Sri Lanka savours historic win over Australia

Sri Lankan cricketer Dilruwan Perera (left) celebrates with teammates after he dismissed Australian batsman Usman Khawaja during the second day of the second Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and Australia at The Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on August 5, 2016. (AFP)

Sri Lanka's President and former cricket legends Saturday hailed the country's series win as historic after they comprehensively beat  top-ranked Australia in the second Test in Galle.

Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera bagged six wickets to bundle out Australia for 183 and register a 229-run triumph after lunch on the third day to help Sri Lanka take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Perera's efforts came after veteran spinner Rangana Herath bagged his maiden Test hat-trick in the first innings to dismiss Australia for a record low of 106.

"Congratulations to Sri Lanka team as it makes history with this win. A moment of pride in Sri Lanka cricket," President Maithripala Sirisena said on Twitter.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Thilanga Sumathipala described the victory as a "huge boost" for the entire cricket-crazy nation of 21 million people.

"This is a huge boost for Sri Lanka as a country and for everyone who follows the game of cricket in Sri Lanka," Sumathipala said.

The triumph comes as a welcome relief to a side which had returned from a disastrous tour of England where they failed to win any of their nine matches - three Tests, five ODIs and one T20.

"A series win to be proud of. Beating the #1 side in the world with ease. Enjoy the well earned win boys and make it 3 wins for @officialSLC," former skipper Kumar Sangakkara tweeted.

"A lot of credit to Gford & @Angelo69Mathews to come thru a tough series in england and to keep the side focused @KusalMendis1, @HerathRSL -," Sangakkara wrote in another tweet referring to Sri Lanka's new head coach, South African Graham Ford.

Sri Lanka defied the odds after being seen as weaker opponents at the start of the series, with the retirements of some former greats - Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena - adding to their underdog status.

"Great win by the SL team. Good come back after England tour. Beating no 1 team in the world and showed character. Well done Dilruwan," Jayawardena wrote on Twitter.

"Credit to team management and back room staff. Selectors who kept faith in the youngsters. @Angelo69Mathews who led the team well," he added.

Sri Lankan chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya was at hand to celebrate the victory and used twitter to congratulate the team.

"Welldone @officialSLC. What a moment. Good cricket and Proud of u boys," he said.

"I just want to thank for this amazing crowd through out this 3 days. As Sri Lankan fans u all deserved this victory!"

Spinners wreaked havoc

Skipper Angelo Mathews on Saturday described Sri Lanka's historic Test series win against Australia as "satisfying".

"It feels great. The way we played in the last two games, I thought we were brilliant. To beat the number one team is very satisfying," Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews told reporters.

Overnight batsmen David Warner and skipper Steven Smith offered some resistance with their 51-run fourth wicket partnership but both of them fell to Perera's guile.

Warner, who tried to counter attack during his 31-ball 41, was trapped lbw off a straighter Perera delivery that hit the batsman on the front pad.

Smith (30), who used his feet well against the spinners during his 58-ball stay, was the next to go as he gave away a catch at backward short leg.

Man of the match Perera, who bagged 10 wickets in the match, then bowled Adam Voges for 28 to register his fourth five-wicket haul in 11 Test matches.

"They (Australian batsmen) look a bit lost when it comes to our spinners. Our spinners have bowled extremely well. They found it a bit hard to score off our spinners," said Mathews.

But it was Herath's left-arm spin that did the early damage in a match dominated by Sri Lankan slow bowlers.

Australia's last outing to the sub-continent saw them lose all four Tests against India in 2013 and they also lost both matches when Pakistan hosted them for a two-Test series in 2014 in the UAE.

"It's been too long now - I think it's been 15 or 16 games since we've won a game in the sub-continent, so whatever we're doing it's not working," a disappointed Smith said after the loss.

"We have to find ways to score and find ways to take wickets and chase runs. We have not been able to do that in the first two Test matches.

"Credit to Sri Lanka for the way they have played to wrap up series here today," Smith added Saturday.

The action now shifts to Colombo for the final Test beginning August 13.

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