Sangakkara ton boosts SL hope

Hobart, November 19:

Australia require seven wickets and Sri Lanka 260 runs for a history-making win on what promises to be a compelling final day of the second Test here on Tuesday.

The match can be snatched away by the Sri Lankans, but they will have to defy history to achieve their come-from-behind win after a heavy defeat in the first Test. Australia set Sri Lanka 507 runs to win. Only three teams in Test history have scored beyond 400 runs for a fourth innings victory.

It looked as though Brett Lee had undermined Sri Lanka’s hopes with two crucial wickets late on Monday’s fourth day. The pace spearhead lured Marvan Atapattu (80) into a trap for his favoured hook shot and then bowled Mahela Jayawardene (0) next ball to put the Australians in the box seat.

But a fluent century from Kumar Sangakkara, his 15th Test hundred, late in the day gave the Sri Lankans some hope of pulling off a stunning victory. At the close, Sangakkara was unbeaten on 109 with Sanath Jayasuriya not out 33 in an unbroken 89-run stand. Sri Lanka were 247-3.

Lee broke Atapattu’s 143-run second-wicket stand with Sangakkara. Atapattu defied the Australian attack hitting nine fours off 164 balls. His partnership with Sangakkara had stabilised the innings after Michael Vandort departed early. Sangakkara reached his century with a boundary off leg-spinner Stuart MacGill.

Earlier, Ponting — who remained unbeaten on 53 with Mike Hussey on 34 — made the declaration 45 minutes before lunch, giving his bowlers just over five sessions to bowl out Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka will have to create history to win the Hobart Test. The world record fourth innings run chase for victory was 418-7 by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in May 2003. Phil Jaques (68) was the only Australian wicket to fall today, caught on the point boundary by Vandort off Lasith Malinga.


Australia — 1st Innings: 542-5 dec

Sri Lanka — 1st Innings: 246

Australia — 2nd Innings (Overnight: 111-1)

P Jacques c Vandort b Malinga 68

R Ponting not out 53

M Hussey not out 34

Extras: 22 (19nb,1lb,2b)

Total: 210/2(dec)

FoW: 1-83, 2-154

Sri Lanka bowling: Malinga 12-0-61-1,

Fernando 12-1-50-0, Murali 20-1-90-1, Jayasuriya 2-0-6-0

Sri Lanka — 2nd Innings

M Atapattu c Jacques b Lee 80

M Vandort c sub b Johnson 4

K Sangakkara not out 109

M Jayawardene b Lee 0

S Jayasuriya not out 33

Extras: 21 (10nb, 5w, 6lb)

Total: 247/3

FoW: 1-15, 2-158, 3-158

Australia bowling: Lee 16-2-40-2,

Johnson 19-3-65-1, Clark 13-4-33-0, MacGill 16-0-93-0, Clarke 6-1-10-0