A resurgent Mitchell Starc yesterday took five wickets as Australia wrapped up a confidence-boosting 2-0 series thrashing of Sri Lanka, with the tourists skittled for 149 in the second Test in Canberra.
In front of a sparse crowd on the fourth day, Sri Lanka resumed on 17 without loss, needing a daunting 516 to win and ending 366 short.
There was little resistance from the understrength visitors, who wilted under a pace onslaught led by spearhead Starc, who ended with 5-46 and took 10 wickets in the game as he emphatically bounced back from a lean spell.
“It’s nice to get some reward. I’ve said all summer this group has been working really hard,” Australia skipper Tim Paine said. “I think we’re starting to build towards something, so it’s great to get some reward for the work we’ve been putting in.”
He was especially pleased with his bowlers, who worked well as a unit.
“The wicket didn’t offer a lot, but they kept smacking away and bowled beautifully. For our group to get some belief out of this will be excellent moving forward,” he said.
Paine set the big run-chase after declaring Australia’s second innings at 196-3, following their mammoth first innings 534-5 declared.
Sri Lanka were bowled out for 215 in reply.
“We were outplayed as a team in all departments,” Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal said.
“Credit goes to Australia. They have played some outstanding cricket throughout the series. It was really tough. Especially in the last six months we couldn’t get the right combination to finalize our best XI,” he said.
The loss extended a dire run of Test results for troubled Sri Lanka, who were missing their three injured strike bowlers in Canberra.
They have now lost a home series to England 3-0, then away to New Zealand 1-0 to go with their two defeats in Australia.
Australia won the first Test in Brisbane by an innings and 40 runs, and end their summer on a high after losing an intense home series against top-ranked India.
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