Tillakaratne Dilshan led a fighting counter-attack with an gutsy century as Sri Lanka trailed Australia by 141 runs with two days to play in the first Hobart Test yesterday. Dilshan batted for almost seven hours for his 147 and shared in a record Sri Lanka stand in Australia with Angelo Mathews to get the tourists within 114 runs of the home side’s first innings of 450 for five declared.
The Australians tightened their grip on the match reaching third day stumps at 27 without loss and were in the box seat to press on for their first victory of the domestic summer after losing the recent three-Test series to South Africa. “It is very satisfying, especially as it was against a great bowling attack and in Australia with the extra bounce in the wicket,” Dilshan said of his first century in Australia.
“I always try to score runs and I’ve always been positive throughout my career. I just go for it first ball.” At the close, Ed Cowan was on 16 with David Warner not out on eight. Sri Lanka, boosted by Dilshan’s 15th Test century and good play from Mathews (75) and Prasanna Jayawardene (40), were bowled out for 336.
Peter Siddle knocked over the Sri Lankan tail to finish with five for 54 off 25.3 overs. “It’s about pressing forward tomorrow, obviously it’s going to be hard to start tomorrow morning for the batters, but they’ll dig in and we’ve just got to play it from there and see how we go and see what target we can go with,” Siddle said.
Dilshan’s innings-saving effort came to an end when he was yorked by Mitchell Starc in the 98th over. The 36-year-old hit 21 boundaries off 273 balls. It was Dilshan’s second century against Australia following his 104 at Galle in 2004. He shared in a record 161-run stand with Mathews for the fifth wicket on the third day.