Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera bagged six wickets to fashion Sri Lanka’s historic series win over Australia Saturday as the world number one side suffered a humiliating 229-run loss inside three days in the second Test in Galle.
Australia, chasing a challenging 413 for victory, were bundled out for 183 after lunch as Sri Lanka, who won their last series against the visitors in 1999, took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match rubber.
Veteran spinner Rangana Herath set up the win for the hosts with his maiden Test hat-trick which helped dismiss Australia for a record low of 106 in their first innings.
Australia faltered in their second outing as well after Perera, who registered his career-best figures of 6-70, sent the visitors packing in just 50.1 overs as the Sri Lankan players went into a celebratory huddle.
“Not too many teams do this to the number one team. I thought we played some outstanding cricket throughout the first and the second Test,” Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews said.
Overnight batsmen David Warner and skipper Steven Smith offered some resistance with their 51-run fourth wicket partnership but both of them fell to Perera’s guile.
Warner, who tried to counter attack during his 31-ball 41, was trapped lbw off a straighter Perera delivery that hit the batsman on the front pad.
Smith (30), who used his feet well against the spinners during his 58-ball stay, was the next to go as he gave away a catch at backward short leg.
Perera, who bagged 10 wickets in the match, then bowled Adam Voges for 28 to register his fourth five-wicket haul in 11 Test matches.
“What a performance from Dilruwan (Perera) after a quiet match in Pallekele. We backed him and the selectors backed him,” said Mathews of his bowling allrounder, who also top-scored a useful 64 in the second innings.
But it was Herath’s left-arm spin that did the early damage in a match dominated by Sri Lankan slow bowlers.
Herath and Perera shared four wickets between them on a chaotic second day which saw the fall of 21 wickets and put the match on the fast track.
The 38-year-old Herath, who became only the second Sri Lankan to claim a hat-trick after former pacer Nuwan Zoysa, dismissed Voges, Peter Nevill and Mitchell Starc off consecutive deliveries.
Australia’s pace spearhead Starc though made his presence felt on a track that offered little help to the fast bowlers with his career-best match figures of 11-94.
But Starc’s standout show for the Australia did little to help the team’s dismal record in the sub-continent.
Australia’s last outing to the sub-continent saw them lose all four Tests against India in 2013 and they also lost both matches when Pakistan hosted them for a two-Test series in 2014 in the Gulf.
“The record shows we haven’t won a game in about 15 or 16 years in the sub-continent. We certainly have a lot of work to do,” a disappointed Smith said after the loss.
“We have to find ways to score and find ways to take wickets and chase runs. We have not been able to do that in the first two Test matches.
“Credit to Sri Lanka for the way they have played to wrap up series here today,” Smith added Saturday.
The action now shifts to Colombo for the final Test beginning August 13.