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Sri Lanka score famous Test win over Aust

AAP logoAAP 29/07/2016 By Will Knight

Australia are still scratching their heads looking for solutions on the subcontinent after a 106-run loss against Sri Lanka in Kandy to extend their touring misery against teams from the region.

Down and out after being bowled out for 117 in the first innings, Sri Lanka on Saturday capped a famous comeback win in the first Test and, with it, ended Steve Smith's 11-match unbeaten streak as captain.

Veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath bowled the home side to victory, taking match figures of 9-103 in just the second Test triumph for Sri Lanka in 27 matches between the teams.

Australia have lost seven away Tests in a row against subcontinental teams, the latest defeat adding to a 2-0 series defeat to Pakistan in 2014 in the UAE - also on typically dry, turning wickets - and a 4-0 drubbing 18 months earlier at the hands of India.

As dark clouds lurked around Pallekele Stadium towards the end of the second session of day five, Herath bowled Stephen O'Keefe to end Australia's resistance as they were dismissed for 161.

O'Keefe and Peter Nevill threatened to ruin the party, digging in for the ninth wicket in scoring just four runs off 178 balls, mostly due to the latter carrying a hamstring injury.

The disappointment for Angelo Mathews' team was there were so few Sri Lankan fans at the ground, with travelling Australian fans just about making up the majority of the paltry crowd.

The upset over the No.1-ranked Test side marked a big turnaround for No.7 Sri Lanka, who went into the match with an inexperienced XI - including two debutants - and followed a dismal tour of England, where they were thrashed 2-0.

While Herath was brilliant, the Lions have 21-year-old Kusal Mendis to thank, his stunning 176 on day three hauling them back into the game after conceding an 86-run first-innings deficit and being 2-6 in their second dig.

That steered Sri Lanka to a total of 353 and set Australia a target of 268, which proved too tall an order.

Australia's poor record of chasing large totals in the region is stark - in 14 attempts, their only successful Test run chase above 200 was when they made 307 against Bangladesh in 2006 in Dhaka.

That's not to take anything away from Sri Lanka's well-balanced slow-bowling attack, led by the 38-year-old Herath, and complemented by exciting left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan, who took match figures of 7-107 on debut, and right-arm offie Dilruwan Perera.

"From the batters' point of view, we need to find a way to be successful in these conditions," said Smith.

"We let the spinners into the game a lot more than we probably should have."

Smith was out just before lunch for 55 when he was lbw to Herath to just about end any hopes of an Australian victory after they had resumed in the morning at 3-83.

Mitch Marsh hit some powerful drives in his 25 but was also lbw to Herath, who also accounted for Adam Voges (12) caught-and-bowled.

"After a rough, tough six to eight months, we needed that victory," said Mathews.

"That gives us a lot of confidence going forward as a young team. It was a great performance, especially after the first day's play."

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