7Sports app

Australia hold narrow lead

Sportal January 4, 2013, 6:34 pm
Mike Hussey

Getty Images © Enlarge photo

Australia have a 48-run lead at the end of day two in the third Test against Sri Lanka at the SCG after they finished on 6-342 on Friday.

Matthew Wade (47) and Peter Siddle (16) are the men in the middle for Australia heading into day three.

The lead could have been bigger, but Phil Hughes (87), David Warner (85) or Michael Clarke (50) were unable to convert their half-centuries into tons.

The visitors did well to get themselves back into the match, dismissing both Mike Hussey and Clarke, Australia's two in-form batsmen, shortly after tea.

Just when skipper Clarke and the retiring Hussey were starting to settle into a familiar partnership, Hussey was run out on 25 by Dimuth Karunaratne.

The risky run was Clarke's call and Hussey looked in trouble from the moment he set off.

He left the field to a standing ovation with many wondering if he'd just played his final innings for Australia.

Wade then joined Clarke at the crease and the wicketkeeper was lucky to survive early on when he was dropped on 10 by Lahiru Thirimanne.

Clarke continued his rich vein of form, reaching his 25th half-century off 73 balls, but an uncharacteristically rash shot the very next over saw the skipper depart for 50.

Clarke played the slog sweep off Rangana Herath (2-69), but only managed to top-edge it to Karunaratne, who judged the catch well.

With Australia still 23 runs behind Sri Lanka at that stage, the visitors seemed to be back in the game.

Wade was given out caught at short leg when he was on 22, but was quick to review the umpire's decision and survived when replays showed the ball hit his pad and not his bat.

Sri Lanka took the new ball towards the end of the day and it paid dividends when Mitchell Johnson (13) was caught behind off Nuwan Pradeep (1-83).

With Wade in good form at the crease and with four wickets in hand, Australia will look to build on their lead when they return on Saturday.

Sri Lanka did well to pick up wickets at regular intervals during the day, but Australia will be disappointed by their two run-outs and a couple of rash shots that resulted in wickets.

Earlier, Warner and Hughes missed out on great chances to score big centuries after being dismissed in the middle session.

Warner, whose aggressive 84-ball knock featured 10 fours, went for one big shot too many to be caught by Dhammika Prasad off Tillakaratne Dilshan (1-58).

Hughes was undone by a great catch by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal, who grabbed a sharp chance as the left-hander looked to cut Herath.

Ed Cowan (four) was the only one of the top-order to fail to make a start.

The opener sluggishly ran the first and his hesitation cost him as he returned for a second, caught well short of his ground by Pradeep.

COMPARE & SAVE