Marcus Harris halves Sri Lanka’s 144 after quicks excel
Marcus Harris ended day one at the Gabba on 40*. © AFP

A superb combined effort from fast bowlers Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins was backed by a sparkling unbeaten 40 from the opener opener Marcus Harris as Australia moved to 72/2 by stumps on day one of the day-night Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane on Thursday.

Richardson, on Test debut, claimed three wickets and newly elevated vice-captain Cummings took four to help bowl out Sri Lanka for 144 in 56.overs. That they got that far owed largely to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, who smacked 64 from 78 balls in a dazzling display of stubborn resistance mixed with audacious shots, including a ramped six off Mitchell Starc who today became the second Australian left-arm quick to 200 Test wickets. (FULL SCORECARD: AUSTRALIA vs SRI LANKA, 1st TEST)

Richardson, who only came into the side after Josh Hazlewood was ruled out with injury, took 3/26 while Cummins ended with 4/39.

Australia’s innings saw the recalled Joe Burns fall for 15 during the night session against the pink ball, edging Suranga Lakmal to second slip where Kusal Mendis held a terrific catch, and Usman Khawaja’s struggles against spin continued when he under-edged a cut off Dilruwan Perera onto the stumps.

Harris batted positively to reach 40 at stumps in the presence of Nathan Lyon, the nightwatchman.

Dinesh Chandimal s decision to bat first against the pink ball did not go to plan, with the top three all dismissed in 22 overs to give Australia the upper hand by the first break in play. Sri Lanka s openers did well to see off the opening ten overs from Starc and Richardson, only to fall in successive overs. Lahiru Thirimanne, on 21, poked Cummins to third slip where Marnus Labuschagne held a sharp catch, and in the next over Chandimal (5) became Richardson s first Test wicket when he was forced to edge to Burns at second slip.

Sri Lanka had slipped to 31/2. Thirimanne had earlier successfully reviewed an lbw verdict to deny Starc his 200th Test wicket.

Jhye Richardson made Dinesh Chandimal his first Test wicket.
Jhye Richardson made Dinesh Chandimal his first Test wicket. AFP

Karunaratne played out the quicks well, defending resolutely and driving handsomely when the ball was in his zone. On 24, he fell to the very accurate Lyon who got a bit of bounce for Tim Paine to hold the faint edge very well. In the second session, Richardson began with a bang as he bowled Mendis with a ripper and then had Dananjaya de Silva caught behind.

Sri Lanka’s batsmen struggled against pace and bounce on the Gabba surface, with Richardson’s strikes followed by Cummins extracting Roshen Silva and Starc taking two wickets to cross 200 Test wickets, the second Australian left-arm quick to do so. Starc’s post-tea spell saw Lakmal and Perera edge to Labuschagne at third slip.

Dickwella rescued Sri Lanka with a fighting innings that contained six fours and that stunning ramped six off Starc. Cummins returned to get Dickwella miscuing a pull shot and Dushmantha Chameera hurried with a short ball.

Sri Lanka have never won a Test in Australia but are the holders of the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy after their 3-0 sweep at home in 2016.

Stumps: Australia 72/2 (Harris 40*) trail Sri Lanka 144 (Dickwella 64, Cummins 4/39) by 72 runs