Patient Marsh holds Australians together

Shaun Marsh continued his impressive start to life in Test cricket as Australia hit back from a shaky start to frustrate Sri Lanka in Colombo on the opening day of the third and final Test in Colombo. The tourists were 235 for 5 when bad light stopped play.

A knock of 81 off 207 balls by Marsh held the Australian innings together as they struggled for runs throughout the rain-interrupted day. Michael Hussey was unbeaten on 63 with Brad Haddin 21 not out at the close.

Marsh's innings was ended in the final session by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who bowled him with a straight delivery. He figured in two useful partnerships of 79 with Ricky Ponting and 70 with Hussey.

The afternoon session was delayed by 40 minutes due to rain but it made no difference to the home bowlers, who snared the key wickets of former captain Ponting for 48 and current skipper Michael Clarke for six.

Suranga Lakmal picked up Ponting's wicket at 101 for 3 while debutant Shaminda Eranga took his second wicket of the innings when he dismissed Clarke.

Marsh, who made a century on debut in the drawn Second Test, anchored the innings and looked solid in defence as he hit seven fours. Australia lead the three-Test series 1-0.

PA

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