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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 March, 2004, 11:56 GMT
Atapattu leads home charge
3rd Test, Colombo, day two (close): Australia 401 v Sri Lanka 239-2
Marvan Atapattu
Atapattu hit 17 boundaries in his 12th Test century

Marvan Atapattu's unbeaten 109 put Sri Lanka in a strong position at stumps on day two of the third Test against Australia in Colombo.

The hosts reached 239-2 after earlier bowling Australia out for 401.

Atapattu put on 134 runs for the first wicket with Sanath Jayasuriya, who made 71 before becoming the first of two Darren Lehmann victims.

Lehmann was earlier dismissed for 153 as Australia added 87 runs to their overnight score of 314-6.

Lehmann's second ton of the series, and the fifth of his 18-Test career, spanned six hours and 268 balls and included 14 fours and two sixes.

Muttiah Muralitharan returned 5-123 to take his Test tally to 510 wickets.

It's disappointing that the big knock is coming after the series is lost
Marvan Atapattu

Lehmann and Shane Warne rode their luck against the second new ball as they extended their seventh-wicket partnership to 77 before Sri Lanka broke through.

Warne was given a life on 13 by Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's fifth dropped catch at slip in the last two matches, and was nearly caught at short-leg on 16 and 19.

He was finally trapped lbw for 32 as he tried to sweep Muralitharan.

Sri Lanka then wrapped up the innings quickly, Australia's last four wickets adding only 25 runs.

Jason Gillespie was caught at bat-pad for a duck off Muralitharan and Michael Kasprowicz was bowled for four by left-arm Jayasuriya.

Darren Lehmann
Lehmann hit his second ton of the series before striking twice

Lehmann was last man out as he searched for quick runs, lofting a catch to Jayasuriya at deep extra cover off Muralitharan.

Left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas, Sri Lanka's only fast bowler after Nuwan Zoysa injured his calf on the opening day, finished with 3-93 from 26 overs.

Sri Lanka, who trail 2-0 in the three-Test series, got their reply off to an electrifying start.

Boundaries flowed easily from the bat of both openers, with paceman Gillespie conceding 57 runs in nine wicketless overs.

Gillespie and Lehmann eventually combined for the breakthrough on the stroke of tea as Jayasuriya skied the left-arm spinner to end a knock that included nine fours and a six.

Atapattu and Kumar Sangakkara took the score along to 175 before Lehmann made Australia's only strike of the evening, having Sangakkara caught behind for 22.

Australia opted almost exclusively for spin as stumps drew closer, but Atapattu and Jayawardene (29 not out) were untroubled in cutting Sri Lanka's deficit to 162.

Atapattu's 12th Test century came off 199 balls and included 17 boundaries, with the promise of more to come on Friday.


Sri Lanka: Hashan Tillakaratne (captain), Marvan Atapattu, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Simon Katich, Darren Lehmann, Shane Warne, Michael Kasprowicz, Jason Gillespie, Brad Williams.




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