Sri Lanka seal series whitewash after monumental Australian collapse


Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera tore through Australia on day five of the third and final Test to secure a historic series whitewash for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's only series win over their opponents had come courtesy of a tight 1-0 win in 1999, but Angelo Mathews' side have totally dominated this contest and fittingly rounded out the win with a display of strength on Wednesday, Herath taking 7-64 to end the series with 28 wickets.

Set an unlikely 325 for victory early in the morning session, Australia initially looked on course to impress, with David Warner's 94-ball 68 anchoring a stiff response before lunch.

However, the tourists fell apart after the interval, losing five wickets for 23 runs immediately after passing 100 and they were eventually bowled out for 160, consigning Australia to a fourth-consecutive series whitewash in Asia.

After taking their advantage beyond 300 first thing, Sri Lanka's decision to delay getting stuck into their opponents initially looked shaky as Mathews burned his two reviews in consecutive deliveries, attempting in vain to get Warner out as he started strongly with Shaun Marsh.

The pair put on 77 for the opening wicket - by far the best of either side in the series - before Marsh was brilliantly caught by Kusal Mendis at short leg, parrying the ball up before twisting and taking a one-handed grab.

When Warner and captain Steve Smith emerged for the afternoon session, there were few clues to the carnage that was to follow.

It was Herath leading the charge, bowling Smith (8) and trapping Adam Voges plumb for one in the same over to begin a landslide.

Warner had shown excellent patience and skill with his feet in particular, but he was bowled around his legs by Perera (2-71) and Mathews sharply ran out Moises Henriques (4).

Herath then raced through the lower order, taking the final five wickets to end a mightily impressive series and leave Australia wondering how they have managed to comprehensively lose a Test match in which they reduced Sri Lanka to 26-5 in the first innings before reaching 267-1 in their own first dig.

Having lost their spot atop the Test world rankings, Smith has already hinted at disillusionment with Australia's selection for the series, but their routine failure in sub-continental conditions will be a sharp point of focus with a high-profile series against India to come next year.