GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) — Rangana Herath took three wickets as Australia's top order slumped against the left-arm spinner to reach 157-5 at tea on the opening day of the first test on Wednesday.
Australia resumed after lunch on 76-2 and Herath dismissed their best batsmen Michael Clarke (23) and Ricky Ponting (44) during the second session to finish with 3-40.
He also dismissed Shane Watson with his first ball of the morning.
Captain Clarke and his precessessor Ponting shared 55 runs for the third wicket after Australia was reduced to 36-2 in the first session. Clarke was first to be dismissed in the middle session when he misread a straight delivery from Herath and was trapped lbw.
Ponting batted with confidence and looked set for a bigger score but his aggression led him to mistime a shot against Herath for a catch to Angelo Mathews. He hit six boundaries for his 44 runs.
Mike Hussey and Usman Khawaja shared a 45-run partnership but seamer Chanaka Welegedara bowled Khawaja (21) to end the stand on the stroke of tea.
Welegedara and Suranga Lakmal picked up a wicket each.