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Siddle five-for puts hosts on top

Associated Press
Dec 16, 2012 at 01:47pm IST

Hobart: Australia's depleted bowling attack put the home side back on top against Sri Lanka on Sunday, helping their side to a 141-run lead on day three of the first Test in Hobart.

A fifth-wicket stand of 161 by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews led Sri Lanka's comeback from an overnight 87-4 before Siddle dismissed Mathews for 75 shortly before tea on his way to a five-wicket haul.

Mitchell Starc then yorked Dilshan after the interval to end the opener's stubborn resistance at 147. That sparked the loss of the final five wickets for 47 runs and left the tourists 114 runs short of Australia's 450-5 declared.

1st Test, Aus vs SL: Siddle five-for puts hosts on top despite Dilshan ton

Australia finished day three at 27 for no loss leading Sri Lanka by 141 runs after Siddle's five-for had bundled out the visitors for 336.

Openers Ed Cowan and David Warner negotiated an uncomfortable 14 overs before stumps to guide Australia to 27-0 in its second innings.

Australia are now well-placed to improve a record of eight wins and no defeats in 10 home Tests against Sri Lanka, although changeable weather means a draw is possible.

Day three was dominated by Dilshan's 414-minute innings for Sri Lanka and Siddle's 5-54 for Australia, his sixth career haul of five wickets in an inning.

Sri Lanka needed a big performance from Dilshan after Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene failed Saturday. The 36-year-old batsman responded with a display of positive stroke play in the morning session before the bowlers cut out the loose balls in the afternoon.

"It worked out alright in the end," Siddle said. "We started out a bit slow, a bit all over the place but we tightened things up after lunch. We try to go off the theory that back-to-back maidens builds up the pressure. "And it worked out today."

Dilshan and Mathews took on the home bowlers to add 100 runs before lunch, buoyed by the absence of Ben Hilfenhaus, who departed with a side strain after bowling just 20 balls in the session. The problem could mean Australia, which is already without James Pattinson, Patrick Cummins and Josh Hazlewood because of injury, will be further depleted for the second Test in Melbourne, though Mitchell Johnson is 12th man for this Test and an able back-up.

Reluctance to chase singles and improved discipline from Siddle and his team mates meant that, at one point in the afternoon, Dilshan scored just five runs in more than an hour. Siddle beat the bat a couple of times and replays showed Dilshan nicking the ball through to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade while on 125 — but there was no appeal.

There was no let-off when Mathews appealed against his dismissal, replays showing that Siddle's ball nicked his pad and would have clipped the top of the middle stump. He departed having scored 11 fours from 186 balls, his stand with Dilshan the highest for any wicket by Sri Lanka in Australia.

The 36-year-old Dilshan's 15th Test century— and first in Australia — came to an end against Starc, leaving Siddle to remove Prasanna Jayawardene (40) and Rangana Herath (0), both lbw. Herath would have survived had Sri Lanka had any appeals remaining since replays showed a clear inside edge onto his pad.

Nathan Lyon finished with 2-76 after tempting Nuwan Kulasekara to unsuccessfully repeat a huge six earlier in the over, leaving the fielder with a catch in the outfield, and Siddle wrapped things up when Hussey caught last man Chanaka Welegedara for 0.

"We would have liked to have got them a little bit sooner,".Siddle said. "We let things go a bit early on but we worked on things after lunch. It speaks for itself the results we got after that."

Hussey's 115 not out in the first innings means Australia is still in charge following captain Michael Clarke's aggressive declaration.wickets for 47 runs and left the tourists 114 runs short of Australia's 450-5 declared.

Openers Ed Cowan and David Warner negotiated an uncomfortable 14 overs as Australia finished the day on 27-0 in its second innings.

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