Sri Lanka ended the first day's play at Galle with a slight advantage over Australia in the second Test. After winning the toss and opting to bat, the hosts were bowled out for 281, before reducing Australia to 54/2 at stumps. After a wobbly start, the Lankans were yet again bailed out by a sterling batting display from Kusal Mendis (86), who thrived under pressure. Kusal Perera (49) curbed his attacking instincts to play an important hand in a 108-run partnership with Mendis. Mitchell Starc scalped a five-for, while Nathan Lyon took two wickets.
Australia lost Joe Burns early, but David Warner (42) blazed away in his characteristic manner, piercing the field and bringing up as many as seven boundaries, before edging Dilruwan Perera to Angelo Mathews at first slip in the last over of the day. Warner's wicket meant that both teams ended the day on par with each other.
Earlier, Dimuth Karunaratne joined an unwanted list of batsmen who were dismissed on the first delivery of the day's play. He clipped a harmless Starc delivery to the leg side, as Burns pouched a safe catch at mid-wicket. This series has been a nightmare for openers and the trend continued when Kaushal Silva was squared up by Starc, and Peter Nevill took a safe catch behind the stumps.
Australia were riding high with Sri Lanka at 9/2 and the hosts needed a big partnership. There weren't that many demons on the pitch either. Yet again, Mendis wonderfully mixed caution with attacking strokeplay. The naturally aggressive Kusal Perera was playing for a place in the side. He was in no mood to pass up the chance as he took his time at the crease. As the threat of the pacers slowly took a backseat, the batsmen started playing their shots.
Mendis scores his runs in clusters and, once again, he was getting boundaries in quick succession. Perera joined in and it was the spinners who were the target. It was wild slogging that was getting the boundaries, as Nathan Lyon and Jon Holland went for quite a leather hunt. Lyon won honours back by tempting Perera to poke outside the off-stump, only to edge it to Steve Smith.
Strangely, instead of trying to consolidate, the Lankans continued to go after the bowling. Using his feet at will, Mathews smashed three huge sixes back past the bowler's head. Mendis took a review after being adjudged leg-before and it landed in his favour. He didn't last much longer after that, and became Starc's 100th Test wicket.
After reaching his fifty, Mathews played a poor shot off Mitchell Marsh to give a simple catch to the 'keeper. Warner, after a miserable first Test, got into his groove, but a rash stroke edged the ball to the slips, in what was the final act of the day's play.
Sri Lanka 281 (Kusal Mendis 86, Angelo Mathews 54, Kusal Perera 54; Mitchell Starc 5/44) lead Australia 54/2 (David Warner 42; Dilruwan Perera 1/14) by 227 runs.