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Herath scalps six to restrict Australian lead

Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith score centuries to give visitor a 24-run first-innings lead before Sri Lanka ends Day 3 on 22/1

Herath scalps six to restrict Australian lead - Cricket News
Rangana Herath's six-wicket haul helped Sri Lanka bowl Australia out for 379. © Getty Images
Centuries from Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith finally gave Australia hope of victory in the final Test against Sri Lanka on Monday (August 15) but its plans of taking a big first-innings lead were thwarted by Rangana Herath.
 
Smith and Marsh put on 246 runs for the second wicket as Australia fought gamely after restricting Sri Lanka to 355 in its first innings, but Herath then took charge of proceedings with a six-wicket haul at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
 
Australia was eventually bowled out for 379, a 24-run lead that was reduced to just two by the end of Day 3 as Sri Lanka reached 22, having lost Dilruwan Perera along the way, trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc for eight. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva were the batsmen in the middle in the final match of the series, which Australia trail 2-0.
 
Herath, who took ten wickets in the first Test and a hat-trick in the second, both of which his team won, was again the key as Sri Lanka fought back, returning 6 for 81. He ran through the second half of the Australian batting order even as Dilruwan picked up two wickets.


 
The Marsh-Smith partnership was going great guns when Suranga Lakmal struck with the second new ball in the afternoon session to send back Marsh. Marsh, who had hit a boundary off the previous ball, was bowled on 130, scored off 281 balls with 19 boundaries, as he played Lakmal's good-length delivery on to his stumps.
 
Smith, who hit ten fours and a six during his 119 from 218 balls, fell soon after when he was stumped off Herath.
 
The partnership between Smith and Marsh was the highest second-wicket stand in Tests between the two countries and the pair ensured that Australia did not lose a wicket in the first session to go to lunch on 235 for 1. Marsh survived a dropped catch on 67 early in the morning off Herath but soon took control and brought up his century with an inside edge off Dilruwan that went for a boundary.
 
Smith, who started the day on 61, reached his 15th Test century to improve on his previous best of 55 in the series.
 
Mitchell Marsh, who registered his second Test half-century, contributed a useful 53 to help Australia surpass Sri Lanka's first-innings score.

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