Sri Lanka take control in Colombo

Australia

Sri Lanka claimed the upper hand in the third Test against Australia in Colombo, as they shaded all three sessions on the third day and closed on 166 for two.

Sri Lanka claimed the upper hand in the third Test against Australia in Colombo, as they shaded all three sessions on the third day and closed on 166 for two in response to Australia's 316 all out.

The hosts will head into day three trailing by 150 runs with eight wickets in hand on a flat pitch and with their two best batsmen at the crease.

Tharanga Paranavitana fell early in the final session when he was superbly caught at short cover by Ricky Ponting off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson for 46, but Mahela Jayawardene joined Kumar Sangakkara and the duo put on an unbroken 69-run stand to keep Sri Lanka on top.

With the hot sun drawing all the moisture out of the pitch the Australian bowlers were made to toil, and Sangakkara closed on 61 not out while Jayawardene was unbeaten on 31.

Lahiru Thirimanne was the only batsman to fall in a sedate second session, with Peter Siddle finally breaking through the debutant's defences to bowl the left-hander for a patient 28.

Thirimanne had put on 56 for the first wicket with Tharanga Paranavitana in 25 overs, giving Sri lanka a solid platform on which to build.

Sangakkara's arrival at the crease sped up the run-rate as tea approached, allowing the hosts to reduce the deficit to 230 by the time the interval arrived.

A productive morning had seen the hosts remove Australia's last five wickets for just 81 runs, with Michael Hussey's century offset by a lack of wag from the tail, which ultimately meant that only four batsmen in the Australian innings reached double figures.

Hussey and Brad Haddin set off at speed against the second new ball, plundering boundaries on both sides of the wicket, but Shaminda Eranga's return brought the breakthrough in the fifth over of the day as he had Haddin caught behind for 35.

Although Haddin didn't feel he had hit it, the review contained a healthy noise which could only have been an edge and so Tony Hill's decision was upheld.

Having gone wicketless on day one, Chanaka Welegedera ran through the tail, with the left-armer dismissing Johnson and Siddle with consecutive deliveries, before having Trent Copeland caught at second slip in his next over.

Copeland had at least stuck around long enough to see Hussey go to his second century of the series off 157 balls, and the left-hander went on to add some valuable runs with last man Nathan Lyon before eventually playing on off Eranga to finish with 118.

That gave debutant Eranga 4 for 65 in his first innings, while Welegedera finished with 3 for 75.

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