Lahiru Thirimanne’s near century pulled Sri Lanka out of trouble but Jackson Bird claimed four to bowl the visitors out on the first day of the Sydney Test match.
We’ll bring you the live scores of the action throughout this game, with the second day starting at 10.30 am AEST on January 4.
It was a much better performance with the bat from Sri Lanka than their Boxing Day showing but on a reasonably placid Sydney track, they would rue that they only got to 294.
Thirimanne, in only his eighth Test match, showed maturity beyond his average of 19.84 and was ably supported by captain Mahela Jayawardene.
But both of them fell when they had a century for the taking and the rest of the batsmen displayed an abhorrence to sticking to the wicket, Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 34 being the highest score otherwise.
Michael Clarke’s decision to field first on a drier than usual SCG pitch evoked surprise but with five bowlers at his disposal he was able to rotate them around without the recent worry of fitness issues. Jackson Bird, in only his second Test, was a standout and looked the real deal.
Bird had both openers, one caught top-edging a pull and another nicking it to the ‘keeper, before returning in a later spell to run through the lower-order. Mitchell Starc grabbed three more and the waywardness of Mitchell Johnson wasn’t felt too much.
Going into the second day, Sri Lanka will hope for a better show from their bowlers, after having conceded two scores of more than 450 in the series already. A sub-300 score, however, may not be the best buffer for their rejigged bowling, requiring them to dig deep into their resources.
Rangana Herath has continued to impress cricketing pundits throughout the series but how their second-string attack consisting of Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep go will go a long way deciding the result.
Early wickets could put some pressure on a shortened Australian batting line-up but given the recent form that they have shown with the bat, it is difficult visualise such an eventuality.
We will bring you the live score throughout the game from the SCG and hope to receive your opinions as the action unfolds.