Sri Lanka v Australia: Day one, Test three; 214 for 5, Dhananjaya secures SL

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 04:43 GMT, Aug 14, 2016 |

A fighting maiden Test century from Dhananjaya de Silva and an equally stubborn half-century from Dinesh Chandimal helped Sri Lanka recover from deep trouble on the first day of the third and final Test against Australia at Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo on Saturday (August 13).

Sri Lanka was reduced to 26 for 5 within 17 overs, and was in danger of being shot out cheaply, but the sixth wicket pair of de Silva (116 not out) and Chandimal (64 not out) fought back with a stunning unbroken 188-run stand to take their side to 214 for 5 from 90 overs.

Sri Lanka opted to bat first after winning the toss, but it was Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon who called the shots early on, wiping out the top order.

Lyon, meanwhile, kept the pressure from the other end, having Kusal Perera edging to slip. A lot depended on the experienced Angelo Mathews but the Sri Lankan skipper too fell cheaply, sweeping Lyon to fine leg.

At 26 for 5, Australia completely dominated the first hour but little did they realise that that would be their last celebration for the day.

The remaining part of the day was all about de Silva and Chandimal. The impressive aspect of their stand was that it wasn’t a counter-attack, but a fightback through grit and incredible temperament. It was backed by a sturdy technique too – de Silva and Chandimal played late to negotiate testing spells from the spinners and paced their knocks well.

While Chandimal took 204 balls for his 64, de Silva impressed with some classical strokes, flicking the spinners and driving the pacers for boundaries. He went past his maiden ton cutting Steven Smith to the boundary and had faced 240 balls by the end of the day.