Mitchell Starc’s 11-wicket haul will almost certainly be in vain after a frenetic second day of the second Test in Galle, with Sri Lanka’s spinners again embarrassing Australia.
The tourists were set a victory target of 413, seemingly well out of reach given their woeful batting performances to start and end the day.
At stumps, they were in deep strife at 3-25 after Joe Burns (2), Nathan Lyon (0) and Usman Khawaja (0) were dismissed.
Given Australia’s three innings in the series have been 203, 161 and 106, they have virtually no hope of claiming victory.
Resuming at 2-54, Australia were shot out for just 106 — their lowest total in the 28-match history between the two teams.
They lost 8-52 from just 19.5 overs in a stunning collapse on Friday, with a Rangana Herath hat-trick ripping the heart out of Australia’s first innings after Sri Lanka made 281 on day one.
In response, the hosts scored at a decent rate to post 237 and grind Australia into the dirt.
Starc was again the best bowler with 6-50 and, with his five-wicket bag from the first dig, his 11-94 easily surpassed his best Test match figures.
Sri Lanka look certain to seal the three-match series in Galle and claim the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy for the first time after last week’s 106-run opening-Test win in Kandy.
Batting flop lets Australia down
This was always going to be a pivotal day in the series, with Australia needing to post a competitive score in the first innings to stand any chance of fighting their way back into the series.
They spectacularly failed the examination.
The batting flop was in part due to skilful spin bowling but also poor batting.
Herath bamboozled Australia from the outset, bowling Smith with a skidding delivery an over after Khawaja’s stumps were broken by Dilruwan Perera.
Adam Voges and Mitch Marsh added 21 not-always-convincing runs before Herath’s hat-trick — the 42nd in Test history.
He had Voges caught at cover, Peter Nevill lbw and Starc trapped in front off successive balls.
There was drama, with the lbw appeal against Starc turned down but given when skipper Angelo Mathews reviewed the decision.
Marsh was the last batsman dismissed for 27, his three big sixes down the ground off Herath towards the city’s famous fort helping Australia limp into three figures.
Offspinner Perera was tough to handle and finished with 4-25 while left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan needed only two balls to wrap up the innings as the tourists conceded a 175-run deficit.
Sri Lanka march toward second Test win in a week
Australia made a flying start with the ball and, at 3-31, there was some hope they could keep a lid on the lead.
However, Mathews forced counterpart Steve Smith into some defensive field settings and consolidated Sri Lanka’s advantage before, on 47, he tried to reverse sweep Lyon and was bowled around his legs.
Sri Lanka are marching towards their second Test win over Australia in a week after waiting 17 years between their first in 1999 and the Kandy triumph.
Lyon worked hard to finish with 2-80, Jon Holland (1-69) was expensive and Smith even bowled four overs.
Dilruwan Perera top-scored with 64 batting at No.8.
Australia, the number-one-ranked Test team, are heading towards their eighth straight away Test loss against subcontinental teams. (AAP)