1-0! Lyon and Head – yep, Travis Head – rip through Sri Lanka for emphatic 10-wicket win

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Australia have thrashed Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in Galle, bowling the hosts out in a session and claiming their fastest Test victory in 20 years.

In a comprehensive display, Australia took only 22.5 overs to roll through Sri Lanka for 113 in their second innings on Friday, with Nathan Lyon and Travis Head taking four wickets each.

That left Australia needing five runs to win, with David Warner (10no) finishing the job inside an over with a four and a six.

The win came in 153.2 overs for the Test match, Australia’s fastest since they demolished Pakistan in Sharjah in 2002.

So quick did the morning move, Australia began and ended the first session with bat in hand after they resumed at 8-313 and were bowled out for 321.

Sri Lanka made a clear effort to go after Australia’s bowlers, following the same approach as the tourists with the bat.

Mitchell Starc’s first over went for 17, as Dimuth Karunaratne hit the quick for three boundaries and Pathum Nissanka another one with a perfect cover-drive.

But within four overs Australia had spinners on from both ends, and Sri Lanka quickly found themselves in a hole.

Three of Lyon’s wickets came from miscued sweep shots and another from a reverse sweep as his 4-31 went with his 5-90 in the first innings.

Kusal Mendis and Ramesh Mendis were both beaten by the offspinner’s turn and bounce, failing to get over balls and hitting them straight to backward square.

Swepson also got Nissanka sweeping on 14 when he trapped him lbw with one that didn’t turn too much, while it was his extra spin that later drew Oshada Fernando’s edge.

Fernando had earlier been substituted into the game with Sri Lanka’s veteran Angelo Mathews contracting COVID-19.

Mathews’ viewing from isolation in the team hotel would not have been enjoyable, with his team’s second innings the shortest in their Test history.

Sri Lanka’s misery was compounded when Head took his first Test wicket, spinning a ball a long way between Dinesh Chandimal’s bat and pad.

Allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva became his second Test victim three balls later, comically padding up to a delivery on middle stump.

Head took the last two wickets of the innings, bowling Jeffrey Vandersay and trapping Lasith Embuldeniya lbw to finish with figures of 4-10.

Australia were comprehensively beaten when they last visited Galle in 2016, spun out for 106 and 183 as Rangana Herath claimed a hat-trick and Sri Lanka wrapped up the series.

But the tourists have returned with a far better game plan this time, finding a way to unsettle an inexperienced Sri Lankan attack and run through their bats.

Usman Khawaja best exemplified that on days one and two as he swept and reverse-swept his way to 71, while Cameron Green used his long legs to nullify the hosts’ spin with his 77.

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