David Warner
David Warner

Australia's bowlers have ripped through Sri Lanka's tail to dismiss the tourists for 294 late on day one of the third Test at the SCG on Thursday.

The visitors looked on course for a sizeable total as they worked their way to 5-250 thanks to impressive knocks by youngster Lahiru Thirimanne (91) and skipper Mahela Jayawardene (72).

But the dismissal of Thirimanne late in the final session sparked a collapse with Sri Lanka losing their last five wickets for just 44 runs in front of more than 26,000 people in Sydney.

Test newcomer Jackson Bird (4-41) was the chief destroyer while the returning Mitchell Starc (3-71) was also impressive as the Australian bowlers eventually justified skipper Michael Clarke's decision to field first.

The Aussies will now aim to pile on the runs on day two as they look to complete a series clean sweep and send retiring batsman Michael Hussey out on a high.

While Mitchell Johnson (0-58) couldn't repeat his heroics from Melbourne, Peter Siddle (2-46) and off-spinner Nathan Lyon (1-69) chipped in at crucial times to restrict the tourists to under 300.

They looked odds-on to get much more than that after standing up to Australia's four-pronged pace attack in the first two sessions.

But things turned sour when Thirimanne was dismissed inside the last hour.

And he will be kicking himself for missing out on a maiden Test ton after throwing his wicket away just nine runs short of his century.

The 23-year-old, who only arrived in Australia two days ago, had averaged less than 20 in his seven previous Test matches but dominated all the bowlers in a fantastic knock.

He did have a little bit of luck when he was given out lbw on the first ball he faced, only to be given a reprieve by the third umpire upon review.

Thirimanne also got another life on 65 when he got a faint edge off Lyon which bounced wickedly and hit wicketkeeper Matthew Wade on the shoulder before falling to the turf.

And he made the most of the let-offs in a 151-ball stay, which included 13 fours and one massive six.

But it was an attempt at another expansive shot off Lyon that brought about his undoing, slicing a drive high to point where David Warner took an impressive diving catch.

Thirimanne received terrific support from skipper Jayawardene in the middle session before Angelo Mathews (15) and Dinesh Chandimal (24) both contributed to good partnerships.

That pair both fell victim to Starc, with Hussey taking a smart catch to remove Mathews, while Chandimal was beaten by a vicious yorker.

Hussey, who dropped Jayawardene early in his innings, finished with three catches but will be desperate to contribute with the bat on Friday.

After collapsing horribly to lose in two-and-a-half days in Melbourne, Sri Lanka's wounded and fragile lower order again folded meekly to hand the initiative back to the hosts.

Dhammika Prasad (two), Rangana Herath (five) and Suranga Lakmal (five) all went in quick succession once Australia took the new ball.

Earlier, Bird continued where he left off from his Test debut in Melbourne by taking the wicket of both openers in the first session.

The Tasmanian quick dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne (five) when he miscued an attempted pull shot before he had Tillakaratne Dilshan (34) caught behind.

Jayawardene and Thirimanne put on a valuable 62 runs for the third wicket before an inspired bowling change saw Starc strike with the first ball of his new spell.

Clarke took a sharp catch at first slip to remove his opposite number but only after the left-armer survived a close call on a front-foot no-ball.

Siddle got in on the act late in the middle session by snaring Thilan Samaraweera lbw as the vulnerable and wounded visitors showed tremendous resolve to get to 4-169 at tea.

But despite being in a strong position late in the final session, Thirimanne's soft dismissal triggered a flood of wickets which handed first-day honours to Australia.


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