Muralitharan upstages Warne's Test comeback

Australia 220 Sri Lanka 81-1

Shane Warne made an immediate impact with bat and ball on his return to the Test arena but Australia still came off second best to Sri Lanka on the first day of the first Test of the series here yesterday.

Warne's gutsy 23 with the bat helped Australia to muster a modest 220 in their first innings as Muttiah Muralitharan took 6 for 59 off 21.3 overs. The tourists had evidently decided to use aggressive strokeplay to unsettle the Sri Lankan master spinner.

Warne, given a standing ovation before his first over back in Test cricket since serving a one-year suspension for taking a banned diuretic, took the only Sri Lankan wicket to fall, trapping Sanath Jayasuriya lbw as they reached 81 for 1 at the close.

Muralitharan said: "I thought they played a few shots and were positive, which really helped me get among the wickets. I thought their decision to attack me helped me."

Warne knew he would be at the centre of events with ball in hand. But he had a job to do with the bat first, coming to the crease at 163 for 6. He and Darren Lehmann showed grit to put on 52 for the seventh wicket and take the total to 209 for 6 at tea. But the tourists caved in at the start of the final session. Their last four wickets fell for 11 runs.

Lehmann had made 63 when he was seventh out, bowled by Murali's disguised leg-break delivered with an off-spinner's action. Warne had added just a single to his teatime score when he edged a drive off the left-arm pace bowler Chaminda Vaas and was caught behind. Muralitharan took the last two wickets in consecutive balls, bowling Michael Kasprowicz and dismissing Stuart MacGill lbw.

After Ricky Ponting had won the toss and chosen to bat, Justin Langer was caught behind trying to cut Kumara Dharmasena and his fellow opener, Matthew Hayden (41), was caught at square leg sweeping Murali.

The captain was stumped advancing to the leg-spinner Upul Chandana, Damien Martyn (42) fell sweeping Dharmasena, Adam Gilchrist went in the same fashion to Muralitharan, and Andrew Symonds was caught at slip for a duck off Murali.

(Australia won toss; first day of five)

AUSTRALIA - First innings
J L Langer c Sangakkara b Dharmasena 12
M L Hayden c Chandana b Muralitharan 41
R T Ponting st Sangakkara b Chandana 21
D R Martyn c Jayawardene b Dharmasena 42
D S Lehmann b Muralitharan 63
A Symonds c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 0
A C Gilchrist c Dharmasena b Muralitharan 4
S K Warne c Sangakkara b Vaas 23
J N Gillespie not out 4
M S Kasprowicz b Muralitharan 1
S C G MacGill lbw b Muralitharan 0
Extras (lb9) 9
Total (68.3 overs) 220

Fall: 1-31 2-62 3-76 4-148 5-153 6-163 7-215 8-219 9-220.

Bowling: Vaas 12-2-39-1; Dharmasena 20-4-52-2; Muralitharan 21.3-4-59-6; Chandana 14-1-59-1; Jayasuriya 1-0-2-0.

SRI LANKA - First innings
M S Atapattu not out 29
S T Jayasuriya lbw b Warne 35
K C Sangakkara not out 17
Extras 0
Total (for 1, 22 overs) 81

Fall: 1-53.

To bat: D P M D Jayawardene, T M Dilshan, H P Tillakaratne, T T Samaraweera, U D U Chandana, W P U J C Vaas, H D P K Dharmasena, M Muralitharan.

Bowling: Gillespie 6-1-15-0; Kasprowicz 6-1-18-0; Warne 5-0-18-1; Symonds 3-0-20-0; MacGill 2-0-10-0.

Umpires: R Koertzen (SA) and D Shepherd (Eng).

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