Kusal Mendis had batted extremely well: Nathan Lyon

Prince Singh / 29 July 2016

After conceding a lead of almost two hundred runs by the end of third day’s play during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Kandy, Australian team have their back against the wall. However, their off-spinner Nathan Lyon believes that his team can still win the match.

After dismissing Sri Lanka for a paltry total of 117 in the first innings, the visitors failed to grab the opportunity to take a big lead and were dismissed for 203 runs, 86 ahead of the hosts’ total. However, the hosts made a good fightback and by the end of the third day, they took the command of the match by scoring 282 runs for the loss of 6 wickets with the help of young batsman Kusal Mendis’ brilliant innings of 169 runs.

“We will look to chase down whatever they set us,” Lyon said in the press conference on Thursday (July 28). “It has been proven today (Thursday), if you have the game, a simple batting plan, there are no demons out there. You can score runs out there. That’s one big positive – it’s been proven we can score runs.”

Lyon also heaped praise on  Mendis for his stunning performance and at the same time lamented Australia’s missed opportunities.

“It’s probably got a tad easier to bat but you have got to give credit where credit is due,” he said. “I think the young fella, to get 170, has batted out of his skin… he has batted extremely well.

“We have missed our half chances,” he added. “It’s been a tough day for the Australian bowlers but the good thing about Test cricket is we will bounce back tomorrow and look forward to taking the new ball and, hopefully, taking some early wickets and then get batting.”

Australia’s misery compounded when their spinner Steve O’Keefe had to leave the field after getting injured. Lyon said that losing O’Keefe is a big loss for the team.

“To see him injure himself, go off the field and for Australia to lose a vital member of our bowling attack, it’s a pretty big loss for us,” Lyon said. “To lose someone like (Steve), a quality bowler on a wicket like that – a couple are spinning, a couple are sliding straight on – he is very talented in these conditions, so it was a big loss.

“Injuries happen in cricket. As a bowling unit, we have got to bounce back and pull together and fill in for him,” he added.

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