Silva cen­tury puts Sri Lanka in com­mand

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

COLOMBO — A gritty cen­tury from Kaushal Silva gave Sri Lanka a commanding 288run sec­ond in­nings lead yes­ter­day, dim­ming Aus­tralia’s hopes of a con­so­la­tion win in the third and fi­nal Test in Colombo.

Sri Lanka, who are push­ing for a rare se­ries white­wash af­ter win­ning the first two Tests, were 312 for eight at stumps on the fourth day at the Sin­halese Sports Club.

First in­nings cen­tu­rion Dhanan­jaya de Silva was un­beaten on 44 with Su­ranga Lak­mal yet to get off the mark at close of play.

But the day be­longed to Silva, who bat­ted with six stitches on the web­bing of his lit­tle fin­ger af­ter in­jur­ing him­self while field­ing on Mon­day to make a com­posed 115.

The 30-year-old, mix­ing dogged de­fence and con­trolled ag­gres­sion, put to­gether a crucial 90-run part­ner­ship with first in­nings cen­tu­rion Di­nesh Chandi­mal to thwart the Aus­tralian at­tack.

Silva, who reg­u­larly re­ceived treat­ment for his in­jured left fin­ger dur­ing breaks, reached his cen­tury with a bound­ary off Adam Vo­ges as he burst into a cel­e­bra­tion.

Off-spin­ner Nathan Lyon, who claimed four wick­ets, trapped Chandi­mal lbw for 43 in the fi­nal ses­sion to break the stand.

Silva, who sur­vived an lbw ap­peal against Lyon af­ter a suc­cess­ful umpire re­view in the first ses­sion, fi­nally fell to the left-arm spin of Jon Hol­land in the 87th over.

Aus­tralia made fur­ther in­roads into the Sri Lankan line-up late in the day, but de Silva en­sured that the hosts main­tained their dom­i­na­tion of the match head­ing into day five.

Earlier Aus­tralia ben­e­fited from a re­view af­ter Hol­land had Kusal Per­era caught off a top edge which took the pads and went into the gloves of the wick­et­keeper.

Per­era, who scored 24, was un­done by a side angle re­play af­ter a front-on view had been in­con­clu­sive and the third umpire over­turned the de­ci­sion.

Kusal Mendis hit a quick­fire 18 off 14 balls with two sixes and a four. But his coun­ter­at­tack was halted when he was trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc, who has taken two wick­ets.

Sri Lanka, who re­sumed yes­ter­day on 22 for one, quickly scored two runs to erase the 24-run first in­nings deficit.

Cen­turies from skipper Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh had given Aus­tralia hope of a big first-in­nings lead on Mon­day, but their de­par­ture saw the vis­i­tors lose their last seven wick­ets for 104 runs.

Veteran spin­ner Ran­gana Herath led the Sri Lankan at­tack, snar­ing six wick­ets, with Aus­tralia all out for 379 in re­sponse to Sri Lanka’s 355.

Sri Lanka now have the chance to reg­is­ter their first white­wash against a ma­jor team since gain­ing Test sta­tus in 1981. — AFP

Kaushal Silva roars his de­light af­ter bat­tling through a split web­bing to score a crucial cen­tury, in the 3rd Test, on the 4th day against Aus­tralia yes­ter­day. AFP

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