Australia completed their Ashes preparations by crushing Sri Lanka by 366 runs to secure a 2-0 series win in their final Test before this summer’s tour to England.
In direct contrast to England’s exploits in the West Indies – where Joe Root’s side have already conceded the series after going 2-0 down with one match to play – Australia capitalised on a weak Sri Lankan outfit to wrap up a series win in Canberra a week after a huge innings victory in the first Test.
Set an improbable 516 to level the series, Sri Lanka were bowled out for just 149 as Mitchell Starc ripped through the top order to finish with five for 46 and bag the second 10-wicket haul of his Test career.
Starc needed just seven deliveries to claim his first scalp on day four, dismissing opener Dimuth Karunaratne before having skipper Dinesh Chandimal caught at third slip.
He removed Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Perera in consecutive balls in the 29th over as he followed up his five for 54 in Sri Lanka’s first innings. Pat Cummins finished with three for 15.
Australia’s batsman had flourished in the first ever Test at Canberra’s Manuka Oval, with four separate centurions in the match. The hosts were able to declare at 534/5 in their first innings – with hundreds from Joe Burns, Travis Head and Kurtis Patterson – before declaring again at 196/3 in their second innings after Usman Khawaja reached his century.
Victory secured Australia a first series win since they thrashed England 4-0 in the 2017/18 Ashes after defeats against South Africa, Pakistan and India.
“It’s nice to get some reward. I’ve said all summer this group has been working really hard,” said Australia captain Tim Paine.
“I think we’re starting to build towards something so it’s great to get some reward for the work we’ve been putting in.
“It doesn’t matter what the wicket is like or who you are playing against.”
Cummins was named player of the series after taking four wickets in the match to add to his 10-wicket haul from the first Test.
That performance took his career tally to 94 wickets at an average of 22.02 – a greater tally after 19 Tests than former Australian pacemen Dennis Lillee, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.
Australia now turn their attention to white-ball cricket with two T20I matches and five ODIs against India in preparation for the World Cup in June and July. The first Ashes Test begins on August 1. (Courtesy The Telegraph)