Sri Lanka's players celebrate their win in the second cricket Test match against Australia at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 11, 2022. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

Australia collapses to its first innings defeat since 2016

Australia collapsed on day four of the final Test against Sri Lanka, allowing the hosts to draw the series and take plenty of confidence out of the series.

After an excellent first day, Australia couldn't get back into the game on the following days after the batting collapse early on day two.

From there, Sri Lanka was incredibly dominant, with both bat and ball throughout the match to tie the series and win the match. It's almost as if the Sri Lankan team took inspiration from the democratic movements on the streets and took the fight to the Aussies.

Today Australia were hoping to get through the final four Sri Lankan wickets early before hopefully batting plenty of time and setting up a win; if not securing, then secure a draw.

The early wickets didn't come through with Dinesha Cnahdina, starting right where he left off the day before. He was more aggressive today, though, looking to score and often finding the rope with the sweep shot and cutting the shorter balls.

Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson were both clearly struggling with the number of overs they had to bowl. Their areas were erratic, and while the spin was big, it was never really threatening.

Nathan Lyon passed his record for most overs bowled in an innings when he bowled his 62nd of the innings. Swepson himself finished up with 38 overs, one hell of a stint in itself.

Ramesh Mendis continued with Chandimal until the Aussies took the new ball. Mitch Starc came in with a perfect ball that swung in and hit the pad to send the young man back.

Chandimal then really upped the run rate hitting a further four sixes in his innings while the tail-end wickets fell around him.

The number 11 Kasun Rajitha held around for nine balls which were just long enough to get Chandimal to a massive milestone. He brought up his double century with an incredible shot and celebration, showing how much this innings and match meant to him.

After the match, he was named man of the series and said, Dinesh Chandimal is the man of the series: "I'm over the moon. Especially if you're performing well and the team is winning, that is a really good feeling. I'm really happy with how I played, especially in Galle, which can be a tough track to bat on.

"I didn't have any specific plans, I just wanted to be proactive against the spinners and at the same time rotate the strike. That's what I did, and finally it worked. We all know it was a tough wicket in the first game, and when I saw the wicket in this game on day one, I thought the pitch would be good in the first three days.

"I just wanted to capitalise in that time. After that I thought, if we can get more than a 100 lead, we could put them under pressure. It is a really good feeling, thanks to my family, who were always behind me."

Sri Lanka finished up their innings of 554 after Mitch Swepson finally had an LBW decision go his way. Their lead of 190 would be enough if they bowled well, and with another innings in the bag, they were confident with the ball early.

Australia didn't get off to a bad start against the Sri Lankan pace bowlers, but it's fair to say the spin would be their issue.

Mendis was the first to strike when David Warner reviewed an LBW decision that was right in front. The three red lights lit up, and he had to go for just 24.

Another small partnership was built before Khawaja fell for 29 with a catch at bat-pad. When Steve Smith was trapped in front by Jayasuriya for a duck, it looked like Australia would fall apart.

And all apart they did, Travis Head once again proved he just can't play spin with him being bowled by Mendis. Head now averages under 25 with the bat away compared to almost 50 at home. With a tour of India to come next year, some serious questions need to be asked.

Cameron Green attempted his counter-attacking style of innings, but he was found wandering out of his crease to give Jayasruria his fourth of the innings.

The final four wickets of the match fell quickly, with only Alex Carey putting up some kind of fight. Mitch Swepson was the last to fall, with Jayasuriya picking up his 12th for the match and sixth for the innings.

It was the four best figures of all time on test debut for the left-arm spinner. He seems to have secured his spot in the Sri Lankan side for the upcoming Tests against Pakistan.

Prabath Jayasuriya spoke after the match and said, "I'm really happy with my performance, I've worked really hard over the past few days and this is the result. I played in some A team games, and I was ready to give 100% for the side whenever I was called upon."

Overall it was a pretty good tour for the Australians, even if they did convincingly lose the final match. Good results in both white and red ball formats prove there is plenty to look forward to.

The question for Australia now is what this means for their World Test Championship ambitions. They really needed the win in this final Test to secure that spot. A lot will come down to the three Tests against South Africa later in the year, which will likely determine the finalists.

The Aussie captain Pat Cummins spoke after play and said, "I think there are few things [we would have done differently]. Probably got ourselves in a position where 400-plus was achievable in the first innings and didn't someone to with Smithy down the other end. And yeah, had plenty of chases over the last couple of days and didn't quite grab them.

"Unfortunately, Sri Lanka were too good. Absolutely [the youngsters have learnt a lot on this tour], these are the tours where you learn heaps. We learned heaps during our win last week, but unfortunately it's through a loss this time. But I thought a lot of the guys, either on their first tour here or who were coming back, found a method that worked - though unfortunately it didn't work out today.

"As a batting and bowling group I think we can go away pretty pleased. [To the fans] Thank you for the lovely hosts you've been to our team throughout our tour here. We felt it straight away on the streets, in crowd even - we've never felt that before, a whole stadium here cheering for us. We've had a great five weeks here, absolutely loved it and can't wait to get back."

Overall it's a celebratory week for Sri Lanka, who have not only ousted their undemocratic government but have defeated the Australians at home. Sri Lankan cricket has plenty to look forward to, with Australia having plenty to work on.

The question remains, though, should Glenn Maxwell have played? It's hard to argue against it now just looking at the efforts by Travis Head.

For now, though, the Australians move back to Australia, and after a small break, they will head north. A couple of white ball series in Townsville and Cairns are set for August and September, with Zimbabwe and New Zealand coming over.