The pair of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith seemed to steer Australia into a strong position at the end of the first day of play in the second test against Sri Lanka. However, the home side was able to fight back. They took the last five Australian wickets for just 35 runs.
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— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) July 8, 2022
Bowling the Australians out for 364 in the first innings was a good result for the home side. The reason for this? It gets harder to score at Galle the longer the test goes on. Sri Lanka then lost their first wicket with only 12 runs on the board and the Australians seemed to have their tails up. However, a 152-run partnership between Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunarane and Kusal Mendis steadied the ship for the home side.
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) July 9, 2022
The sees Sri Lanka only 180 runs behind in the first innings with eight wickets in hand. This is a reasonably strong position to be in on the second day of a test match. This is especially so as the Australians have always struggled on the sub-continent with their spin-friendly pitches,
What does Sri Lanka have to do from here against Australia?
Well, the Sri Lankans need to build as much as they can on this first innings as they really only have quality batting down to No. 7. This means that they need to value the top-order wickets, which is something that they did not do in the first test. This was the main reason they lost that match.
Mendis and Angelo Mathews have to consolidate in the morning and see off the fresh Australian bowlers. Due to there being three days left in the test match, they can afford to grind it out for a while. They can then open up after the lunch break.
What Australia needs to do is to break this partnership early. It would be preferable to remove Mendis early and then try to run through the rest of the Sri Lankans. Hopefully, this means they can take a first-innings lead when they bat again. This is going to be crucial to take a 2-0 lead in the series