Galle: Sri Lanka bowlers Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal took three wickets apiece to dismiss Australia for a modest 273 on the opening day of the first cricket Test on Wednesday.
Mike Hussey fought a lone battle for Australia with 95, unable to find partners for lengthy stands. He faced 177 balls and hit three sixes and seven boundaries at Galle International Stadium. On the brink of a 14th test hundred, Hussey was last man out, lbw to Tillakratne Dilshan on the off stump, and confirmed by video review.
The Sri Lanka batsmen walked out to the middle to face the 20 deliveries remaining for the day but the umpires called off play due to bad light.
Phil Hughes who is making a comeback into the Australian Test team opened the batting for his side.
Left-arm spinner Herath picked up the top-order wickets of Shane Watson (22), Ricky Ponting (44) and captain Michael Clarke (23) to finish with 3-54. Lakmal had 3-55.
Clarke won the toss and elected to bat first in a match delayed by one hour because of morning rain.
Watson started with his usual aggression and looked to seize early control by hitting left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara for four boundaries in a single over. But the introduction of Herath with a newer ball produced immediate results. Herath ousted Watson with his first ball, having him caught by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene for 22.
Lakmal then surprised Phil Hughes with a rising ball that went for an easy catch to Tharanga Paranavitana at first slip. Hughes made 12.
Clarke combined with his predecessor, Ponting, in taking Australia to lunch on 76-2.
In the middle session, Clarke was first to be dismissed when he misread a straight delivery from Herath and was trapped lbw, ending a 55-run partnership with Ponting.
Ponting batted with confidence and looked set for a bigger score but his aggression led him to mistime a shot against Herath for a catch to Angelo Mathews on 112-4. He hit six boundaries in his 44 runs.
Hussey and Usman Khawaja shared a 45-run partnership but seamer Welegedara bowled Khawaja (21) to end the stand on the stroke of tea.
Brad Haddin's dismissal by Randiv after tea for 24 on 205-6 exposed a tail which couldn't support Hussey long enough, and lasted only 19 more overs.