Aussies hit back against Sri Lanka

Quick Jhye Richardson (centre) starred in his first Test innings with three wickets.
Quick Jhye Richardson (centre) starred in his first Test innings with three wickets.

Debutant Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins have given Australia their best start to a Test with the ball in almost two years with the hosts already halfway to eclipsing Sri Lanka's first-innings score.

After coach Justin Langer admitted his team felt like punching bags following their 2-1 loss to India this month, Australia's bowlers made a statement as they rolled Sri Lanka for just 144 to start the Gabba pink-ball Test.

Marcus Harris (40no) then helped Australia finish 2-72 on the opening night of the series, Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja the pair returned to the sheds.

Criticised for their lack of discipline against India earlier this summer, Australia's bowlers ran through the tourists with consistent lines and subtle movement.

Seven of Sri Lanka's first eight wickets came from edges behind, as Cummins claimed 4-39 and rookie Richardson 3-26 as he routed the top order.

The 22-year-old produced the delivery of the day to knock over the dangerous Kusal Mendis for 14, the ball swinging in before nipping away to take off-stump.

It headlined a dream start to Test cricket for the West Australian, who made Dinesh Chandimal his first scalp when the Sri Lankan captain edged to second slip on five.

Dhananjaya de Silva was his other victim, also edging an outswinger on five.

"To see the ball swing was a big key for me. If the ball is swinging I'm instantly more confident in what I am," Richardson said.

"I probably didn't feel as comfortable as I would have liked in my first couple of overs. It took me a little bit to get going.

"To get that first wicket releases a lot of emotion and built up tension you might have."

Mitchell Starc also claimed two wickets and Nathan Lyon one, with the tweaker's ball to dismiss opener Dimuth Karunaratne fizzing off the wicket and into his gloves.

Meanwhile Starc's twin scalps also made him the 17th Australian to claim 200 wickets, reaching the mark when he had Dilruwan Perera caught at third slip for one, before snaring Suranga Lakmal in his following over.

The effort marked the first time Australia dismissed a team for less than 150 in their first innings since February 2017.

After Sri Lanka won the toss, Cummins struck first when he had Lahiru Thirimanne edging for 12 before drawing a nick from Roshen Silva for nine.

He also claimed the key wicket of Niroshan Dickwella for 64 at deep mid-off, after the wicketkeeper-batsman's audacious stroke play included a scoop shot off Starc for six.

The visitors then made slight inroads late with the ball, when Burns edged Lakmal to second slip for 15 before Khawaja chopped on Perera for 11 just 10 minutes before stumps.

Australian Associated Press