Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 06:43pm
Australia's bowlers put the tourists in position of command against Sri Lanka
Josh Hazlewood took three top order wickets as the hosts slumped to 67 for five, despite winning the toss under blue skies, and their innings was ended after 34.2 overs. Debutant Dhananjaya de Silva top-scored with 24.
Australia lost openers David Warner and Joe Burns inside the first four overs of their reply but Usman Khawaja and captain Steve Smith steadied the ship, putting on an unbroken 59 to take the tourists to 66 for two at tea.
Persistent rain ensured no play was possible in the final session but Australia are firmly in the ascendancy in the first of the three-Test series following an accomplished performance in the field.
Sri Lanka endured a chastening tour of England, failing to beat their hosts in any format, and a lack of depth in their batting was exposed ruthlessly.
Dimuth Karunaratne was the first to go after being pinned in front by Mitchell Starc before Kusal Mendis also fell lbw to Hazlewood, who was rewarded for bowling a fuller length when Kaushal Silva edged low to first slip.
None of Sri Lanka's top three had made it double figures and their failure left Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews with a significant rebuilding job.
The pair, widely regarded as Sri Lanka's most accomplished batsmen, put on 25, the highest partnership of the innings, but captain Mathews perished for 15 after edging slow left-armer Steve O'Keefe to slip.
Chandimal's becalmed innings of 15 from 54 balls ended just before the end of the first session when he was caught behind off the irrepressible Hazlewood, while Sri Lanka were in complete disarray when Nathan Lyon snared two wickets in the first over after lunch.
De Silva, who had claimed his first Test runs with a six over long-off off O'Keefe, was caught bat-pad while Dilruwan Perera was rapped in front two balls later.
Lyon claimed his third scalp in 14 deliveries when Kusal Perera (20) was bowled after leaving a straight one and the Sri Lanka tail duly crumbled, losing their final four wickets for 30 runs.
Australia made an inauspicious start as Warner dragged Nuwan Pradeep onto his stumps while wily left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, opening the bowling from the other end, cleaned up Burns through the gate.
But Khawaja (25no) and Smith (28no) stood firm to put Australia in a commanding position before the heavens opened and denied them a chance to further assert their superiority.
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Josh Hazlewood took three for 21 in 10 overs as Australia took command of the first Test against Sri Lanka