Australia has the upper hand going into the middle day of the first Test, locking Sri Lanka down in an uncomfortable position at 1/17 and still 162 runs behind the home side.
The visitors will need more than a few significant stands at the crease to put pressure back on Australia as conditions under the Gabba lights get tougher.
Today will be a big day for Australia with the pink ball in hand. Debutant seamer Jhye Richardson will be out to stamp his name down again after an impressive three wicket haul in the first innings.
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Cummins devastates Sri Lankan top order
Pat Cummins struck with the last ball last night to get Dimuth Karunaratne caught behind and send the Aussies to the sheds with their tails up.
Just in case the side needed another hype up, Cummins struck with his second ball of the day.
The big seamer was thrown the ball after Jhye Richardson bowled the first over to get Australia off to the perfect start.
The ball looked to surprise Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal, catching a high edge and ballooning to Kurtis Patterson at gully.
— #7Cricket (@7Cricket) January 26, 2019
Cummins then had Test cricket’s second leading run scorer of 2018 Kusal Mendis nicking to Joe Burns at second slip.
“Pat Cummins, he’s in the midle of a hot streak here for Australia,” Fox Cricket commentator Mike Hussey said. “Sri Lanka in big trouble here now.”
With 3-0 off his first 13 balls, Sri Lanka finally hit him for runs with a three to pass the 20 mark.
It’s something some commentators have been calling for a while.
Shane Warne, who has been a vocal critic of Mitchell Starc this summer, said it was good to see Cummins start with the ball in hand.
Nice to finally see @patcummins30 get the new ball with Richardson, long overdue decision !
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) January 26, 2019
Injury curse rocks Sri Lanka
Days after being forced to make an enforced change to their squad, Sri Lanka may need to make another after their hamstring injury jinx struck again at the first Test against Australia.
Paceman Lahiru Kumara became the third Sri Lankan player to be struck down by a hamstring complaint in a month after being unable to bowl following the dinner break on day two of the pink ball Gabba Test.
Scans on Saturday are set to reveal the full extent of the injury. It is still another blow for the tourists just days after they injected two-Test quick Vishwa Fernando into their tour squad to replace fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep who broke down intheir tour match in Hobart.
Pradeep lasted just two overs against Cricket Australia XI before suffering a hamstring strain.
Sri Lanka were already reeling from a hamstring complaint that ruled world-class all-rounder Angelo Mathews out of the two-Testseries opener in Brisbane. Former skipper Mathews retired hurt during the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand in Christchurchafter pulling up lame while running between wickets. It remains to be seen if Kumara plays any further part in the first Test against Australia but it seems Sri Lanka need every hand on deck to avoid a heavy loss. They limped to 1-17 at stumps on daytwo in their second dig still trailing by 162.
Suranga Lakmal earlier dug deep to inspire an attack without Kumara to take 5-75, the best figures by a Sri Lankan at a Gabba Test and the third greatest haul on Australian soil.
Sri Lanka have not indicated whether they will replace Kumara but they do have reserve quick Kasun Rajitha waiting in the wings in their squad ahead of the second Test in Canberra.