PALLEKELE: 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 1-0, with captain Steven Smith finished with the top-score of 55.
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.
Australia, who started on the day on 83 for three, were 141 for seven at lunch, thanks to Herath, who dismissed four Australian wickets including one from skipper Steven Smith to derail the tourists’ chase on the tense final day.
Smith made a gritty half-century before becoming Herath’s third victim of the morning session as the Australian batting crumbled on a turning pitch.
Mendis, spinners hand Sri Lanka advantage
Adam Voges, who survived a successful umpire review on Friday after being judged LBW, was Herath’s first wicket of the morning session which started late due to rain.
Smith, who looked settled during his 125-ball stay at the crease that included a single boundary, then built a 43-run fifth-wicket partnership with Mitchell Marsh (25) to raise some hopes of recovery.
A persistent Herath trapped Marsh leg-before with a successful umpire review after the batsman was given the benefit of the doubt by the on-field umpire, who had to overturn his decision.
Mendis’ maiden ton revives Sri Lanka’s hopes against Australia
But it was Smith’s prized wicket that got the Lankan camp in a celebratory huddle as the left-arm spinner got the gritty batsman plumb in front of the wicket.
Debutant spinner Lakshan Sandakan, who grabbed four wickets in the first innings, soon joined the party to send Mitchell Starc back in the pavilion and help the hosts inch closer to taking a vital lead in the three-match series.
Courtesy : Express Tribune