Australia's lead swells to 260 against Sri Lanka on Day Four of first Test

Ed Cowan fell after scoring 56 in the second innings Getty Images

Hobart: Dec 17, 2012

Australia pushed their lead out to 260 runs with eight wickets in hand with a declaration looming later on the fourth day of the first Hobart Test against Sri Lanka on Monday.

The Australians lost both openers David Warner and Ed Cowan in the extended morning session but were in charge and expected to set Sri Lanka a fourth innings target and give their bowlers time to effect a result.

At lunch, Australia were 146 for two with Phil Hughes not out nine and Shane Watson on two.

The Australian opening pair methodically built up the runs to reach their century partnership and extend the lead beyond 200 before Warner turned on the fireworks.

He slogged spinner Rangana Herath for six over long-on and then switch hit the left-arm spinner for four.

But he perished when he attempted to cut Herath and feathered a catch to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene on 68, some 30 minutes before lunch.

The opening partnership was worth 132 runs off 41.1 overs.

Cowan, who raised his half-century with a late cut for four off Chanaka Welegedara, survived a referral on 34 for caught behind but the “Hot Spot” infra-red imaging system could not detect any contact with the bat and he stayed at the crease.

But the Tasmanian left-hander was bowled off-stump by Welegedara for 56 shortly before lunch with one that cut back in.

The highest successful run chase in 10 previous Tests at Bellerive was Australia’s 396 for six against Pakistan in 1999.

But Australian skipper Michael Clarke will be mindful that the last time Sri Lanka played a Test match in Hobart in 2007 the Lions scored 410 in the fourth innings with Kumar Sangakkara scoring 192, although Sri Lanka still lost the Test by 96 runs.

Brief Scores: Australia 450 & 146 for 2 (David Warner 68, Ed Cowan 56) lead Sri Lanka 336 (Tillakaratne Dilshan 147, Angelo Mathews 75; Peter Siddle 5 for 54) by 260 runs.

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