GALLE, SRI LANKA - JUNE 30: Cameron Green of Australia is congratulated by Alex Carey after marking 50 runs during day two of the First Test in the series between Sri Lanka and Australia at Galle International Stadium on June 30, 2022 in Galle, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

It was another bout of Australian dominance as the visitors continued to pile on the agony for a listless Sri Lanka, with just five wickets falling for the whole of day two.

Even as heavy rain washed out the morning session, Australia continued to bat freely, scoring at a brisk rate which rarely dipped below four-and-a-half runs per over.

Sri Lanka’s assortment of spinners could do little to blunt Australia’s batting on speed dial, and prising wickets at regular intervals proved to be the only viable solution to assert some damage control on their rapid scoring.

By then, Australia had already dealt a heavy blow, as they finished the day at eight for 313 with an ominous lead of 101 runs that in the context of this match is monumental and will keep Sri Lanka lagging behind for the remaining days.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom in the beginning for Sri Lanka on day two. Even with rain truncating the playing time for the day, Sri Lanka found reason to hope as Travis Head was dismissed just seven balls in by a spectacular caught and bowled from Dhananjaya De Silva, whose innocuous part-time off-spinners proved useful to provide an initial breakthrough for the home team.

At this point, Australia was four for 100 and there was every chance that a sniff of a Sri Lankan fightback in this innings could be on the cards. However Usman Khawaja, Alex Carey and Cameron Green didn’t get the memo.

Khawaja in particular looked unruffled and completely in control as he navigated and effectively blunted Sri Lanka’s toothless spin attack. He brought up his half-century off just 101 balls and received immense applause and cheers from the growing contingent of Australian fans at the Galle International Stadium.

Khawaja’s wristy, subcontinental style of batting was ideal in these conditions, as he regularly employed the flick, sweep and expansive cover drive against the spinners, making it increasingly difficult to set a consistent field for him as the day wore on.

He eventually fell for an impressive 71, handing Jeffrey Vandersay his first wicket via a sharp bat-pad catch off young Pathum Nissanka, who barely held the ball in his fingertips when he caught it.

Green then carried on where Khawaja had left off. The 23-year-old had been batting quietly up until this point, scoring just a handful of boundaries on his way to a half-century. He showed incredible patience and thoughtfulness in batting on a turning track, digging in and applying exceptional concentration even as wickets fell around him.

He was eventually trapped LBW for a masterful 77, falling prey to the off-spin of Ramesh Mendis who now had four wickets for the match. Green was the top-scorer for the Australians, and his innings proved vital in ensuring that the home team would last the whole day without losing any further wickets.

Carey soon joined in the fun, batting in one-day mode as he hit an enterprising 45 off just 47 balls that featured six boundaries that continued to frustrate Sri Lanka in their attempt to thwart Australia’s onslaught.

By then, serious questions were being asked of why Sri Lanka’s phalanx of spinners were unable to contain the visitors despite the match being played in their home conditions.

Further analysis soon showed that Australia’s spinners were actually extracting more turn and bounce off the Galle surface compared to Sri Lanka’s by an average of 2.6 degrees, citing that perhaps the home team needed to do more work on their bowling and not rely on the pitch to do favours for them.

Carey was soon dismissed attempting one big shot too many, as he advanced down the wicket to loft Ramesh Mendis over mid-off but could only sky a catch to a tumbling Dinesh Chandimal who caught it over his shoulder.

Mitchell Starc’s temporary resistance of 10 runs off 30 balls was ended again by Vandersay, who took an athletic low return catch and instilled some relief for Sri Lanka as the tail continued to wag for Australia.

Captain Pat Cummins also joined in on Australia’s big-hitting exhibition, launching a maximum off Vandersay over long-on which eventually landed on the road. By then, even the Sri Lankans had to crack a smile, as the locals began searching for the missing ball, village cricket style.

The day ended with Australia firmly in the driver’s seat, and Sri Lanka will be hoping that they can quickly take the final two wickets on day three to ensure that they can get out there and knock off the deficit as soon as possible.