Win Warne-Muralitharan trophy for first time :

Lanka flatten Test champs

SA’ADI THAWFEEQ reporting from Galle

GALLE: Sri Lanka laid their hands on the Warne-Muralitharan trophy for the first time since its inception in 2007 when they completed a comprehensive 229-run win over the world’s no. 1 ranked Test team Australia, 35 minutes after lunch on the third day of the second Test to take a winning 2-0 lead in the three-match series at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.

Sri Lanka won the first Test at Pallekele by 106 runs. Australia were already up against it when they resumed at a shaky 25 for three chasing an imposing target of 413 and it was no surprise when they lost their remaining wickets for 158 runs to be dismissed for 183 with off-spinner Dilruwan Perera grabbing the limelight from the other two spinners Rangana Herath and Lakshan Sandakan by capturing ten wickets for 99 to take the man of the match award.

Apart from Muthiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath the only other spinners who have captured ten wickets or more in a Test match were Ajantha Mendis (10/209) v India at Galle 2008 and Upul Chandana (10/210) v Australia at Cairns in 2004.

Perera for so long the unsung hero with Herath always grabbing the limelight came to his own at his favourite venue where he has captured 29 of his 55 Test wickets to sow the seeds of doubt on the minds of the Australian batters. None of them played him with any degree of comfort. While some played for the turn and were bowled the others were befuddled by his off-breaks that

bit the surface and caught them on the wrong foot.

It was the first time Perera who plays for Colts CC in the Premier League had taken a match bag of ten or more in a Test and his figures of six for 70 was also another career best effort. In addition to his quality spin Perera also displayed his prowess as a batsman top scoring for his team in the second innings with a useful 64 off 89 balls. Following the heroics of Herath at Pallekele and in the first innings here where he became only the second Sri Lankan bowler to perform the hat-trick, and Lakshan Sandakan’s memorable debut also at Pallekele, it was the turn

of Perera to come to the party. Criticised by his captain Angelo Mathews for his poor bowling at Pallekele,Perera came roaring back to send the Australians tumbling to defeat. At the same time Perera also became the quickest Sri Lankan bowler to 50 Test wickets achieving it in 11 Tests to beat Ajantha Mendis who reached it in 12.

Sri Lanka it seems work their bowling heroes in rotation to torment the hapless Australian batsmen who have shown in the two Tests so far that they are nowhere near to tackling the spin tracks of the subcontinent. Australia have now gone through eight consecutive defeats in Tests in the subcontinent losing 0-4 to India in 2013, 0-2 to Pakistan in 2014 and now trailing Sri Lanka 0-2. However much of preparations they may have gone through there is nothing like facing the spinners in reality in the middle and the Australian batsmen gave a feeble display against quality spin bowling at Galleyesterday.

The bottom line is that the no. 1 ranked Test team in the world cannot play spin which questions the rankings of a Test nation. The series loss to Sri Lanka means that Australia lose their number oneposition in the Test rankings.

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