t support him. When we batted second, not easy to bat against Lyon. Was turning heavily. Approach was good, sometimes we took bad decision.

Green: When you come to the subcontinent, there are a few unknowns. But we’ve got experienced guys in the changeroom. A lot of guys said to be proactive. You’re going to get out as some point, might as well play some shots.


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