Sri Lanka need a best-ever show
Australia leads Sri Lanka by 328 runs heading into the final day of the first test, setting the tourists a challenging victory target before restricting them to a second-innings 65-2. Australia captain Michael Clarke helped his side to 278/9 and a target of 393 before Shane Watson and Mitchell Starc removed the Sri Lanka openers before close of play Monday.
Kumar Sangakkara (18) and Mahela Jayawardene (5) were the unbeaten batsmen, intent on staying at the crease rather than scoring. Jayawardene faced 25 balls before his first run. The highest successful run chase in 10 previous tests at Hobart was Australia's 369-6 against Pakistan in 1999. Sri Lanka has never won in Australia and has never successfully chased more than 352.
One glimmer of hope for Sri Lanka is that Ben Hilfenhaus will again be unfit to bowl because of a side strain. The paceman was replaced by a substitute fielder during the first innings and, although he was able to bat, has been ruled out of the second test in Melbourne.
"He's certainly not a starter for Boxing Day and we'll see after that,'' coach Mickey Arthur said. "All I can say is we've had a list of bowlers leading into our summer, and we're well down the list at the moment,'' Arthur said. James Pattinson, Ryan Harris, Patrick Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are already on the sidelines, leaving Mitchell Johnson likely to be recalled. Clarke retired with a right hamstring injury and Cricket Australia said he will be evaluated by medical staff, but the skipper led his team onto the field for the start of Sri Lanka's second innings after tea, taking a fielding position at first slip.
Brief scores: Australia 1st Innings 450/5 & 278/9 decl.(David Warner 68, Michael Clarke 57 retired hurt; Rangana Herath 5-95). Sri Lanka 2nd Innings 336 & 65/2 (Dimuth Karunaratne 30)
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