Australia slow Sri Lanka charge


Australia grabbed two crucial wickets in the morning session to slow down Sri Lanka’s progress in the third and final Test in Colombo Sunday with the home side desperate for a win to square the series.
The hosts, resuming their first innings at 166-2 in reply to Australia’s 316, moved to 250-4 by lunch on the third day at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
The tourists removed Mahela Jayawardene for 51 and Kumar Sangakkara for 79 in his 100th Test appearance to deal huge blows to Sri Lanka.
Skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan was unbeaten on 29 and Angelo Mathews was on 15 at the break, the pair having put on 40 so far for the fifth wicket.
The overnight pair of Sangakkara and Jayawardene added 101 for the third wicket as Sri Lanka moved to a commanding 198-2 within the first 45 minutes.
The duo, whose stand of 624 against South Africa at the same venue in 2006 is a world record for any wicket, appeared to have settled in for the long haul when Australia earned a lucky break.
Jayawardene batted aggressively in the morning session to hit four boundaries but chased a wide ball from Shane Watson and edged a catch to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin.
Dilshan, an opening batsman who demoted himself to number five for this match, had a harrowing start to his innings.
He left the first delivery from Watson, which dipped in dangerously close to the off-stump and had yet to get off the mark when a miscued shot off Watson fell just short of a diving Shaun Marsh at mid-on.
Dilshan opened his account with a flick off Mitchell Johnson for a boundary, which also brought up Sri Lanka’s 200.
Australia claimed the second new ball after 81 overs and met with immediate success when Peter Siddle dismissed a well-set Sangakkara with the fourth delivery.
Sangakkara smashed the first ball to the cover fence, but edged a rising ball later in the same over to Haddin.
Australia lead the series 1-0, having won the first Test in Galle by 125 runs.