Australia sniff victory in Galle

Australia

Australia require a further five wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka after reducing the hosts to 120 for five at stumps on day three.

Australia require a further five wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka after reducing the hosts to 120 for five at stumps on day three.

Set 379 for victory after dismissing Australia for 210 earlier in the day, Sri Lanka's batsmen once again failed to apply themselves on a tricky Galle wicket. It was always going to take a monumental effort when you consider their highest successful chase is 352 against South Africa in 2006, and their highest successful run-chase at Galle is a mere 210.

That, though, should not excuse the gutless display from most of the batsmen for the second time in the match. Opener Tharanga Paranavitana went first ball to the impressive Ryan Harris and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan's lazy defensive shot saw him depart for 13 before the tea break.

The trusted pair of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene put up some fight, but there wasn't much that Sangakkara could do when Shane Watson's effort ball hit a good area, found the shoulder of his bat and looped to gully. Sri Lanka went from 52 for two to 68 for five as Mitchell Johnson and Harris removed Thilan Samaraweera and Prasanna Jayawardene for ducks.

Angelo Mathews (32 not out) counterattacked, but it was Jayawardene whose classy unbeaten 57 gave the few spectators in the ground something to applaud. The duo shared a 52-run stand as the hosts limped across the 100 barrier.

While Sri Lanka's top order failed to dig in, Australia's tail wagged early in the morning to push the visitors to an impressive second innings score.

After the first session was washed out due to overnight and morning rain, spinner Rangana Herath made a decent start when Johnson got a top edge to a slog sweep. Sri Lanka were unable to capitalise and Usman Khawaja, who started the day on two not out, and Harris frustrated the bowlers with a 40-run eighth-wicket stand.

A change in bowling finally did the trick after Chanaka Welegedara, who bowled three maidens for one wicket on day two, trapped Khawaja lbw for 26 with his first ball of the day. The left-hander referred it, but the original decision stood. Herath then notched up a five-for and a career-best 5-79 when Harris (23) chipped one straight back to him.

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