Aussies in control after Clarke's declaration

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Sri Lanka has collapsed to 4-87 with their two superstar batsmen already in the sheds after Australia dominated day two of the first Test in Hobart on Saturday.

The ultra-consistent ‘Mr Cricket’ Mike Hussey was the backbone of Australia’s 5-450 declared, finishing unbeaten on 115 after skipper Michael Clarke made 74.

Returning to full fitness and growing in confidence, Tasmania’s swing specialist Ben Hilfenhaus removed Sri Lankan second-gamer Dimuth Karunaratne caught behind for 14.

Pace spearhead Peter Siddle claimed the key wicket of Kumar Sangakkara caught in the gully by Hussey for four.

But the biggest blow to Sri Lanka’s hopes of a first-innings lead came with the score on 70 when their all-time leading runscorer Mahela Jayawardene was lbw to Shane Watson for 12.

Skipper Jayawardene immediately referred the decision to the third umpire but replays showed the ball was on line.

Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan has played a typically aggressive knock of 50 not out including eight fours.

However on the last ball of the day Dilshan lost his fourth batting partner as spinner Nathan Lyon claimed the wicket of Thilan Samaraweera caught behind for seven.

Hussey’s hundred was his 19th and third in four home Tests this summer.

The 37-year-old has developed a fondness for Sri Lankan bowling attacks, reaching three figures five times in six Tests.

For once it was Hussey who overshadowed Clarke, who was caught at first slip off the bowling of Shaminda Eranga in the third over of the day.

The in-form Clarke leads all runscorers in Tests in 2012 with 1432 at a staggering average of 102.28.

Clarke and Hussey added 106 for the fifth wicket before Hussey and Matthew Wade (68 not out) shared an unbroken partnership of 146.

Hussey was dropped at deep mid-wicket on 96 as Angelo Mathews fumbled the chance and watched in horror as the ball rolled over the rope to hand Hussey his fourth hundred of 2012.

The West Australian hit eight fours and one six from 184 balls in a brilliant display.

Play will start 30 minutes early at 10am on Sunday following a series of rain interruptions on Saturday.


AUSTRALIA: Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade (wk), Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon. 12th: Mitch Johnson.

SRI LANKA: Dimuth Karunaratne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Nuwan Kulasekera, Chanaka Welegedera, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath. 12th: Dinesh Chandimal.

This story Aussies in control after Clarke's declaration first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.