Lyon and Head rip through Sri Lanka as Australia ease to 10-wicket win
Nathan Lyon tormented Sri Lanka again and Travis Head made a surprise impact with the ball as Australia eased to a crushing 10-wicket victory on day three of the first Test.
Asitha Fernando dismissed Pat Cummins and Mitchell Swepson in the second over of the day to bowl the tourists out for 321 at the Galle International Stadium on Friday.
That gave the World Test Championship leaders a 109-run advantage and they were only just required to bat again, as Sri Lanka were skittled out for only 113 in a second innings that lasted only 22.5 overs.
Australia were set five to win and David Warner struck Ramesh Mendis for four and then a six to give them a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Dimuth Karunaratne, who top scored with 23, and Pathum Nissanka combined for an opening stand of 37, but that proved to be a false dawn as they endured an almighty collapse on a miserable day in which they lost Angelo Mathews to COVID-19.
Lyon (4-31) had captain Karunaratne caught behind and Swepson trapped Nissanka (14) leg before prior to Kusal Mendis falling to Australia's premier spinner.
Swepson (2-34) had Oshada Fernando – drafted in to replace Mathews – caught by Steve Smith in the slips before part-time spinner Head, who had not previously taken a Test wicket, got in on the act.
Head generated sharp turn from outside off stump to bowl Dinesh Chandimal and got rid of Dhananjaya de Silva in his next over as the procession of wickets continued.
Sorry Sri Lanka lost their last six wickets for 18 runs, Lyon adding another two to his tally to claim nine for the match and Head making a case that he should bowl more often as he finished with brilliant figures of 4-10.
Lyon moves into top 10
Sri Lanka were unable to handle Lyon, who finished with match figures of 9-121.
That moved the tweaker into the top 10 on the list of the all-time highest Test wicket-takers with 435, level with India legend Kapil Dev.
Sri Lanka's batting woes come to a Head
Batter Head sent down 228 deliveries in his Test career without taking a wicket before he stepped up to resemble a frontline spinner on a dramatic third day.
He picked up his four scalps in only 2.5 overs, adding insult to injury on a nightmare day for Sri Lanka.