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Aussies remain in command

Sydney, Jan 4, 2013, Reuters: 22:43 IST

Hosts take 48-run lead with four first innings wickets in hand

Australian batsman David Warner plays a pull shot on day two of the third cricket Test between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 4, 2013. AFP Photo

Australian blew the chance to take an iron grip on the third Test against Sri Lanka on Friday and instead scrabbled to a 48-run first innings lead after reaching 342 for six at the close of the second day's play on Friday.

Phil Hughes and David Warner got the hosts off at a canter on a glorious morning with half-centuries in a partnership of 130 as Australia looked to build a big total in their bid to sweep the series 3-0.

Two run outs, including one for Mike Hussey in his final Test, and a couple of soft dismissals, however, left Sri Lanka bowling at Matthew Wade, who had survived a good few scares to reach 47, and Peter Siddle (16) when stumps were drawn.

Australia captain Michael Clarke also made 50 but will probably remember the day more for having given the call for the risky single that saw Hussey dismissed for 28 by Dimuth Karunaratne's direct hit.

“Today we could look back and feel we could have been in a better position, it would have been nice to have a couple of wickets less,” said Hughes, who hit a stylish 87, told reporters.

Sri Lanka, who made 294 in their first innings, showed considerably more fight than they had in the innings and 201 run defeat in Melbourne last week and they were only a couple of dropped catches from being right back in the match.

Hughes and Warner, who hit a pugnacious 85, had plundered runs in the opening session against a patched-up pace attack in almost perfect batting conditions.

Score board

SRI LANKA (I Innings): 294 all out
AUSTRALIA (I Innings)
Warner c Prasad b Dilshan..................85
Cowan (run out) 4
Hughes c Chandimal b Herath 87
Clarke c Karunaratne b Herath 50
Hussey (run out) 28
Wade (batting) 47
Johnson c Chandimal c Pradeep 13
Siddle (batting).......................................16
Extras (LB-5, W-7, NB-3) 15
Total (for 6 wkts, 88 overs) 342
Fall of wickets: 1-36, 2-166, 3-195, 4-251, 5-271, 6-307.
Bowling: Lakmal 20-4-63-0, Pradeep 14-0-83-1, Prasad 11-0-53-0, Mathews 2-0-11-0, Dilshan 19-2-58-1, Herath 22-3-69-2.

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