Sri Lanka will aim for a 3-0 whitewash of the No.1 Test side © AFP
Sri Lanka will aim for a 3-0 whitewash of the No.1 Test side © AFP

Sri Lanka paved their way to a Test series victory after 17 years against Australia by 229 runs on Day at Galle. Sri Lanka ruled the match right from Day 1 with their batting skills with Angelo Mathews, Dilruwan Perera, Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera providing the much-needed firepower. The bowlers also had their fair share as Perera bagged 10 wickets, while Rangana Herath earned a hat-trick, in the first innings, bringing down the pillars of Australia. Australia only shined or looked like posing a fight with the ball as their main strike bowler, Mitchell Starc, achieved a personal milestone of 100 Test wickets and also became the leading wicket-taker in the series with 11 wickets. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs Australia, 3rd Test at Colombo

Top Order: Sri Lanka’s top order has been completely out-of-form and has looked shaky against the Australian pace bowling attack. Dimuth Karunaratne failed to open his account in the first innings and he could only score 7 in the second. He has struggled in the series so far. And might want to improve his record. Kaushal Silva too, has not been impressive. He could manage only 7 runs at Galle. His form is another area of concern. Kusal Perera did get a good start in both the innings of the last Test but was not able to convert them into a big one. Sri Lanka therefore will have to find the answers to their top-order woes and the top-order will have to shoulder responsibility of scoring runs and not giving away wickets cheaply to the Australians. Their inability to get runs has put all the onus on the middle order which has done well so far. READ: Sri Lanka vs Australia: How spin and spirit combined to break 17-year jinx

Middle Order: Kusal Mendis’ show with the bat has been a delight to watch. Continuing from where he left of at Pallekele, where he got his maiden Test century, Mendis made 86 in the first innings at Galle yet again rescuing his side just when they looked to have lost track of it all. Angelo Mathews has been fairly decent with the bat. He scored 54 and 47 at Galle and scored them at a quick rate as well. His captaincy has been appreciable as well.  The faith he has shwon in his spinners, especially the young Sandakan has been a good sight for Sri Lankan cricket. Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva haven’t been able to capitalise on the chances with the bat so far, but both are quite capable of playing a big innings. Colombo might just be the right time for them to contribute to the team’s cause.

Lower Order: Dilruwan’s all-round display at Galle, put Sri Lanka in the driving seat. He earned the Player of the match award for his performance. The Australian batsmen found it difficult to pick his straighter deliveries. He will again be a big threat for the visitors at Colombo. Herath though, was the star of the first innings where he took his hat-trick and stunned the Australian batting order. His role, to lead the spin-atack will be crucial as always. The newcomer Lakshan Sanadakan has been a talent to watch out for. He has got massive turn from the wickets so far, and it’s been diffcult to pick him for Steve Smith and co.At Colombo, Sandakan might just turn on the style and burst to limelight.

Sri Lanka Likely XI:  Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Mendis, Dilruwan Perera, Kusal Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Kaushal Silva