Cricket: Ranatunga reaches Test mark

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Australia 337

Sri Lanka 215-4

ARJUNA RANATUNGA became the first Sri Lankan to score 2,000 Test runs as he defied Australia on a rain-affected third day of their third Test at Moratuwa yesterday. The captain's unbeaten 45 came in a record-breaking stand of 99 with the wicketkeeper Hashan Tillekeratne (52).

Their unfinished partnership for the fifth wicket helped take Sri Lanka from an overnight 143 for 4 to 215 for 4 at the close, 122 runs short of Australia's first-innings total of 337.

Rain washed out the first four hours and it was only in the final session that play was possible under overcast conditions after parts of the outfield at the Tyronne Fernando Stadium, the world's latest Test venue, had become flooded.

Ranatunga, 28, the sole survivor of the team that played in Sri Lanka's first Test against England 10 years ago, reached a personal milestone of 2,000 Test runs that includes three centuries in his 36th Test.

The mark arrived when he pushed the leg-spinner Shane Warne to fine-leg for a single. Ranatunga hit three fours in his innings, while Tillekeratne struck five boundaries.

Both left-handers survived chances. Ranatunga was dropped on 10 by Mark Taylor at slip off the off-spinner Greg Matthews and the wicketkeeper Ian Healy put down Tillekeratne when he was on 40 off Warne.

THIRD TEST (Moratuwa, Sri Lanka): Australia First Innings 337 (A R Border 106, I A Healy 71, G R J Matthews 57; H C P Ramanayake

5-82). Sri Lanka First Innings 215 for 4 (R H S Mahanama 50, P A de Silva 58, H P Tillekeratne 52no).