Sri Lanka tumbling towards follow-on

Published: Sunday, November 18, 2007, 11:19 [IST]
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Sri Lanka were struggling to avoid the follow-on for a second straight Test match as Australia's bowlers tightened the screw on the third day of the second cricket Test at Bellerive Oval here Sunday.

The tourists unravelled losing five wickets after lunch to slide to 208 for eight at tea with leg-spinner Stuart MacGill snaring two of them.

Sri Lanka collapsed to an innings and 40-run defeat in the first Brisbane Test and were on track to repeat the ignominy in reply to the Australians' commanding 542 for five declared.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene was playing a lone hand and went to tea unconquered on 69 compiled in almost four hours and fast running out of partners. Lasith Malinga had yet to score.

Australia are closing in on their 14th consecutive Test victory, the sequence beginning against South Africa in Melbourne in December 2005.

The Australians hold the record of most successive Test wins with 16 under the captaincy of Steve Waugh from October 1999 to February 2001.

MacGill, no longer bowling in the shadow of retired world record wicket-taking leg-spinner Shane Warne, picked up the wickets of Sanath Jayasuriya (3) and Chamara Silva (4). He had 2-70 off 21 overs.

Seamer Stuart Clark deceived wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene with a leg-cutter and was caught behind for a duck.

Incapacitated paceman Farveez Maharoof, who batted with the aid of a runner after injuring his ankle, was run out for 19 in a mix-up with his runner Silva.

Dilhara Fernando needlessly played at a wide Brett Lee delivery and was snapped up by Gilchrist for two. Lee had 3-58 off 18 overs.

Before lunch paceman Lee, man-of-the-match with eight wickets in last week's Brisbane Test win, claimed the wickets of openers Michael Vandort (14) and Marvan Atapattu (25).

Nearing lunch left-armer Mitchell Johnson captured the crucial wicket of Kumar Sangakkara, caught in the gully by Mike Hussey for 57.

Sangakkara, who missed the Brisbane match with a hamstring injury, boosted his 2007 calendar average to an extraordinary 242.5 after amassing 485 runs for two dismissals in four innings.

Lee uprooted Vandort's middle-stump with a yorker in the 18th over and had Atapattu caught off a flying edge at the second attempt by Michael Clarke at wide third slip.

Sangakkara on four stood his ground when the Australians claimed a catch by Hussey in the gully off Lee.

Television replays proved inconclusive and after several minutes' delay Sangakkara was given not out.

Sangakkara had another close shave on 13 when Adam Gilchrist dropped him off Lee just before first drinks.

The ball hit the top of diving Gilchrist's gloves and the chance went to ground with Sri Lanka 62 for two at the time.

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