PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka // The home team struck back with three wickets for one run including two wickets in successive balls by the off spinner, Suraj Randiv, before rain brought an early end to the third day of the second Sri Lanka versus Australia Test Saturday.
Buoyed by 142 from Michael Hussey and 141 from Shaun Marsh on his debut, the tourists were 411 for seven when rain stopped play soon after lunch. Usman Khawaja was batting on 13 with tailender Ryan Harris on nine. Australia still had a healthy 237-run lead.
"Very surreal at the moment, very proud day," Marsh said about his century on debut. "Still can't believe, really, to be playing Test cricket, to be given an opportunity to get here and get a hundred in my first innings. I was enjoying every minute of it," he said of the seven hours he spent at the crease. Marsh's father, Geoff, was a Test opener for Australia in the 1980s and early 1990s before becoming Australia coach, a national selector and, most recently, coach of Zimbabwe.
"He was very happy I could see, very emotional for him," Marsh said of his father, who presented him with his baggy green international cap and watched him play.
Australia were 378 for four at lunch but lost the wickets of Marsh, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson during the eight overs of play that were possible afterward.
Marsh was caught by Kumar Sangakkara off seamer Suranga Lakmal, failing to keep down a rising delivery with his pull shot. He had faced 315 balls and hit 18 boundaries.
Randiv came to bowl the 129th over and dismissed Haddin with his second ball, having him caught by Sangakkara at mid-on. He delivered an arm ball next at Johnson who left it and was bowled. Sri Lanka were dismissed for 174 in their first innings but the team's coach, Rumesh Ratnayake, said that Sri Lanka could still turn it around.
"I would think everybody is aware what we have to do. If you saw the way the Aussies did it, it was a placid track from day one, we did not capitalise on that," he said. "I have no doubt the talent we have, as you all know, is capable of big scores."