Colombo (AFP): Overnight batsman Kaushal Silva helped build a 85-run lead for Sri Lanka after Australian bowlers claimed three wickets Tuesday in an evenly poised third and final Test in Colombo.
Sri Lanka, who resumed play on 22 for one, quickly scored two runs they needed to erase the 24-run deficit on Australia’s first innings and were 109 for four at lunch on the fourth day.
Silva was unbeaten on 32 with skipper Angelo Mathews on four at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon struck in the first hour of play when Dimuth Karunaratne was stumped for 22.
Lyon very nearly claimed another wicket in Silva, but the opener successfully reviewed an lbw decision in his favour.
Australia also benefited from a review after left-arm spinner Jon Holland had Kusal Perera caught off a top edge which took the pads and went into the gloves of the wicketkeeper.
Perera, who scored 24, was undone by a side angle replay after a front-on view had been inconclusive and the third umpire overturned the decision.
First match centurion Kusal Mendis hit a quickfire 18 off 14 balls with two sixes and a four but his counter-attack was halted when he was trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc.
Centuries from skipper Steven Smith and Shaun Marsh had given Australia hope of a big first innings lead on Monday but their departure saw the visitors lose their last seven wickets for 104 runs to be all out for 379 in response to Sri Lanka’s 355.
Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath led the attack, snaring six wickets to restrict Australia’s first innings lead.
Sri Lanka, with an unassailable 2-0 lead, are looking for their first Test series whitewash against Australia.