Sri Lanka v Australia: Local protesters engulf iconic Galle stadium

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Homegrown protesters engulf Galle’s iconic stadium as Australia set a total of 364 first innings amid social and economic tension in Sri Lanka

  • On Saturday, Sri Lankan protesters climbed to the top of the 500-year-old fort in Galle
  • The Australian tour took place against a backdrop of social and economic unrest
  • Protesters chanted anti-government slogans on the second day of play
  • Steve Smith was unbeaten as the visitors were knocked out for 364

Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka came amid social and economic unrest and on Saturday tourists witnessed the tension, with protesters surrounding the Galle Cricket Stadium to draw the world’s attention.

Locals weren’t allowed to watch the second Test atop the 500-year-old fort overlooking the cricket ground, but that didn’t stop a large group of protesters from gathering to express their frustration over the economic conditions and societal issues in Sri Lanka.

Australian star Steve Smith was on edge as protesters marched towards the fort and Cricket Australia has denied claims by the military that protesters had already been kicked out so as not to distract their players. Smith reportedly had more trouble with the DJ inside the floor during his innings.

Elsewhere, thousands of protesters stormed the presidential palace in Colombo as angst grew among citizens, according to video posted by BNO News.

Local protesters climbed to the top of a 500-year-old fort to protest during the game against Australia

The turbulence taking place in Sri Lanka has not escaped the Australian players but has not yet impacted their tour.

Australia collapsed on the second day of the second Test in Galle to be at 364, with Sri Lankan debutant Prabath Jayasuriya claiming six wickets.

Having reached 5-329 and with century maker Steve Smith unbeaten, Australia lost their last five wickets for just 35 runs as Jayasuriya crossed the tail.

Sri Lanka then went to lunch at 0-8 after coming through the first three overs of the Australian rapids.

The Australians' tour of Sri Lanka took place amid social and economic unrest

The Australians’ tour of Sri Lanka took place amid social and economic unrest

Steve Smith finished the first set unbeaten as the Aussies went to a total of 364 runs

Steve Smith finished the first set unbeaten as the Aussies went to a total of 364 runs

In reality, the hosts need someone to play a game of Smith’s quality to avoid a 2-0 series loss at home.

Smith completed 145 paces, having conjured up his first century in exactly 18 months on day one.

When he and Carey took over at 5-298 on Saturday, it looked like Australia could hit a big score.

But the morning game changed dramatically when Carey swept Jayasuriya to Ramesh Mendis from deep on the 28th.

Sri Lanka are looking to equalize in the series after losing the first Test last week

Sri Lanka are looking to equalize in the series after losing the first Test last week

Smith continued, producing another brilliant route to the long border off Jayasuriya.

But at the other end, the wickets continued to fall as quickly as protesters surrounded the periphery of the pitch amid Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic crisis.

Mitchell Starc (1) was caught on first slip by Kusal Mendis off Jayasuriya, Nathan Lyon (5) trapped lbw by left arm finger and Pat Cummins (5) was also lbw for fast Kasun Rajitha.

Smith then controlled the strike to take more time out of play on a carry wicket, before Mitchell Swepson became debutant Maheesh Theekshana’s first Test wicket when he was below three.

Jayasuriya’s numbers of 6-118 are the second-best by a Sri Lankan on his debut in Test history, having also secured Marnus Labuschagne’s key wicket for 104 on the opening day with one that sharply turned .

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