September 17, 2011 (AFP): Sri Lanka made a steady start in reply to Australia’s 316 in the third and final Test in Colombo on Saturday, reaching 86 for one by tea on the second day.
The hosts, seeking a series-levelling win, began slowly as the left-handed opening pair of Tharanga Paranavitana and Lahiru Thirimanne took 25 overs to put on 56 on the board.
Thirimanne, a 22-year-old playing only his second Test, scored a watchful 28 off 80 balls when he was bowled by seamer Peter Siddle just before tea.
Tharanga Paranavitana was unbeaten on 40 and Kumar Sangakkara, making his 100th Test appearance, was on 18 as the pair added 30 runs for the second wicket.
Michael Hussey, meanwhile, continued his prolific form in the current series with a second successive century to lift the tourists to 316 before they were all out 30 minutes before lunch.
Left-handed Hussey followed a match-winning 95 in the first Test in Galle and 142 in the drawn second game at Pallekele with a fluent 118 studded with 12 boundaries and two sixes.
The 36-year-old West Australian, playing his 62nd Test, passed 5,000 Test runs on way to his 15th century — the fourth against Sri Lanka.
Hussey was last man out, bowled by debutant seamer Shaminda Eranga, who finished with four for 65 after taking a wicket with his first delivery in Test cricket on Friday.
Left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara claimed three for 75, while new-ball partner Suranga Lakmal took 2-60.
Brad Haddin put on 75 for the sixth wicket with Hussey when Australia resumed the day at 235-5 before he was the first batsman to be removed in the morning session, caught behind off Eranga.
Hussey reached the 5,000-run mark with two consecutive boundaries off Welegedara that took his score to 99.
Hussey then watched from the other end as Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle were dismissed off successive balls by Welegedera, but Trent Copeland denied the seamer a hat-trick.
Hussey reached his century with a flick off Rangana Herath for a single, earning himself warm applause from his team-mates in the dressing room and 2,000 fans at the ground.
Welegedara picked up his third wicket when he had Copeland caught at second slip by Mahela Jayawardene as the Aussies slipped from 293-6 to 295-9.
Hussey scored 18 in a last-wicket stand of 21 with Nathan Lyon, including a reverse sweep off Herath to the third man fence after Sri Lanka had placed seven fielders on the leg-side.
Australia had been reduced to 22-2 in the ninth over on Friday after being sent in to bat by Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan.