Wriddhiman Saha chooses Tripura for 2022-23 domestic season

Prabath Jayasuriya completed a fine performance on debut with 6 for 118, the second-best return for a Sri Lankan in their first Test, then captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis built a second-wicket stand of 53 having waited until the 15th over for the first boundary as Australia’s bowlers created early pressure.

Australia’s only breakthrough came courtesy of a brilliant catch in the gully by Cameron Green who leapt full-stretch to his left to grab Pathum Nissanka’s outside edge off Mitchell Starc. However, Karunaratne would have been run out on 18 if Starc’s throw from mid-on had hit and, in the final over before tea, was given a life when he toe-ended a full toss back towards Mitchell Swepson who couldn’t get into position in his follow through.

As another reminder to the wider reality while the Test match is taking place, the second day’s play unfolded against the backdrop of major anti-government protests at the ongoing economic crisis in the country. Protesters in Galle were prevented from travelling to Colombo for the main rally as the government blocked public transport and fuel sales.

Crowds quickly swelled and marched around the stadium before making their way on the iconic Galle Fort which had been closed to everyone on Friday following the forced removal of protesters during the opening Test. By the lunch interval, the protest had relocated outside the gates of the ground and during the afternoon session grew in size and noise.

Australia have been very aware of the bigger picture throughout this tour and before play Pat Cummins posted a video on social media in association with UNICEF where he spoke to two young female cricketers about the impact of the crisis.

On the field, Australia had resumed on 298 for 5 and initially, it appeared they were tracking well towards 400 as Steven Smith and Alex Carey extended their partnership to 77. However, that changed when Carey top-edged a reverse sweep to be taken deep on the off side and none of the lower order could stay with Smith for a substantial amount of time.

That was soon followed by a superb catch at slip by Kusal Mendis to remove Starc, after an outside edge flew very quickly, which gave Jayasuriya his fifth wicket.

Kasun Rajitha then chipped in by trapping Cummins lbw, although it required the DRS after the decision was given not out on field by Michael Gough, and Nathan Lyon was also caught in front by one which went straight from Jayasuriya. In the end, Jayasuriya’s figures sat as the second-best for Sri Lanka on Test debut, behind fellow left-arm Praveen Jayawickrama’s 6 for 92 against Bangladesh last year.

Smith largely tried to farm the strike with No. 11 Swepson for company but Sri Lanka were able to end things before it became too frustrating. The final wicket went to another debutant, Maheesh Theekshana, who opened his account by removing Swepson lbw when there was one ball of the over to survive, leaving Smith unbeaten on 145.

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