Rain forces early end on Day Two

The host, bundled out for 117 in the first innings, lost opener Kusal Perera to fast bowler Mitchell Starc when rain forced an early tea and eventually the second day's play was called off.

Rangana Herath during the first Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia.   -  REUTERS

Australia grabbed a handy 86-run lead in the first innings over Sri Lanka and dealt an early blow with the new ball before rain washed out the entire final session for the second consecutive day in the first Test in Pallekele on Wednesday.

The host, bundled out for 117 in the first innings, lost opener Kusal Perera to fast bowler Mitchell Starc when rain forced an early tea and eventually the second day's play was called off.

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Kaushal Silva was batting on two with Sri Lanka still 80 runs behind in the bowler-dominated first match of the three-Test series.

Earlier, the spin duo of veteran Rangana Herath (4-49) and debutant Lakshan Sandakan (4-58) shared eight wickets between them to keep Sri Lanka in the contest despite its capitulation in the first innings.

Resuming on 66-2, Australia lost both the overnight batsmen to Herath who quit limited-overs cricket in April to focus on the longest format of the game.

Australia skipper Steve Smith (30) threw his wicket away in the second over of the day, dancing down the track to try and slog the left-arm spinner only to miss the line and be stumped.

Herath returned to dismiss Usman Khawaja (26) in his next over, trapping him leg-before with a turning delivery.

Adam Voges (47) survived a vociferous leg-before appeal in the very first delivery he faced from Herath but went on to make the highest individual score so far in the Test.

Mitchell Marsh (31) ran hard between wickets and helped himself to five boundaries before becoming left-arm Chinaman bowler Sandakan's maiden Test victim.

Paceman Nuwan Pradeep, who had dismissed Australia opener David Warner for a duck on the first day, claimed the crucial wicket of Voges.

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