Match Report : 1st Test: Day 4 : Sri Lanka vs Australia at Pallekele, Jul 26-30, 2016
Australia 203 and 83 for 3 (Smith 26*, Voges 9*) need another 185 runs to beat Sri Lanka 117 and 353 (Mendis 176, Starc 4-84)
Australia lost three early wickets to Sri Lanka’s spinners before Steven Smith and Adam Voges steadied the ship with the visiting side in all kinds of trouble in their attempt to chase down the target of 268 in a low-scoring thriller of a first Test in Pallekele.
Australia was placed at 83 for 3, with Smith unbeaten on 26, when bad light forced the umpires to call tea early on the fourth day in Pallekele on Friday (July 29). No play was possible after that either as the light only worsened, and the match that has been hit by rain and bad light on all four days so far lost even more playing time.
Australia still needs another 185 runs for victory to take a lead in the three-match series.
Rangana Herath struck early when he bowled David Warner for one. Dilruwan Perera then had Usman Khawaja trapped lbw attempting an ill-advised hoick with the score reading 33 for 2. Then Lakshan Sandakan, the debutant chinaman bowler who bagged four wickets in the first innings, cleaned up Joe Burns, who had looked well set on 29, with one that turned a long way from outside off stump.
Smith then began a battling 54-ball innings, which has so far not had a single boundary. His partner Voges was similarly steadfast as the Australians looked to consolidate their status as the No. 1-ranked Test team.
Earlier, it was Kusal Mendis’s superb 176 that helped Sri Lanka seize control of proceedings after lagging behind for three days. Sri Lanka, starting Friday on 282 for 6, managed 353 in its second innings to turn things in its favour.