GALLE: Australian fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc took a wicket each to rattle Sri Lanka’s top order after the hosts chose to bat in the opening Test of the two-match series on Wednesday.
The hosts were 68 for two at lunch at the picturesque Galle International Stadium, which saw some rain in the morning.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was on 25 and Angelo Mathews on 15 at the break in their effort to rebuild the innings.
The left-handed Karunaratne started cautiously with opening partner Pathum Nissanka but Cummins broke through in the fifth over of an incisive spell from the Australian captain.
Nissanka edged a back-of-a length delivery outside the off stump into the gloves of wicketkeeper Alex Carey. He made 23.
Spin was introduced in the sixth over with Nathan Lyon taking over from Cummins.
Starc, a left-arm quick, returned to send back Kusal Mendis caught behind for three as Sri Lanka slipped to 42-2 on a pitch where spin usually dominates.
Lyon kept up the pressure with his off-spin and was joined by leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson towards the end of the session.
Australia were unchanged from the team that secured a 1-0 series win over Pakistan in March.
Sri Lanka, who whitewashed the tourists 3-0 in 2016, handed leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay his Test debut.
The island nation, which won the preceding one-day internationals series 3-2, is battling an unprecedented economic crisis and people in Galle are struggling to buy fuel and other essential goods.