Australia on verge of series sweep over Sri Lanka
Published : Sunday, 06 January 2013
SYDNEY: Australian batsman Matthew Wade (R) plays a shot on way to his century of the third cricket Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground here Saturday. AFP Photo
SYDNEY, Jan 5 (AFP): Australia were closing in on victory in the final Test and a series clean sweep after a Sri Lankan batting collapse on the third day in Sydney Saturday.
For a time it looked as if Sri Lanka, well beaten in Hobart and Melbourne, could make a contest of it as Dimuth Karunaratne and skipper Mahela Jayawardene almost wiped out the 138-run innings deficit with a century stand before wickets tumbled.
At the close, Sri Lanka were a shaky 225 for seven and leading by 87 runs with two days left with Dinesh Chandimal on 22 and Rangana Herath not out nine.
"It could have gone the wrong way for us this afternoon but luckily enough our bowlers were good enough and they did well to pull it back," said Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, whose thrilling century set up a pre-lunch declaration.
"We've got to take three wickets as quickly as we can because we don't want to be chasing too many runs on that wicket."
After lunch, opener Tillakaratne Dilshan failed for the fifth time since his 147 in the first Hobart Test when he was caught centimetres from the ground by Phil Hughes at third slip off Johnson in the seventh over.
Jayawardene then watched four batting partners depart as he tried to keep his team's innings together, but upon his dismissal just inside the final hour it was all downhill for Sri Lanka.
Karunaratne edged Jackson Bird to Wade for 85 to end a 108-run stand with Jayawardene in the 34th over when Sri Lanka were still trailing by six runs.
First innings topscorer Lahiru Thirimanne survived a leg before wicket review before he fell hooking Mitchell Johnson to Bird at fine leg in the 41st over.
Thilan Samaraweera completed a wretched series when he went after spinner Nathan Lyon and skied to long-on where Mike Hussey took the catch to a huge roar from the home crowd celebrating the Australian veteran's farewell Test.
Samaraweera's reckless third-ball duck followed scores of 7, 49, 10, 1 and 12 in the three-Test series.
A dreadful mix-up led to Angelo Mathews being run out for 16 after he failed to beat the throw from David Warner.
Jayawardene was out four balls later ending his 200-minute resistance when he edged Peter Siddle to Michael Clarke at first slip and the tourists had tumbled to 178 for six and only a lead of 40.
Dhammika Prasad became Mitchell Starc's first wicket when caught behind for 15 heading into the final half-hour.
Sri Lanka 294 and 225 for 7 (Karunaratne 85, Jayawardene 60) lead Australia 432 for 9 dec (Wade 102*, Hughes 87, Herath 4-95) by 87 runs.