Sri Lanka finally defeated Australia after 17 years. SL, who batted first scored only 117 in the first innings and conceded a lead of 86 runs. SL fought hard and made a superb comeback in the match and secured a very important victory for the side which is going through transition.
The turnaround started with Kusal Mendis scoring 176 runs in the second innings and then old warhorse Rangana Herath picked up nine wickets in the match. This was Steven Smith’s first Test loss as skipper.
Australia came into the match as No.1 ranked side in the world and were favourites to win the match. This was Aussies seventh consecutive loss on subcontinent. They lost 4-0 to India in 2013, 2-0 to Pakistan in 2014.
Australia will have lot of soul searching to do and their trouble against slow bowlers has again resurfaced. Apart from Smith, no one applied themselves and were guilty of playing reckless and attacking shots.
SL needed this badly after performing badly in England and New Zealand and it will do their confidence a world of good.
17 – Number of years for Sri Lanka to win their second Test against Australia. They had secured their first win on September 11, 1999 in Kandy.
2 – Number of Tests won by Sri Lanka against Australia. Their first win was also in Kandy but it was at the Asgiriya stadium. Since then, Sri Lanka have lost 10 and drawn three Tests against Australia.
176 – Kusal Mendis’ score in the Test at Pallekele, which is highest individual score. This is the second-highest individual score by a Sri Lankan batsman in a Test against Australia, behind Kumar Sangakkara’s 192 at Hobart in 2008. However, it is the highest individual score by a Sri Lankan batsman in Pallekele, going past Younis Khan’s 171* in 2015.
24- Number of five wicket hauls taken by Rangana Herath. Only Muttiah Muralitharan has taken more five wicket haul for SL (67).
0.13 – The run-rate during the four-run stand between Steven O’Keefe and Peter Nevill, the lowest in the history of Test cricket. The partnership consumed a total of 178 balls but it was worth only four runs.
25 – Consecutive number of maidens bowled by the Sri Lankan bowlers in the Australian innings. This is the first time that such a feat has been achieved.
Australia would like to regroup and play well in the second Test. Sri Lanka will be buoyed by their performance and like to keep the momentum.
Sri Lanka 117 (Lyon 3-12, Hazlewood 3-21) and 353 (Mendis 176, Starc 4-84) beat Australia 203 (Voges 47, Herath 4-49, Sandakan 4-58) and 161 (Smith 55, Herath 5-54) by 106 runs