Australia crashed into an innings and 39-run defeat to Sri Lanka in Galle on Monday, spun out in 41 overs on day four of the final Test to end the series 1-1.
On a dismal day for the tourists, they conceded a 190 lead in the first innings, while Dinesh Chandimal’s unbeaten 206 took Sri Lanka to a record 554 tally. As a result, Australia continued to fight to hold on to a draw, but their innings lasted less than four hours as they were ejected for 151.
Prabath Jayasuriya claimed six for 59 as Australia’s left arm twisting issues resurfaced. He became the fifth bowler to take 12 wickets on his Test debut. Sri Lanka’s win came a week after they lost the first Test in just over two days and had three players banned with Covid-19.
Despite all the steps Australia seemed to be taking in that first Test win and March’s win in Pakistan, this was a return to dark times. They had four-for-25 and three-for-five collapses, including the firings of Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith in the four-ball space for Jayasuriya. Big demand now looms for the four-test tour of India in February.
Travis Head was caught in the crease when a delivery spun down his bat and grabbed the top of the stump for the second time in the Test. The southpaw’s scores on this tour are now six, 12 and five and with a career average of 21.3 in Asia, it’s doubtful he can be made it to India. David Warner is also emerging as a concern after falling first lbw for 24, with his last international century in January 2020.
Marnus Labuschagne (32) put up the best resistance after his first century of innings, while Cameron Green and Alex Carey also wentbbled up some time. But in the end it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Australian bowlers were also unable to build up the same pressure as the hosts on a much better batting wicket than in the first Test. Mitchell Starc was the only major exception with four for 89, while Mitchell Swepson showed signs of improvement in his three for 103.
Nathan Lyon toiled hard with two for 194, knocking down the most overs of his career (64) and was hampered by Australia’s poor use of ratings and missed opportunities. Carey missed two stumpings from his bowling, including a tough one with Chandimal on 10.
The real turning point of the match was when Chandimal came in at 30 days behind Starc on day three, with Australia out of reviews and unable to negate the on-field call from non-out.