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Wade puts Australia in control

Sportal January 5, 2013, 12:58 pm
Matthew Wade

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Matthew Wade has posted his first century on home soil to thwart a brave comeback from Sri Lanka in the opening session on day three of the third Test at the SCG.

The gloveman was forced to milk the strike and slog his way to three figures after last man Jackson Bird joined him with his score on 70.

Australia declared at 9-432 - a lead of 138 - one ball after Wade (102 not out) was dropped at fine leg.

Bird finished unbeaten on six, with spinner Rangana Herath (4-95) the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers.

At lunch the visitors had moved to 0-18, openers Dimuth Karunaratne (17 not out) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (0 not out) making a solid if not spectacular start.

Wade brought up his ton with a glorious square drive for four, sprinting towards the SCG members in delight before leaping and punching the air with his bat.

He warmly embraced Bird, thanking the fast bowler for sticking around long enough to help him reach his milestone.

The Sri Lankans had fought back earlier to ensure Australia's lead was not insurmountable.

The hosts started the day 6-342, Wade and Peter Siddle hoping to build a sizeable total in perfect conditions before a big crowd on Jane McGrath Day.

But after surviving a couple of close calls, Siddle fell on 38 when he attempted to drive Nuwan Pradeep (2-114) through the offside only to feather a catch to keeper Dinesh Chandimal.

Mitchell Starc was next in but his stay was brief, as he was given out lbw on two when struck on the back pad by Herath.

Starc had the decision reviewed but replays showed the ball hitting leg stump and he was on his way.

Wade's chances of reaching his century looked to be at long odds when Nathan Lyon became Herath's fourth victim, bowled through the gate for four.

But No.11 Bird was determined to play his part, batting sensibly as Wade raced through the 80s and 90s to register his first century at home.

It follows his debut Test ton against the West Indies in Roseau last year.

Clarke's decision to declare meant Sri Lanka had to endure a testing 20-minute period before lunch but they emerged with 10 wickets in hand.

The challenge now for the tourists is to bat for the next two sessions and set the Australians up for a last-innings run chase on a pitch increasingly taking turn.

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