Australia will bank on Mitchell Starc to make further amends in Sri Lanka's second innings on Day 4© AFP
Australia will bank on Mitchell Starc to make further amends in Sri Lanka’s second innings on Day 4© AFP

Australia and Sri Lanka ended Day Three of the third and final Test with the match evenly poised. At the moment, no team looks ahead of each other, as anything can happen in the next two days. Sri Lanka have an unassailable lead in the three-Test series by winning the previous two Tests by huge margins and would like to make further inroads by achieving a whitewash. The No. 1 Test team has lots at stake as Pakistan, England and India are breathing down their neck in the ICC Test rankings and a clean sweep by the hosts can make their matters worse. Australia have showed improvement in the match, but still not ahead in the game. Here are some highlights from the day’s play by Aditya Sahay: FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs Australia, 3rd Test at Colombo

Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith sowed the seeds of a solid first innings score: Both Marsh and Smith looked unscathed in the morning session as both played spin carefully, and looked in complete control of the proceedings. Marsh reached his fourth Test hundred while skipper Smith followed it up soon with his fifteenth Test century. It was his seventh after taking over the reins of the team. The duo added a whopping 246 runs together for the second wicket as the Lankans rotated the bowlers but remained unsuccessful.

Sri Lanka clawed back in the second session with three wickets: Australia ended the first session at 235 for 1 but things started to drift away in the second session. Suranga Lakmal provided the much needed breakthrough for his side dismissing Marsh. After his dismissal, the gates opened for the hosts to ran through the rest of the batting order and they did manage to dismiss Smith and Moises Henriques quickly. Adam Voges and Mitchell Marsh added a few runs by surviving some close calls before tea break. Full Cricket Updates, Sri Lanka vs Australia, 3rd Test

Rangana Herath castled the Australian lower-order again: Herath did what he does best on Day Three of the final Test, as he rattled apart the inexperienced batting order of Australia after their centurions departed. Mitchell Marsh showed improvements with the bat with a vital fifty but no one stood by him. Wickets fell from the other end as Herath held one end with his spin. He ended the innings with six wickets and overtook Muttiah Muralitharan‘s tally of 26 wickets versus Australia. He also equaled Muralitharan’s record of most 5-fors against Australia. He has now taken five 5-fors and 27 scalps against the visitors.

Sri Lanka ended the day trailing by two runs and nine wickets: Australia ended their innings with 379 runs, leading Sri Lanka by 24 runs. Sri Lanka came into bat with Dilwuran Perera and Dimuth Karunaratne taking stance. Perera soon departed for 8 with Mitchell Starc again providing the breakthrough. Sri Lanka have managed to not lose another wicket at stumps but are still two runs behind Australia’s lead. ALSO READ: Herath equals Muralitharan’s record of most 5-fors haul vs AUS

The match is well balanced as a collapse by the hosts in their second innings can put the visitors on top whereas a good day’s play for the hosts on Day Four can again test Australia as they would be batting fourth on the final day.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)