Head hails 'massive' Karunaratne wicket as Australia seize command

Pat Cummins' dismissal of Dimuth Karunaratne with the last ball of day two was massive for Australia, says Travis Head.

Travis Head hailed Pat Cummins' dismissal of Dimuth Karunaratne with the last ball of day two as "massive" after Australia took command of the first Test against Sri Lanka.

Head was instrumental in helping Australia build a big lead in the day-night Test at The Gabba, top-scoring with 84 - his best effort in the five-day game - as the host was bowled out for 323 in response to Sri Lanka's meagre first-innings total of 144.

READ | Head and Labuschagne put Aussies in command

The tourist then put on 17 before Cummins, who took 4-39 in the first innings, tempted Karunaratne with an outswinger that the opener edged to Tim Paine to leave Sri Lanka with just nine wickets and still trailing by 162.

"Massive wicket," Head said. "Knowing that we can get a result there under lights, it's nice to get them one down and nice to break the left-handers up.

"We get left and right now and the way Jhye [Richardson] and Pat bowled against the right-handers yesterday, swinging the ball away, we can put them under pressure in the morning.

"Hopefully the ball swings and Starcy [Mitchell Starc] gets us back up on the line and we get a good start."

A 166-run fifth-wicket partnership between Head and Marnus Labuschagne (81) was crucial for Australia, who had been struggling on 82-4.

"It was very important for the team," Head added. "To put us in a great position leading into day three, leading by 160 runs – it's fantastic.

"It was enjoyable batting out there with Marny. He left the ball beautifully, he knows The Gabba really well and the way he played was outstanding."

Suranga Lakmal was the main bright spot for Sri Lanka as he posted figures of 5-75, and he is optimistic they can turn the game on its head.

"We are still in the game and we need to bat as long as we can and take a lead and put some pressure [on Australia] after tomorrow," Lakmal said.

"I treasure the Australian five [wickets] because I always had a dream of achieving a five-wicket haul in Australia and it's a dream come true."