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).

Related items

  • Anderson ready to back aggressive approach as England prepare for Pakistan Test return Anderson ready to back aggressive approach as England prepare for Pakistan Test return

    James Anderson has backed Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum's aggressive approach ahead of England's first Test against Pakistan, but acknowledges they are in the dark over what to expect on the pitch.

    The tourists kick off a three-match series in Rawalpindi on December 1, marking their first return to the country for red-ball cricket since 2005.

    England had not toured Pakistan in the wake of the Sri Lanka bus attack in 2009 until September this year, when they returned to the nation for a seven-game T20 series ahead of the World Cup.

    But having won six out of seven Tests on home turf under an all-guns-blazing approach from captain Stokes and coach McCullum, Anderson is ready to maintain the momentum on their trip overseas.

    "We've got a captain and coach that don't want draws," the 40-year-old told BBC Sport. "We're not playing for draws.

    "We don't know how it's going to play. Traditionally it is flat. We'll come out and try to win the game - we might have to be creative in how we do that."

    Though a member of the party for England's last Test tour of Pakistan in 2005, Anderson did not feature, but he did play in a string of ODI matches.

    That means the veteran red-ball specialist is in the dark on what to expect from his wicket, although he says he is still delighted to finally get the chance to play the longer format there.

    "It's great to be back," he said. "Seventeen years is a long time. It would be wrong if I said, 'The pitch is going to play like this', or, 'This is what to expect'.

    "There will be times when we have to soak up pressure. We get that.

    "But there will be times when we have to put pressure back on the opposition and the skill we're trying to develop is when to do that.

    "With the ball we're trying to take wickets. The captain and coach have made that quite clear - every time you run in to bowl it's about taking wickets - not about controlling the run-rate. It's about how we're going to get 20 wickets."

  • Cummins insists 'there's no cowards' in the Australia team Cummins insists 'there's no cowards' in the Australia team

    Australia Test captain Pat Cummins says there are no cowards in the team in light of Justin Langer's recent comments following his acrimonious exit as coach earlier this year.

    Cummins, speaking ahead of the first Test against the West Indies that starts in Perth on Wednesday, insisted there was no "ill will" towards Langer.

    Langer criticised anonymous "cowards" who leaked information against him during his time as Australia coach, when speaking to the Back Chat podcast which was released last week.

    The ex-Australian opener, who ultimately resigned from the role in February after only being offered a short-term extension, had tried to backtrack from those comments, stating the players were "like my younger brothers".

    Cummins moved to defend his teammates on Tuesday but reiterated there were no hard feelings with Langer.

    "There's no cowards in an Australian cricket team, not ever," Cummins told reporters. "I'd probably never disclose private conversations.

    "I think it's disappointing sometimes the focus gets drawn to off-field issues but it hasn't really affected our team."

    Cummins added: "I think there's no ill will to what he was trying to do and he clarified afterwards.

    "I think he had a think about it and clarified it, so thank him for that. But we're really proud of the last 12 months, how we've fronted up, the way we've played, the way we've conducted ourselves. Players can certainly hold their heads high."

    Cummins confirmed no surprises in the side's XI for the first Test with fast bowler Scott Boland and opening batsman Marcus Harris to be the two players to miss out from Australia's 13-man squad.

    "To be honest it is the most stable team I have played in ever," Cummins said. "You could probably have picked the side 12 months ago, I feel like we are in a good spot.

    "Everyone has done well to get them fit and firing for this series and we’re in a really good place. Easy decision."

  • England captain Stokes to donate Pakistan match fees to flood relief appeal England captain Stokes to donate Pakistan match fees to flood relief appeal

    England captain Ben Stokes says he will donate his match fees to the Pakistan Floods Appeal during his side's Test tour of the country this week.

    The tourists will kick off their three-match series in Rawalpindi on Thursday, in what is their first visit for red-ball cricket since 2005.

    Stokes, who helped fire England to T20 World Cup glory against Pakistan in Australia earlier this month, is taking charge of his first overseas trip since succeeding Joe Root as captain.

    But amid fierce weather that rocked the country earlier this year, the captain says he will be donating his earnings from the tour to relief causes throughout his stay.

    "The floods that devastated Pakistan earlier this year [were] very sad to see," he wrote in a statement on social media.

    "The game has given me a lot in my life and I feel it's only right to give something back that goes far beyond cricket."

    Meanwhile, head coach Brendon McCullum says his side will be looking to maintain an offensive approach to their game after a successful year so far.

    England won six of their seven Tests on home soil earlier this year and the New Zealander says there will be no change for their journey abroad.

    "We'll be pushing for results, but we want to play entertaining cricket," he told BBC Sport. "There may be a time where you risk losing to win and if Pakistan are good enough to beat us, that's cool too."

    "Our goal is to make Test cricket a sport which people want to turn on and be prepared to pay their money for, and they walk away entertained.

    "With some of the conditions we'll be faced with, it might push us into that more aggressive style, which we like anyway."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.