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Twitter Reactions: Starc and Khawaja set a mountain to climb for Sri Lanka

Karunaratne returned from hospital and scored a gutsy half-century.

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

After three days play at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, Sri Lanka find themselves in a rabbit hole as they need 499 runs in the last innings. After Joe Burns, Travis Head and Kurtis Patterson scored tons, Mitchell Starc ripped the heart out of the opposition batting with a five-wicket haul. Then the left-handed Usman Khawaja notched a century to make sure that Australia ended the day with the upper hand.

Starc comes to the party

The Lankans had Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva as their overnight batsmen and had a trail of over 400 ahead of them. However, they folded for 215 runs in 68.3 overs handing the hosts a first-innings lead of 319 runs. Perera had to retire hurt after scoring 29 runs. De Silva also perished after scoring 25 runs with two fours. Niroshan Dickwella threw his bat to score 25 runs at more than a run-a-ball.

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Mitchell Starc picked up a couple of wickets on day 2 and he came back to pick up three more wickets of De Silva, Dilruwan Perera, and Vishwa Fernando. Subsequently, he also took a fifer that pushed the Lankans on the backfoot. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon picked up the two wickets even as Pat Cummins and Marnus Labuschagne got one wicket. Surprisingly, Australia decided against enforcing the follow-on.

Khawaja takes over

Marcus Harris and Joe Burns opened the batting, but both were nipped out early. Burns couldn’t repeat his first-innings heroics as Fernando dismissed him for 101. Harris became speedster Kasun Rajitha’s first victim. Rajitha accounted for Labuschage’s wicket as well and all of a sudden the visitors seemed like getting a foothold back in the encounter. However, Khawaja and Travis Head had other ideas.

Khawaja went to score his century in 134 deliveries with 14 boundaries and immediately after the Aussies declared.  Head also put his head down and added 59 runs from 95 balls with eight fours. The Lankans had to play out six overs in the final session and the left-handed opening duo of Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne ensured that their team got to the day’s end unscathed.

Here is how Twitter reacted

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