Colombo - A gritty century from Kaushal Silva gave Sri Lanka a commanding
288-run second innings lead Tuesday, dimming Australia's hopes of a
consolation win in the third and final Test in Colombo.
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
First innings centurion Dhananjaya de Silva was unbeaten on 44 with Suranga Lakmal yet to get off the mark at close of play.
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
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.
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.
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
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 counter-attack was halted when
he was trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc, who has taken two wickets.
Sri Lanka, who resumed on Tuesday on 22 for one, quickly scored two runs to erase the 24-run first innings deficit.
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.
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.