Thursday, 28 July 2016, 10:30pm
Kusal Mendis helps Sri Lanka turn tide with maiden Test century
Mendis, 21, had only scored one first-class hundred coming into the match but compiled a career-best knock of 169 not out to guide his side to 282 for six at stumps.
That was a lead of 196, already an imposing chase on a pitch where the next highest score after Mendis was Adam Voges' 47.
Mendis faced 243 deliveries, hitting 20 fours and brought up his ton with a slog-swept six off Nathan Lyon.
He came to the crease in the first over of the day, Dimuth Karunaratne having fallen lbw for duck to Mitchell Starc.
Kaushal Silva was next to go, leg before for seven to Steve O'Keefe, who injured his hamstring later in the day and was forced off the field.
That left Mendis to salvage things with successive partnerships of 41, 117 and 71 with Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon accounted for Mathews and De Silva while Mitch Marsh trapped Chandimal in front for 42.
But Mendis remained until bad light brought an early end to proceedings alongside number eight Dilruwan Perera.
With four wickets still to get and Sri Lanka's spinners eyeing a wearing pitch, the tourists now face an uphill struggle on days four and five.
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Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis made a fine maiden hundred in the first Test against Australia