Lyon confident ahead of chase

Australia

Australia are yet to find out exactly how much they will be chasing in their second innings but spinner Nathan Lyon is confident the Baggy Green's can do the business.

According to Lyon, Kusal Mendis has shown the way forward and exposed the pitch as being easier to bat on than initially thought.

Speaking to the Canberra Times after play, Lyon said: "We will look to chase down whatever they set us. It has been proven today (Thursday) if you have the game, a simple batting plan, there are no demons out there," he said. "You can score runs out there. That's one big positive – it's been proven we can score runs."

Despite losing quick wickets early on, Mendis rallied the lower order around himself and helped Sri Lanka build a lead.

The pitch seemed easier to bat on, but Lyon gave credit to Mendis: "It's probably got a tad easier to bat but you have got to give credit where credit is due. I think the young fella, to get 170, has batted out of his skin, has batted extremely well,

"We have missed our half chances. It's been a tough day for the Australian bowlers but the good thing about Test cricket is we will bounce back tomorrow and look forward to taking the new ball and, hopefully, taking some early wickets and then get batting.

"He had a simple game plan and he stuck to it the whole day. He has steered them into a strong position I guess but we are confident enough to come out and take early wickets and then get batting."

Lyon's spin twin Steve O'Keefe had to leave the field injured, which the spinner felt hurt Australia: "I feel sorry for Steve. He is one of my good mates. To see him injury himself … go off the field and for Australia to lose a vital member of our bowling attack, it's a pretty big loss for us,

"To lose someone like (Steve), a quality bowler on a wicket like that – a couple are spinning, a couple are sliding straight on – he is very talented in these conditions, so it was a big loss. Injuries happen in cricket. As a bowling unit, we have got to bounce back and pull together and fill in for him."

Sri Lanka will resume play on day four on 282/6 with Mendis unbeaten on 169.

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