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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 12:21 GMT
Sri Lanka gain upper hand
3rd Test, Colombo, day three:
Sri Lanka 408 all out v Australia 401& 80-3 (at close)

Hashan Tillakaratne
Tillakaratne showed a straight defensive bat to the bowlers

Sri Lanka picked up three wickets in the final session to give themselves a chance of a consolation win over Australia in the third Test.

The tourists ended day three on 80-3 in their second innings, a lead of 74, after dismissing Sri Lanka for 407.

Captain Hashan Tillakaratne's battling 74 enabled the home side to edge past Australia's first innings total.

And they removed Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting and night-watchman Jason Gillespie to hold the edge at stumps.

Justin Langer remained unbeaten on 29, having a survived a loud appeal for a bat-pad catch on seven, after an eventful day which saw him charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

The home side began the day on 239-2, with Marvan Atapattu 109 not out, but immediately ran into trouble as paceman Gillespie raised his game after an indifferent performance on the second day.

His third ball found the edge of Mahela Jayawardene's bat and he was caught behind by Adam Gilchrist without adding to his overnight score of 29.

The next delivery was a magnificent leg-cutter which beat Tillakaratne Dilshan all ends up and clipped the top of off stump, sending him packing for a duck.

The hat-trick ball was directed at leg stump and Tillakaratne, who could be sacked after the match following Australia's wins in the first two Tests, was able to nudge it away to the fine leg boundary.

He soon lost partner Atapattu for 118, however, as Michael Kasprowicz sent his off stump cartwheeling out of the ground.

Any hopes Australia had of racing through the lower order were frustrated by Tillkaratne and Samaraweera but it was tough going for the crowd as the score progressed at a rate of under three an over.

Australia's frustration showed when skipper Ricky Ponting appealed for the dismissal of Tillakaratne when he noticed a bail lying on the ground between deliveries.

TV replays showed Langer had dislodged the bail while changing fielding positions and ruled the batsman not out, although play was held up by several minutes.

Their stand was worth 71 when Samaraweera was caught behind off Gillespie for 41 and Shane Warne collected his first scalp of the innings and 513th of his career by bowling Chaminda Vaas for 24.

Michael Kasprowicz takes a wicket
Australia were delighted to see the back of Atapattu

Nuwan Zoysa was stumped by Gilchrist off Darren Lehmann, who took 3-50, and Kasprowicz ended the innings after tea when Muralitharan was caught for eight.

Langer and Hayden began Australia's reply by putting on 40 for the first wicket before the latter was lbw to Vaas for 28.

Ponting followed for 20 when he edged left-arm spinner Herath to slip and the final ball of the day from Muralitharan saw Gillespie attempt an ambitious drive which ended in the hands of Jayawardene.

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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