NATHAN LYON claimed 5-34 off 15 overs, including a wicket off his first ball in Test cricket, as Sri Lanka crumbled to be all out for 105 in their first innings at Galle.
At stumps Australia were 6-115, a lead of 283, with Michael Clarke dismissed shortly before the close of play following a well-made 60 off 80 deliveries.
Rangana Herath (3-51) was the man to get the Australian skipper out when he top-edged a sweep for an easy catch to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, with Herath dismissing Michael Hussey (15) with the following delivery.
The Sri Lankan left-arm off-spinner couldn’t complete a hat-trick but did remove Brad Haddin (0) in his following over.
But the day belonged to Lyon, as bowlers dominated to claim 16 wickets across the three sessions.
The 23-year-old off-spinner’s display was his first five-wicket haul in his short career and is the best bowling performance on Test debut by an Australian since Jason Krejza’s 8-215 in Nagpur in 2008.
Fellow debutant Trent Copeland began Australia’s bright day, dismissing Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan (4) with just his second ball in Test cricket.
But Lyon quickly went one better, becoming just the second Australian since Arthur Coningham in 1894-95 to claim a wicket with his first ball at this level.
The 23-year-old South Australian off-spinner got a ball to turn sharply out of the rough to key Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara (10) and captain Michael Clarke snared the edge off Sangakkara’s bat at slip low to his left.
The morning was completed for the debutants when Copeland had a hand in the run-out dismissal of key Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene (11) when Lyon was bowling.
Mitchell Johnson was unlucky not to get amongst the wickets, trapping Tharanga Paranavitana first ball after lunch but the Sri Lanka opener reviewed the decision and TV replays revealed the delivery was a no-ball.
But that decision mattered little as Shane Watson (3-11) ripped through Sri Lanka’s middle-order with three wickets in short time, trapping Thilan Samaraweera (26), Prasanna Jayawardene (0) and Tharanga Paranavitana (29) all LBW.
Lyon then returned to clean up the tail, ending the innings with an athletic caught-and-bowled, as Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for just 18 runs.