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Australia 500-6 dec Sri Lanka 233 and 284-6

Australia gradually wore down Sri Lanka's spirited resistance yesterday to move within sight of victory in the second Test in Melbourne, despite a tenacious century by Asanka Gurusinha.

The left-hander frustrated Australia for seven minutes short of six hours in reaching his highest Test score of 143 to save Sri Lanka from a second successive innings defeat against the Australians. However, with only four wickets in hand and a lead of 17, their fate appears sealed.

At the close, Sri Lanka were 284 for 6 with Arjuna Ranatunga, the captain, their last recognised batsman, on six alongside the pace bowler Chaminda Vaas, on five.

Resuming on 33 for 1, Sri Lanka batted with determination to ensure Australia must bat again to take a winning 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Gurusinha, who began the day on eight, hammered one six and 15 fours during an innings lasting 274 balls. He eventually out after tea when he fell leg before to Paul Reiffel.

(Fourth day; Australia won toss)

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 500 for 6 dec (S R Waugh 131no, D C Boon 110, R T Ponting 71).

SRI LANKA - First Inings 233 (A Ranatunga 51, R S Kaluwitharana 50; G McGrath 5-40).

SRI LANKA - Second Innings

(Overnight: 33 for 1)

U C Hathurusingha lbw b Warne 39

A P Gurusinha lbw b Reiffel 143

P A de Silva c Healy b McDermott 28

R S Kaluwitharana st Healy b Warne 2

H P Tillakaratne c Ponting M E Waugh 38

*A Ranatunga not out 6

W P U C J Vaas not out 5

Extras (b7 lb5 nb8) 20

Total (for 6, 103 overs) 284

Fall (cont): 2-97, 3-168, 4-172, 5-255, 6-273.

To bat: G P Wickramasinghe, M Muralitharan, K J Silva.

Bowling: McDermott 17-1-54-1; McGrath 27-5-73-0; Reiffel 20-7-59-2; Warne 30-6-67-2; M E Waugh 9-1-19-1.

Umpires: D Hair and S Dunne (NZ).

n The Sri Lankan Board of Control for is to ask its Australian counterpart to ensure that the umpire Darrell Hair does not control any of their remaining tour matches in Australia, after he no-balled their off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing.