Hazlewood leads Australia charge as Sri Lanka crumble
(Reuters) - Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood picked up three wickets as Australia ripped through Sri Lanka's brittle top order on the first morning of the opening test at Pallekele on Tuesday.
At lunch, the hosts were reeling on 84 for five with debutant all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva (24) and Kusal Perera (12) unbeaten at the crease.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat on a dry pitch in the first test of the three-match series.
However, Australia pace duo Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc ensured their team took full control with the new ball by reducing the hosts to 18-3 inside 10 overs.
Left-armer Starc, making his comeback after a long injury layoff, sent back Dimuth Karunaratne, with the opening batsman failing to get the umpire's leg before wicket verdict overturned on review.
The 25-year-old Hazlewood, bowling an impeccable line and length, then dismissed Kusal Mendis and Kaushal Silva and returned for another spell before lunch to lure Dinesh Chandimal into an edge behind to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.
Left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe, who was included alongside off-spinner Nathan Lyon, was brought on in the ninth over by Australia captain Steve Smith and he was rewarded when he dismissed Mathews.
Injury-ravaged Sri Lanka, ranked seventh in the world, also handed a debut to left-arm slow bowler Lakshan Sandakan against the world's top-ranked test side, who have won just one out of their last 15 tests in Asia.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien)