Lankans stage grand recovery
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP):
Dhananjaya de Silva hit a maiden Test century and shared an unbroken 188-run partnership for the sixth wicket yesterday with Dinesh Chandimal as Sri Lanka recovered from a disastrous start against Australia in the third and final Test.
Sri Lanka reached 214 for five at stumps on the first day, after being reduced to 26 for five at Sinhalese Sports Club.
Playing only his third Test match, de Silva was unbeaten on 116 from 240 balls, with 16 boundaries. On 74, de Silva gave a sharp catch, which deflected off wicketkeeper Peter Nevill's gloves, and on 104, Shaun Marsh dropped a slightly easier chance.
Chandimal was 64 not out. He faced 204 deliveries and hit four boundaries.
Their partnership has so far lasted more than four hours with 442 deliveries.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews's decision to bat after winning the toss backfired spectacularly when Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc and off-spinner Nathan Lyon ripped through the top order, with the hosts going from 21 for one to 26 for five in less than five overs.
Lyon said Australia had finished the day well despite the partnership.
"We were lucky enough to take five early wickets, but you've got to give credit to the two guys who are batting," Lyon said. "The game is not over. That's for sure. If you go anywhere else in the world and say at stumps five for 210, after them winning the toss and batting first, it's a big tick."
Australia first struck when Starc had Kaushal Silva caught at slip by Steven Smith without scoring with the total on two.
Starc also bowled Dimuth Karunaratne (7) and had Kusal Mendis (1) caught by Smith.
Lyon dismissed Kusal Perera (16) and Mathews (one).
Starc had bowling figures of 3-47 with Lyon 2-72.
Sri Lanka lead the series 2-0 and are searching for a rare 3-0 series whitewash.
For Australia, a win is important to stay in contention to retain their No. 1 ranking - depending on how India, England and Pakistan perform in their current Test series.
Australia made two changes to the team that lost the second Test by 229 runs in Galle. They dropped opener Joe Burns and No. 3 Usman Khawaja, replacing them with batsman Marsh and all-rounder Moises Henriques.