Reuters Pallekele, Central Province, Sri Lanka
Jul 30, 2016, 08.52 AM
Veteran spinner Rangana Herath grabbed a five-wicket haul to help Sri Lanka stun top-ranked Australia by 106 runs on the fifth and final day of the first Test in Pallekele on Saturday.
Australia, chasing a challenging 268 for victory, were bundled out for 161 before tea to trail the three-match series 0-1. Steven Smith top-scored with 55.
The left-arm spinner sent back Adam Voges and Mitchell Marsh before dealing the biggest blow when he trapped Steven Smith leg-before, ending the Australian captain's dogged resistance.
Left-arm chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan chipped in with the wicket of Mitchell Starc on the stroke of lunch under darkening skies in Kandy.
Sri Lankan batsman Kusal Mendis set up the win for the hosts with his superb maiden ton in his team's second innings after the home side overcame an 86-run deficit.
The weather-hit first match of the three-test series got off to another delayed start following steady morning drizzle and Sri Lanka attacked with spin from both ends to unsettle the visitors, who have looked unconvincing against the slow bowlers.
Herath (4-49) had proved a thorn in Australia's side with the ball as well as the bat in this match and the stocky spinner took a return catch to send back Voges (12) after Australia resumed what promised to be an intriguing final day on 83-3.
Marsh (25) hit three boundaries before Herath struck him on the pad and a convinced home captain Angelo Mathews successfully reviewed the original not-out decision to send back the batsman. Smith (55), however, battled on, his doggedness underlined by the lone boundary he hit in his 17th test fifty, which was also only the second 50-plus score in the bowler-dominated contest.
In the over prior to his dismissal, Smith was adjudged caught behind off Sandakan but the Australian captain reviewed the decision and managed to prolong his stay when replays showed the ball had clearly missed the edge of his bat.
Nine balls later Herath trapped him leg before and this time, Smith was unable to reverse the decision with another review.