Cricket: Australians toil

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ARJUNA RANATUNGA, the Sri Lankan captain, and Asanka Gurusinha shared an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 128 to take control of the first Test against Australia in Colombo yesterday.

By the end of the second day Sri Lanka, replying to Australia's 256, had made 265 for 3, and Australia will have to survive on a pitch already taking spin.

Gurusinha and Ranatunga already hold the record for Sri Lanka's fourth wicket, an unbeaten 240 against Pakistan in 1986. Gurusinha, playing the anchor role after the early dismissal of opener Chandika Hathurusinghe, scored 87 in 291 minutes with 13 fours. When he had made 43, he became only the seventh Sri Lankan to pass 1,000 runs in Test cricket.

Ranatunga, on 69 by the close, was severe on the young leg-spinner, Shane Warne, hitting him for 29 in three overs, including three sixes. He also hit six fours.

Before they came together, Roshan Mahanama had dominated a second-wicket stand of 92 with Gurusinha. He made 78 before becoming the second victim of Mark Waugh's medium pace. Australia's only other success came when Greg Matthews trapped Aravinda De Silva leg before for six.

AUSTRALIA - First innings 256 (I A Healy 66no; U C Hathurusinghe 4-66).

SRI LANKA - First innings

(Overnight: 9 for 0)

R S Mahanama not out c Healy b Waugh78

U C Hathurusinghe c Taylor b Waugh18

A P Gurusinha not out87

P A De Silva lbw Matthews6

* A Ranatunga not out69

Extras (lb2 nb5)7

Total (for 3)265

Fall: 1-36 2-128 3-137.

To bat: M Atapattu, R Kaluwitharana, C P H Ramanayake, G P Wickremasinghe, S D Anurasiri, R Madurasinghe.

Bowling: McDermott 21-5-51-0; Whitney 19-6- 44-0; Moody 12-3-27-0; Waugh 11-3-31-2; Warne 10-2-55-0; Matthews 21-5-55-1.