Australia remain in control against Sri Lanka

Report from Day Two of the Third Test

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The Independent Online

Australia firmly took the upper hand in the third Test against Sri Lanka after closing the second day on 342 for six in Sydney.

David Warner (85) and Phil Hughes (87) added 130 for the second wicket to help the hosts recover from the only black spot of their morning, the sloppy run-out of Ed Cowan for four.

Captain Michael Clarke added 50, putting on 56 with the departing Michael Hussey, and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade was 47 not out at the close.

With Sri Lanka bowled out just before close of play for 294 yesterday, Australia, looking for a series whitewash, started from scratch this morning and it was Warner who made all the early running.

He edged the first ball, from Suranga Lakmal, for four, then cracked three successive boundaries off Nuwan Pradeep.

In the sixth over he tried to take two off Dhammika Prasad but Cowan was lazy in his running, taking the first at a leisurely pace before stuttering in the second, and was well short of his ground as Pradeep's throw came in from the deep and the bowler removed the bails.

With the similarly attack-minded Hughes for company, Warner continued to attack and he cracked Pradeep for four to reach 50 off 37 balls.

Thereafter he scored at a slower pace, allowing Hughes to face the majority of the strike and the 24-year-old reached 50 in the over before lunch as he guided Lakmal to the boundary.

Australia were 127 for one at lunch and Hughes kept the scoreboard moving after the resumption with two slapped fours off Prasad.

But Warner perished soon after as he hit Tillakaratne Dilshan straight up into the air and Prasad held on to the catch.

Clarke could have fallen first ball, to an lbw appeal which replays showed hit the pad before the bat and was going on to hit middle and leg, but Sri Lanka did not call for DRS.

The Australia captain made them pay, hitting the next ball for four - the first of a host of typically elegant strokes.

Hughes followed Warner back to the pavilion when he cut at a ball from Rangana Herath which was too close to him and was well caught by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal.

Hussey was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd and a guard of honour from the Sri Lanka players, but it was Clarke who stole the show with lofted drives for six and four off successive Herath deliveries shortly before tea.

The crowd were silenced 15 minutes after tea when Hussey was run out.

Called through by Clarke, he dived full length but was still some way short of his ground thanks to a sharp throw from Lahiru Thirimanne.

Clarke pushed a single to bring up his 50, but fell in the next over as he scooped a slower ball from Herath high in the air and Dimuth Karunaratne held on.

Karunaratne had a tougher time of it at short leg, though.

First he dropped a simple chance to dismiss Wade off Herath, then he held one - only to have the decision reversed on review as replays showed the ball had not touched the bat.

Finally he was struck flush on the body by two full-blooded sweeps from the same batsman.

The first ball of Pradeep's new spell saw an edge from Mitchell Johnson drop short of first slip but the all-rounder edged to Chandimal two balls later to depart for 13.

Peter Siddle was 16no at stumps, having added 35 with Wade.