Lunch Sri Lanka 68 for 2 (Karunaratne 25*, Nissanka 23, Cummins 1-12, Starc 1-24) v Australia

Australia quicks Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc made key breakthroughs in an absorbing first session after Sri Lanka won a crucial toss as the ball spun sharply and exploded from the surface in the first hour at Galle.

The hosts scrapped to 68 for 2 from 27 overs at lunch with skipper Dimuth Karunaratne unbeaten on 25 and Angelo Mathews on 15 not out.

Sri Lanka picked three specialist spinners prior to winning the toss and batting first while Australia only picked two, with Jeffrey Vandersay presented his first Test cap. The decision by the hosts to load up on spin looked vindicated in the sixth over of the day when Nathan Lyon was called into the attack.

Lyon’s first ball drifted into middle and leg, brought up a puff of dust after pitching, spun sharply past the edge and bounced so prodigiously it hit Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey in the grill of his helmet before he had a chance to get his gloves up. Steven Smith immediately gestured to Cummins to get a second slip in as Carey had to do a mandatory concussion test despite having a wry smile on his face.

Lyon bowled unchanged from that point until lunch and caused problems without making a breakthrough. He was bowling through some discomfort with the Australia team physio attending to him several times during the session. It was the quicks who prospered at the other end as both Cummins and Starc got balls to explode from a length to cause doubt in the batters’ minds.

Pathum Nissanka, who played nicely for 23 including a couple of lovely pull shots, fell right on drinks trying to force a ball square off the back foot with Cummins’ extra bounce catching his outside edge. Kusal Mendis then nicked off not long after trying to square drive a wide half-volley from Starc that tailed away from him.

Karunaratne batted through the first session without ever looking comfortable. He hit one glorious cover drive off Starc but was continually troubled by Lyon and was dropped at silly mid-off by Marnus Labuschagne. It was an incredibly difficult chance, though, having been pushed hard at him from the middle of the bat. He produced one pressure release slog sweep over deep midwicket against the spin.

The Sri Lanka captain would be delighted with winning the toss. Only three teams have lost in Galle of the 20 that have won the toss and batted first. Sri Lanka suffered two of those losses against England in Galle last year.

Swepson, who was under pressure to keep his place in Australia’s unchanged team pre-game, looked dangerous in a short spell before lunch with some balls spinning sharply and others skidding through.

Australia stuck with the side that succeeded in Pakistan with Travis Head passed fit after recovering from a hamstring strain.