COLOMBO - Australia were given a long-but-light workout against spin on the second day, as all their batsmen hit at least 25, though only Steven Smith and Steve O'Keefe passed fifty. The second-day pitch at the P Sara Oval had begun to take some turn, but Australia can expect significantly drier conditions and substantially higher-quality slow bowling, in the Tests. Nevertheless, a team total of 431 for 9 represented a strong outing for the visitors. The Sri Lanka selectors, watching on, would know the Australians have emerged from their first spin trial of the tour in ominous form.

The Sri Lankan XI attack, which did not feature the island's top spin prospects to begin with, operated under a kind of self-prohibition. Perhaps out of a strategic decision not to accustom the Australian batsmen to left-arm spin, captain Milinda Siriwardana did not bowl himself at all in the day. The other left-arm spinner Chaturanga de Silva, was given only short spells at the top order; only when the tail-enders arrived at the crease was he more liberally used.

Sri Lanka will hope this tactic sees Rangana Herath's threat maximised when the Tests begin on July 26 in Pallekele. Siriwardana may also fairly expect to be named in the Sri Lanka squad, and if the selectors are of a similar view, Siriwardana will have kept his own powder dry.

The day's foremost workhorse was Shehan Jayasuriya, whose offspin may be classified his secondary skill. He delivered 29 overs, took five for 109, and sparked several close shouts while the seamers were rotated at the other end. Vimukthi Perera was the most impressive of the quick men, bringing a ball in to Joe Burns to bowl him for 72 in the morning, but Nisala Tharaka was also sharp in patches.

O'Keefe's unbeaten 62 may be the most consequential of the day's performances for the Australians, as it raised his chances of entering the Test XI. Having taken a five-wicket haul on day one, O'Keefe was a measured foil to Mitchell Starc's adventure, as the pair put on 59 runs from 13 overs late in the day. O'Keefe was largely content to nurdle the singles, often using his feet to spin.

BRIEF SCORES: Australians 431 for 9 (Burns 72, O'Keefe 62, Jayasuriya 5-109) lead Sri Lankan XI 229 by 202 runs.