Lyon claims 20th Test five-for at the ground where it all began before Sri Lanka fight back

By Sports Desk June 29, 2022

Nathan Lyon claimed his 20th Test five-for as Australia edged a busy first day of the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Back of the sight of his debut in five-day cricket back in 2011, Lyon (5-90) left Sri Lanka in a spin as he and Mitchell Swepson (who finished with a Test-best 3-55) bowled the hosts out for 212 – a fine counter-attacking half-century from Niroshan Dickwella limiting the damage.

Ramesh Mendis then struck twice to account for David Warner (25) and Marnus Labuschagne (13) before dangerman Steve Smith (13) was run out following a miscommunication with Usman Khawaja, to leave Australia 98-3 and still 112 runs in arrears.

Despite going wicketless in the first session, Lyon's constant pressure allowed Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc to make the morning breakthroughs – both Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis edging behind.

But after lunch Lyon had his rewards after lunch when captain Dimuth Karunaratne ballooned one to David Warner in the slips.

A couple of beauties from Swepson sent Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal back to the pavilion, before Dickwella saw off the hat-trick ball and preceded to reach his half century in just 42 balls.

Lyon, who had conceded 14 runs in one over to Dickwella, accounted for Angelo Mathews and – following a 54-run seventh-wicket stand – had Mendis trapped lbw before finally having the dangerman sent packing. He had a fifth after a sharp catch from Khawaja at mid-on had Lasith Embuldeniya trudging off.

It would have been a significantly better day for the tourists if it were not for the late wickets, the last of which was a shambolic run-out when Khawaja and Smith started to run, only for the former to send the latter back and well out, leaving the former captain seething.

Shane Warne tribute

Sri Lanka's cricket board paid tribute to the late Shane Warne before the start of play, with a number of the nation's cricket icons in attendance – including off-spin great Muttiah Muralitharan and former captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

Warne died at the age of 52 in March of a suspected heart attack and took his 500th Test wicket at Galle in 2004.

The Test series will be played for the Warne-Muralitharan trophy, which has been on offer since 2007-08 but the current series is the first since the passing of Warne.

Lyon joins select club

Nathan Lyon's 20th five-wicket haul in Test cricket saw him join an elite club as one of only five Australians to secure 20 five-wicket hauls.

He joins Clarrie Grimmett, Dennis Lillee, Glen McGrath and Warne, with Lyon's latest entry coming 11 years since his maiden five-for on his debut in Galle.

Among active cricketers, Lyon ranks third behind only James Anderson of England (31) and Ravichandran Ashwin of India (30).

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