Sri Lanka lose, but not without a fight

Australia

Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews dug deep to thwart Australia's charge, but in the end the tourists landed a sound 125-run win on day four of the first Test at Galle.

Mahela Jayawardene (105) and Angelo Mathews (95) dug deep to thwart Australia's charge, but in the end the tourists landed a sound 125-run win on day four of the first Test at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday.

The duo picked up where they left off at 120 for five at stumps on day three with a determined 142-run stand – the highest Test partnership for Sri Lanka against Australia – to have the tourists, 192 runs in the black at the lunch interval , slightly worried at the break.

The visiting seamers toiled with an old ball on a pitch void of much seam and no swing whatsoever, while the spinners battled through conditions offering less turn than on days one, two and three.

The middle session and the arrival of the new cherry, however, saw Michael Clarke's men return the status quo to proceedings and romp to first blood of the three-match series.

Jayawardene and Mathews' action rearguard action was ultimately ended by fast bowler Ryan Harris, who having ripped through the opposition's top order a day prior, returned to complete his five-for.

Sound on the front-foot defence at every turn and with the 29th century of his Test career – the same number as the late, great Sir Donald Bradman – in the bag, the veteran was eventually undone by a delivery that swung a touch, moved a bit off the seam and beat the near impenetrable right-hander.

The final link between the specialist batsmen and the tail-enders, the former captain knew his departure probably spelled the beginning of the end for the hosts.

It did.

Right-armer Harris, with Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson pitching in, continued to use the new ball to good effect where fellow seamer Trent Copeland had earlier coughed up a rather docile approach.

Suraj Randiv and Mathews, with no individual nor collective intent to shepherd the latter to a century, promptly perished. Running out of options, partners and time, the all-rounder opted to tee off in a bid to reach a maiden Test ton.

He never got there, instead playing down the wrong line to Watson and listening in despair as the stumps rattled as he departed in the 90s for the second time in his career.

Spinner Nathan Lyon, convincing in the first innings but not so much the second time around, sealed the deal when Suranga Lakmal holed out in the deep. Ponting – now the part of a triumphant Test unit a record 100 times – was first at the celebratory huddle.

Mike Hussey – for his dogged 95 in Australia's first knock – was named Man of the Match, though many schools of thought would've afforded the accolade to one of Lyon or Harris for their five-wicket hauls in Sri Lanka's first and second dig respectively.

<B>Jonhenry Wilson</B>

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