Marsh makes opening statement

Shaun Marsh was 13 runs away from a century on his debut and Mike Hussey hit an unbeaten 76 as Australia piled on Sri Lanka's misery in the second Test in Pallekele on Friday.

Mike Hussey (left) and Shaun Marsh walk back after day's play was cut
short by bad light yesterday. Pic/AFP

The West Australian pair put on 148 for the unbroken fourth wicket as the tourists moved to a commanding 264-3 in their first innings when bad light halted play soon after tea. Marsh was on 87 and Hussey followed his match-winning 95 in the first Test in Galle with another half-century as Australia built a 90-run lead with seven wickets still in hand.

The pair joined forces after Sri Lanka had grabbed three quick wickets in the morning session to restrict Australia to 116-3 in reply to their own 174. Former Australian opener Geoff Marsh looked on from the stands as his 28-year-old son mastered the Sri Lankan attack with 11 boundaries after a dour start. Marsh had come into the Test side in place of former captain Ricky Ponting, who had to return home after Galle for the birth of his second child.

The knock will help the left-hander cement his place in the team even when Ponting returns for the third and final Test in Colombo from September 16. 

Brief scores:
Sri Lanka 174.
Australia 264-3
(Shaun Marsh 87 n.o., Michael Hussey 76 n.o.)

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