Australia home in on clean sweep
Australia remained on course for a series whitewash after snuffing out a Sri Lanka fightback on day three of the third Test at Sydney.
After Matthew Wade had completed his second five-day century to help his side to 432 for nine and a first-innings lead of 138, the tourists initially responded well, reducing their arrears to six for the loss of just one wicket.
However, Dimuth Karunaratne then departed for 85 at the beginning of the evening session and Sri Lanka duly collapsed to 225 for seven, with Mahela Jayawardene’s 60 the only other score of note.
They will begin day four 87 ahead, with Dinesh Chandimal and Rangana Herath unbeaten on 22 and seven respectively.
Australia’s advantage stood at 48 when play resumed this morning and Wade, 47 not out overnight, appeared likely to be denied a century after losing three partners in moving to 70.
Peter Siddle reached 38 and extended his seventh-wicket stand with Wade to 77 before being caught behind on the drive off Nuwan Pradeep.
Herath then struck in successive overs to remove Mitchell Starc, who failed to overturn an lbw verdict, and Nathan Lyon, bowled through the gate.
With last man Jackson Bird for company, Wade went on the offensive and dashed to three figures with a series of powerful strokes through the off side.
Wild celebrations greeted the glorious cover-driven four off Suranga Lakmal that brought up Wade’s first Test hundred on home soil and Michael Clarke declared at the end of the over once the centurion had been dropped at fine-leg.
Sri Lanka’s openers survived a four-over spell prior to lunch, but Tillakratne Dilshan departed soon after, caught at third slip off Mitchell Johnson.
Karunaratne and Jayawardene rallied, with the former showing his proficiency through the off side en route to his highest Test score.
After bringing up his fifty with a straight six off Lyon, Karunaratne was repreived in the spinner’s next over when Wade failed to hold on to an outside edge.
Progress was otherwise comfortable, however, until Sri Lanka imploded in the evening session.
Bird found some reverse swing to draw the thinnest of nicks from Karunaratne, with Wade gratefully accepting a second chance, and also caught Lahiru Thirimanne at fine-leg off Johnson for seven.
Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews departed in soft fashion; the veteran chipped Lyon to mid-on without scoring while Mathews was run out by David Warner’s sharp work at midwicket following a mix-up with his skipper.
Jayawardene subsequently edged to first slip aiming a tired drive at Siddle, leaving Sri Lanka with a mountain to climb, and Dhammika Prasad also fell before stumps, caught behind off Starc.
In his final Test outing, Mike Hussey was brought on for the final over of the day, much to the delight of the enthusiastic SCG crowd.