Marsh And Hussey Drive Australia Into The Lead
Australia 264-3 (Marsh 87no, Hussey 76no) v
Sri Lanka 174 (Mathews 58)
Second Test, Pallekele, day two
Unbeaten half-centuries from Australian team-mates Shaun Marsh and Michael Hussey helped Australia close day two of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele 90 runs ahead.
Replying to Sri Lanka's below-par effort of 174 on the opening day, Australia, who lead the three-match series 1-0, forged their way to 264 for three.
Marsh, making his debut, closed unbeaten on 87 having looked good value to mark his first appearance in an Australian Test shirt with a century while Hussey was looking equally good on 76 when bad light ended play early for the second day in a row.
The day began with Australia on 60 without loss but they failed to add a run before Shane Watson was guilty of a huge misjudgement as he left a delivery from Suranga Lakmal which cannoned into his off stump. He had made 36 in 57 balls and Phillip Hughes would also fail to get past that score, falling when he edged Suraj Randiv onto his pad and was sharply caught by Tharanga Paranavitana at short leg.
Next to go was captain Michael Clarke, whose brief innings of 13 in 20 balls came to an end when he chased a wide ball angled across him by Chanaka Welagedara and he was caught by Mahela Jayawardene behind the wicket.
From 116 for three, Western Australians Marsh and Hussey batted through until the close, never really looking like getting out.
Marsh, occupying the number three position as if he had been doing for 100 Tests, drove sweetly and used his feet to negate the threat of the spinners, threading the ball on occasion through the field.
Hussey had been brought on to bowl by Clarke on the opening day and earnt the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara. In slightly bizarre circumstances, Sangakkara ended up bowling with the new ball at Hussey and Marsh before Welagedara and Lakmal got their chance.
It made little difference as Australia continued their seemingly inexorable progress towards a huge lead as they look to move into an unassailable series lead, having won by 125 runs in Galle.
They similarly dominated the opening day, bowling Sri Lanka out for 174 after being invited to field first with Ryan Harris taking three wickets.
© Cricket World 2011