Marsh and Hussey make hay
Mike Hussey and Test debutant Shaun Marsh made centuries as Australia took a stranglehold on the second Test against Sri Lanka on an abbreviated third day in Pallekele.
The pair put on 258 for the fourth wicket and, though the loss of Hussey just before lunch sparked a minor collapse, the tourists were firmly in command at 411 for seven, a first-innings lead of 237.
Marsh’s achievement was particularly notable as he became the 19th Australian to make a debut ton, and only the second from number three after Bill Ponsford in 1924.
Filling the slot vacated by former captain Ricky Ponting, who is back in Tasmania for the birth of his second child, the 28-year-old Western Australian made a strong case for being the veteran's permanent replacement for years to come.
He joined his father Geoff in making three figures for his country when he swept Suraj Randiv to midwicket, having faced 234 balls.
Starting the day with an advantage of 90, Australia were keen to press on and, having passed 300, Hussey was their first batsman to reach his milestone, taking 193 balls to get there.
He fell before lunch for 142 when he gave Thilan Samaraweera his first Test wicket since 2004 by lofting him straight into the hands of Kumar Sangakkara at deep cover.
And Sri Lanka took that momentum into the truncated afternoon session, Suresh Randiv just missing out on a hat-trick as Australia lost three quick wickets.
Having taken lunch at 378 for four and moved on to 391, the tourists then lost three wickets for one run and added only another 19 by the time the skies opened.
Marsh looked to pull Suranga Lakmal but played the ball too low and sent an outside edge into the safe hands of Sangakkara to depart for 141.
With a healthy advantage, Australia had no need to panic, but Haddin came down the wicket to a full-length delivery from Randiv and could not get the height to clear Sangakkara at mid-on before Johnson shouldered arms to Randiv first ball and was bowled.
Ryan Harris saw off the hat-trick ball and scraped his way through to nine when the players left the field, with Usman Khawaja on 13 at the other end.