Silva fifty helps Sri Lanka build strong lead

Aug 16 (Reuters) – Kaushal Silva remained unbeaten after a gallant 78 to help Sri Lanka reach 187 for five, a lead of 163 runs, at tea on day four of the third and final test on Tuesday.

Batting at number three after splitting the webbing on his left hand that required stitches, the regular opening batsman notched up his 12th test fifty as Sri Lanka stretched their lead to 163 runs with five wickets in hand.

Dinesh Chandimal, who scored a century in the first innings, was batting on 10 as Sri Lanka remained on course to set Australia a steep target before unleashing their spinners to complete a 3-0 sweep in the series.

Resuming the day on 22 for one, the hosts lost three wickets in the morning session but the 58-run stand between Silva and skipper Angelo Mathews (26) helped them overcome a collapse.

Overnight batsman Dimuth Karunaratne (22) fell to a clever piece of stumping by Peter Nevill off Nathan Lyon’s bowling. The off-spinner trapped Silva leg before in his next over but the batsman successfully overturned the umpire’s decision on review.

Kusal Perera (24) hit three boundaries in a Jon Holland over but eventually fell to the left-arm spinner, fluffing a reverse sweep.

Kusal Mendis hit two sixes off Lyon but Mitchell Starc dismissed him leg before with a searing full length delivery to claim his 24th wicket in an otherwise spinner-dominated series.

Mathews fell to Lyon attempting a sweep shot but Sri Lanka’s lead swelled towards the 200-mark which could prove quite a task for Australia’s spin-wary batsmen on a final day pitch at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.

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