Australia's wicketkeeper Peter Nevill has defended his delayed stumping of Dimuth Karunaratne on day four of the Colombo Test match, while Sri Lanka have indicated they would have done the same.

Nevill successfully appealed for Karunaratne's wicket after hovering with his glove next to the stumps as he waited for the batsman to switch his feet and momentarily leave the crease, following a Nathan Lyon delivery that had beaten the bat.

The dismissal was cause for a range of reactions, with some questioning the dismissal's acceptability in the spirit of cricket. However, Nevill had absolutely no qualms about claiming the wicket, saying it reflected the simple reality that batsmen needed to stay in their crease.

"I thought he was going to move his foot out of his crease and he did," Nevill said. "You might've seen on the footage, I had my hand right by the stumps waiting for that to happen, and it did happen and just worked out well that the timing was just right that it was out.

"Well there's always people who are going to say something like that [it went against the spirit of the game] but I don't think it's contrary to the spirit of cricket. If you don't want to get stumped stay in your crease. You can sort of see, a shifting of weight and you're expecting the back foot to come up. That's the hunch I had and that's what happened. Just managed to get the bails off in time."

Nevill said he had been able to dismiss a batsman in that manner at least once before, in a second XI match. Footage of other similar dismissals effected by Alec Stewart against Brian Lara and Sri Lanka's Romesh Kaluwitharana against Darren Lehmann emerged over the course of the day.

"It's happened a few times, in a second XI game in Australia there was one where the guy jumped after he played his shot," Nevill said. "I know Hadds [Brad Haddin] has tried to do it a million times as well, so I think that's rubbed off on me."

Sri Lanka batsman Kaushal Silva said his side would take the opportunity if roles were reversed. "We don't know if we will get a chance to effect that kind of dismissal, but if we do, we would have to take that opportunity," he said. "I don't see it as a wrong thing. But you can't also take wickets in a way that is against the spirit of the sport. That said, there's no problem if it's done the right way."