Australia have made a shaky start chasing 141 for victory and a series clean sweep against Sri Lanka in the third Test at the SCG.
The hosts went to the break 1-13 after Dave Warner was out for a first-ball duck just before lunch. He pushed forward to a delivery from Suranga Lakmal (1-7), edging a sharp catch to Mahela Jaywardene at second slip. Ed Cowan (1), who was nearly run out for the second time in the match shortly before Warner’s dismissal, and Phil Hughes (12) will resume the run chase after the interval. Australia need a further 128 to win the match and complete a 3-0 series victory. Sri Lanka began the day on 7-225 and lost two quick wickets before a stubborn last-wicket stand of 41 between Dinesh Chandimal (62 not out) and No.11 Nuwan Pradeep (9) pushed the lead towards 150. Pradeep was the last man out after resisting the Australian attack for 57 minutes. Paceman Jackson Bird finished with seven wickets for the match after capturing 3-76 in the second innings. Chandimal combined power and placement to compile an invaluable half-century that gives his team a glimmer of hope of securing their first Test win in Australia. The Sri Lankans went to stumps on day three believing they could steal a snatch and grab victory if they could get 150-175 runs in front. Those hopes looked forlorn as the Australians made early in-roads. Rangana Herath (10) added just one to his overnight score before he played on attempting to leave a delivery from Bird. The Sri Lankan appeared rattled just a few balls after entering a verbal battle with Australian wicket-keeper Matthew Wade over a lost run out opportunity. The Australians believe Herath changed direction and veered towards the middle of the pitch when attempting to avoid Wade throwing down the stumps at the non striker’s end. The keeper was forced to lob the ball over Herath’s head but it sailed well past Mitchell Johnson, who was waiting at the stumps to complete what would have been the easiest of run outs. Suranga Lakmal (0) was next in and must have thought he was playing in a T20, pulling away to the leg side and attempting an ambitious heave over mid wicket off Mitchell Johnson (3-34). There was no connection as the ball crashed into his middle stump. Pradeep and Chandimal then frustrated Australia for the best part of an hour before Bird induced an edge from Pradeep through to Wade. Australia will complete a series whitewash provided they avoid a major batting collapse on a wearing track. Captain Michael Clarke is being urged to use veteran batsman Mike Hussey higher up the order for his final innings. Mr Cricket has so far resisted any suggestions he be afforded special treatment, preferring the game plays out its natural course.
First Posted 06 January, 2013 12:39PM AEST
Tags: Vodafone Test Series v Sri Lanka , Australia vs Sri Lanka , Australia , Sri Lanka