Jackson Bird strikes for Australia against Sri Lanka at Sydney

Jackson Bird took two wickets in the opening session of the match © Getty Images

Sydney: Jan 03, 2013

Australia removed both Sri Lankan openers on the first morning after winning the toss and sending the tourists in to bat in the third and final Test in Sydney.

Skipper Michael Clarke looked for a quick return on a bold decision to bowl after going into a Test with four quicks for the first time since the third Test against India in Perth a year ago.

Jackson Bird snared the wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne in the eighth over but Australia had to wait until 20 minutes before lunch for a second wicket, with the dismissal of Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Bird almost grabbed a third but Lahiru Thirimanne survived a review after being given out leg before wicket.

At lunch, Sri Lanka were 80 for two, with skipper Mahela Jayawardene leading the way on 30 and Thirimanne not out four.

Jayawardene went to the crease under pressure to perform in the absence of veteran Kumar Sangakkara, who suffered a fractured finger while batting in Melbourne.

Jayawardene has struggled for runs away from home in recent years and has gone 26 innings in away Tests without making a half-century.

With memories fresh of their Melbourne Test capitulation by an innings and 201 runs last week, the skipper helped steady the Sri Lanka innings after the early loss of Karunaratne.

Karunaratne was out to a poor shot, attempting to pull Bird but only getting a top edge that was safely caught by Mike Hussey, playing in his 79th and last Test match. Dilshan was caught behind off Bird for 34.

Thirimanne, newly arrived in the country as an injury replacement, survived Bird’s next ball when given out leg before wicket by Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar only to stay on after a review.

The Sydney Test had a poignant opening with Australian and Sri Lankan players paying their respects to Tony Greig in a moving farewell to the former England captain.

Players and fans observed a minute’s silence in honour of Greig, who died at the weekend aged 66 from a heart attack while battling lung cancer.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 80 for 2 (Mahela Jayawardene 30*, Tillakaratne DIlshan 38; Jackson Bird 2 for 14) vs Australia

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