Marnus Labuschagne (L) with Steve Smith of Australia on the first day of the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium on Friday.

Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith both hit centuries to give Australia opening day honours against a Covid-hit Sri Lanka in the second Test at the Galle International Stadium on Friday.

The tourists reached 298 for five at stumps after electing to bat first in their bid to clinch the two-match series in Galle.

Smith, on 109, and wicket-keeper/batsman Alex Carey, on 16, were batting at close of play after debutant left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya took three wickets.

Smith smashed fast bowler Kasun Rajitha for a cracking cover drive to bring up his 28th Test hundred as he raised his bat to an applauding dressing room.

It was the former captain’s first hundred since January last year during the third Test against India in Sydney. He overtook Indian star batsman Virat Kohli who is stuck on 17.

It was the former captain’s first hundred since January last year during the third Test against India in Sydney.

Darren Lehmann in 2004 was the last Australian to score a hundred at spin-friendly Galle Stadium. Australia had played three Tests here and despite winning two of those none of their batsmen had scored a century — until Friday.

Labuschagne, who made 104, and Smith put on 134 runs for the third wicket to take the attack to the opposition bowlers after Australia lost their openers in the first session.

Labuschagne, who made 104, and Smith put on 134 runs for the third wicket to take the attack to the opposition bowlers after Australia lost their openers in the first session.

Labuschagne, given a life on 28 when Niroshan Dickwella missed a stumping chance off Ramesh Mendis, recorded his seventh Test century and his first away from home in an attacking knock before Jayasuriya got him stumped at the stroke of tea. He faced 125 deliveries and hit 12 fours.

Jayasuriya took his spin charge into the final session to get Travis Head bowled for 12, and Cameron Green trapped lbw for four.

But Smith and the left-handed Carey anchored the innings from there to deny any more wickets to the hosts.

Carey, who made 45 in Australia’s crushing opening win last week, once again made his intent clear early in his knock with a reverse sweep for four off Jayasuriya.

Earlier, Sri Lanka struck with their lone pace bowler Kasun Rajitha, sending back David Warner for five in the fifth over of the day.

Off-spinner Ramesh Mendis cleaned up Usman Khawaja for 37 before lunch but Labus­chagne stood firm and hit back with boundaries.

Labuschagne, who survived a missed morning stumping on 28 by Niroshan Dickwella, and Smith both handled the spinners with ease until their stand ended.

The hosts handed Test caps to spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Jayasuriya along with all-rounder Kamindu Mendis after a coronavirus outbreak in their team.

Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 count went up to five on the eve of the final Test but Angelo Mathews returned to the team after he was forced out by an infection midway through the first match.

Australia defeated Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the first Test played on the same venue inside three days to take 1-0 lead in Two-match series.

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