Lahiru Thirimanne was the star for the visitors – he scored an impressive 91 and it took a spectacular David Warner catch to remove him – having only arrived in the country on Monday as an injury replacement.
The 24-year-old made Australia’s four-man pace attack work hard after surviving a close LBW appeal off the bowling of Jackson Bird on review after being given out.
It was the bowling of spinner Nathan Lyon – and not a very good ball at that – which brought Thirimanne unstuck as he looked to race to 100 after controlling 50 partnerships with experienced teammates Mahela Jayawardene (72) and Angelo Mathews (15).
Not a bad effort for a bloke in the country to play in the upcoming one-day series.
Thirimanne withstood some rough treatment from Mitchell Johnson, who struck him a couple of times after lunch.
Aussie skipper Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to take advantage of what he saw as a green top by modern standards and send the tourists in to bat.
Bird ousted opener Dimuth Karunaratne (5) in the eighth over with a poorly judged top edge which ballooned to Michael Hussey. He returned later to take the second wicket of a dangerous looking Tillakaratne Dilshan (34), who edged the ball to keeper Matthew Wade.
Bird is from NSW but plays for Tasmania – his 4-44 off 19.4 overs, including 10 maidens, was an impressive debut first class appearance on the SCG.
Mitchell Starc (3-71 off 19), who was rested for the second Test, removed SL’s top batsman Jayawardene after lunch, then Mathews. Then, with the new ball, he bowled Dinesh Chandimal (24) with an unplayable in-swinging Yorker.
Peter Siddle was solid as always with 2-46 off 12 overs, but the second Test’s man of the match Mitchell Johnson was expensive and wicketless with 0-58 off 13 overs.
Before play, a touching tribute was paid to legendary former England captain and commentator Tony Greig by both teams, his family and his colleagues from Channel Nine. Greig died of cancer on December 29, aged 66.
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