Alex Carey caught out by scintillating Nathan Lyon act in first Test

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey was smacked in the helmet by Nathan Lyon's first delivery in the Test series against Sri Lanka, much to his chagrin. Pictures: Getty Images/Fox Cricket
Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey was smacked in the helmet by Nathan Lyon's first delivery in the Test series against Sri Lanka, much to his chagrin. Pictures: Getty Images/Fox Cricket

Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey has learned the hard way exactly how lively the Galle pitch will be in the first Test against Sri Lanka, after the visitors were asked to bowl on day one.

Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first to get the series underway for the Warne—Muralitharan trophy, but it was the Aussies who managed to seize an early advantage.

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Pat Cummins snared the key wicket of opener Pathum Nissanka for 23 in the 12th over, before Mitch Starc struck to remove Kusal Mendis for three.

It wasn't until Nathan Lyon came on for his first spell though, that the pitch revealed how much it could potentially have to offer for the spinners.

Lyon memorably claimed his first Test wicket with his first ball on debut at Halle back in 2011, and he nearly repeated the first-ball feat on Wednesday.

Coming in from around the wicket, Lyon's looping first delivery pitched in line with middle stump, before spinning sharply towards off and nearly clean bowling Sri Lankan opener Dimuth Karunaratne.

Karunaratne's wicket was only saved thanks to the surprising amount of bouce in the pitch, which caught Carey well and truly off-guard when it cannoned directly into his helmet.

Lyon was denied his first wicket a short time later in his second spell, when Cummins opted to review a not-out call for an inside edge on Mendis.

Replays showed the ball clearly missing the bat, burning a potentially crucial review for the visitors.

Prior to the game, fans were appreciative of a gesture made by Sri Lanka in the wake of the death of Shane Warne, with Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley presented with plate to including a photo of the late Australian spin bowler.

The plate read: "In Sri Lankan hearts you shall remain a legend of the game, of cricket and humanity."

"In memory of Shane Warne."

To honour the legend, nearly half of the 1996 Sri Lankan World Cup winning team attended his memorial.

Travis Head earns berth against Sri Lanka over Glenn Maxwell

Travis Head has overcome a hamstring injury to play in Australia's Test series opener, after undergoing a fitness test on Tuesday evening and recovering without complaint.

It means Glenn Maxwell's wait for a Test recall will continue, after last featuring in Australia's red-ball side in Bangladesh in 2017.

Australia had previously confirmed that Mitchell Swepson would retain his spot as second spinner, with Josh Hazlewood the seamer to miss out.

Sri Lanka have again gone with four spinners and just the one quick, with right-armer Asitha Fernando acting as the sole seamer in the first of the two Tests.

Australia got off to a fast start against Sri Lanka, picking up two early wickets, before the hosts steadied. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)
Australia got off to a fast start against Sri Lanka, picking up two early wickets, before the hosts steadied. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay will debut, adding variety to an attack that includes finger-spinners Ramesh Mendis, Lasith Embuldeniya and allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva.

The hosts' spinners took 54 wickets when they whitewashed Australia 3-0 in 2016, but chief destroyers Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera have since retired.

Australia also plan to bring a more attacking approach against Sri Lanka's tweakers on this tour, desperate to unsettle them and their lengths.

Heavy rain had briefly fallen on Wednesday morning in Galle, and ground staff brought covers onto the field anticipating more 10 minutes before the toss.

With AAP

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