Jaques and Hussey put Australia on top

Published: Friday, November 16, 2007, 13:56 [IST]
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Phil Jaques and Mike Hussey scored back-to-back Test centuries as Australia took a vice grip on the second cricket Test with Sri Lanka after the opening day's play at Bellerive Oval here.

Jaques followed up his century in Australia's first Test innings victory over the Sri Lankans in Brisbane last week with 150 and Hussey scored a last-over hundred after his 133 in Brisbane as the Australians powered to 329 for three at the close after winning the toss.

Hussey, averaging over 87 per Test innings, pulled a short ball from Farveez Maharoof to the mid-wicket fence in the final over of the day to go to stumps on an unbeaten 101.

Michael Clarke, who scored 145 not out in Australia's only innings in Brisbane, was not out eight.

"The crowd was geeing me up and clapping every ball so I was pretty keen to get it tonight,' Hussey said of bringing up his hundred in the last over.

"I was trying to put it out of my mind but I was pretty keen to get it. The pitch was so good and I was 'in' on the pitch so I felt pretty good.

"Maybe I took a couple of unnecessary risks towards the end but I'm just delighted to get through to be not out at the end of the day. That was the most important thing."

The Australians threaten to once again grind down the Sri Lankan bowlers after amassing 551 for four declared in the innings win in Brisbane.

Jaques, who has replaced retired opener Justin Langer, was once again a star to register in second Test century in consecutive innings.

The New South Wales left-hander occupied the crease for almost five and a half hours in his 237-ball effort with 18 boundaries.

"I really wanted to make a big hundred today and make sure I pushed on after a hundred (in Brisbane) and really cash in," Jaques said.

"It's great to come in and make a contribution.

Jaques holed out to Dilhara Fernando at long-on off the left-arm spin bowling of Sanath Jayasuriya with Australia in command at 285 for three after a 152-run partnership with Hussey.

His opening partner Matthew Hayden was caught behind off the bowling of Fernando, scoring 17 in an opening stand of 48 with Jaques.

Skipper Ricky Ponting shared in an 85-run partnership for the second wicket with Jaques.

Yet again Ponting fell to Muttiah Muralitharan, this time to his "doosra" and was caught at first slip for 31.

The skipper was well stranded and stumped off Muralitharan for 56 in Brisbane and the bewitching spinner is now five wickets away from equalling Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne's world record of 708 Test wickets.

Muralitharan finished the day with 1-62 off 25 overs.

In his 18th Test, Hussey continued his glorious scoring run, keeping his average over 80. It stands at 87.19 and in Test history, only Don Bradman with 99.94 has a higher average (minimum 20 innings).

"I'm happy to keep it where it is for as long as possible," Hussey said.

"But I know eventually one day it's (batting average) going to start coming down to a more normal level."

Hussey has hit 15 fours in 173 balls.

Australia named an unchanged side while Sri Lanka recalled Lasith Malinga and fit-again Kumar Sangakkara, dropping 99-Test paceman Chaminda Vaas and middle-order batsman Thilan Samaraweera.

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