CANBERRA: Fast bowler Mitchell Starc picked up his second five-wicket haul in the match to lead Australia to a comprehensive 366-run victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka and a 2-0 series win at Manuka Oval on Monday.
Chasing an improbable 516 for victory, the tourists were shot out for 149 by Australia, who won the opening Test in Brisbane by an innings and 40 runs.
The series win against Sri Lanka was the first for Australia since they thrashed England 4-0 in the Ashes early last year.
“It’s nice to get some reward. I’ve said all summer this group has been working really hard,” Australia captain Tim Paine said after the win. “I think we’re starting to build towards something so it’s great to get some reward for the work we’ve been putting in.
“It doesn’t matter what the wicket is like or who you are playing against.”
Left-arm quick Starc bowled with the same aggression and pace that earned him a five-wicket haul in the first innings to finish with 5-46 and only his second match haul of 10 wickets.
Starc’s only other 10-wicket haul in a match was also against Sri Lanka when he took 11-94 in a 2016 Test in Galle.
Man-of-the-match Starc began the day adding the wickets of opener Dimuth Karunaratne and Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal to his tally.
The paceman got a fast delivery to cut back into Karunaratne, who failed to add to his overnight score of eight, and breached his defence clipping the leg bail.
Chandimal was out for four when he guided Starc straight into the hands of Marnus Labuschagne at slip which ended a dismal tour for the right-hander, who aggregated 24 runs from four innings.
“We were outplayed as a team in all three departments,” a dejected Chandimal, who said he was disappointed with his own performance, told reporters. “Credit goes to Australia, they have played some outstanding cricket throughout the series.
“We need to work harder… specially as a batting unit we have to step up. That’s the one are we are concerned about.”
Sri Lanka promoted Niroshan Dickwella, who had made an attacking 64 in Brisbane, and he and opener Lahiru Thirimanne added 30 for the third wicket.
A sharply climbing delivery from Pat Cummins ended Thirimanne’s knock of 30 when the fast bowler sprinted forward to take a diving return catch inches off the ground.
Starc returned for his second spell to dismiss Dickwella (27) and Kusal Perera, who was cleared to bat on Monday after being hit on the helmet by a bouncer on the third morning, in successive deliveries to take his match haul to nine.
Dhananjaya de Silva kept out the hat-trick delivery but fell right after the lunch interval to Jhye Richardson, spooning a catch to the mid-on fielder.
Kusal Mendis and Chamika Karunaratne stalled Australia’s victory march with a seventh-wicket stand of 46 before the former found the fielder at cover with an uppish drive against leg-spinner Labuschagne.
Mendis fell for 42 while Chamika edged Cummins to be out for 22 as Australia inched closer to victory.
Paine brought Starc back to give him a chance to complete his 10-wicket haul and the quick bowled out Vishwa Fernando to complete the mark.
Cummins finished with 3-15 and was adjudged man-of-the-series for his haul of 14 wickets from the two Tests.
The defeat extended a dire run of Test results for troubled Sri Lanka, who were missing their three injured strike bowlers in Canberra.
They have now lost a home series to England 3-0, then away to New Zealand 1-0 to go with their two defeats in Australia.
Australia ended their summer on a high after losing an intense home series against top-ranked India. While they were outplayed by Virat Kohli’s men, they at least broke a century drought stretching back to October in Canberra.
Starc’s Canberra performance cemented his place in the side, while Richardson emerged as a handy compliment to fellow pace bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Cummins.
AUSTRALIA (1st Innings) 534-5 declared (J.A. Burns 180, T.M. Head 161, K.R. Patterson 114 not out; M.V.T. Fernando 3-126).
SRI LANKA (1st Innings) 215 (F.D.M. Karunaratne 59; M.A. Starc 5-54).
AUSTRALIA (2nd Innings) 196-3 declared (U.T. Khawaja 101 not out, T.M. Head 59 not out).
SRI LANKA (2nd Innings, overnight 17-0):
F.D.M. Karunaratne b Starc 8
H.D.R.L. Thirimanne c and b Cummins 30
L.D. Chandimal c L’chagne b Starc 4
N. Dickwella b Starc 27
B.K.G. Mendis c Patterson b L’chagne 42
M.D.K.J. Perera c Paine b Starc 0
D.M. de Silva c Head b Richardson 6
C. Karunaratne c Paine b Cummins 22
M.K.D. Perera c Paine b Cummins 4
C.A.K. Rajitha not out 2
M.V.T. Fernando b Starc 0
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-1, W-2) 4
TOTAL (all out, 51 overs) 149
FALL OF WKTS: 1-18, 2-28, 3-58, 4-83, 5-83, 6-97, 7-143, 8-143, 9-148.
BOWLING: Starc 18-2-46-5; Richardson 9-1-29-1; Lyon 13-1-51-0; Cummins 8-2-15-3; Labuschagne 3-1-6-1.
RESULT: Australia won by 366 runs to win two-match series 2-0.
UMPIRES: R.K. Illingworth (England) and M.A. Gough (England).
TV UMPIRE: M. Erasmus (South Africa).
MATCH REFEREE: J. Srinath (India).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Mitchell Starc.
MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Pat Cummins.
FIRST TEST: Brisbane, Australia won by an innings and 40 runs.
Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2019