Sri Lanka lose openers in chase of huge target against Australia at Hobart

Shane Watson removed in-form Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for 11 on the fourth day Getty Images

Hobart: Dec 17, 2012

Sri Lanka were struggling at 65 for two at stumps on the fourth day, in pursuit of 393 to win against Australia in the opening Test match at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.

Sri Lanka need a further 328 runs to win with eight wickets in hand.

Earlier in the day, the Australians finished nine wickets down after captain Michael Clarke retired hurt with an injured hamstring after smashing 57 off 46 balls and injured bowler Ben Hilfenhaus batted despite a side strain.

Australia collapsed, losing their last eight wickets for 146, after openers David Warner (68) and Ed Cowan (56) put on 132 for the first wicket.

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath captured five for 96 to lead the Sri Lanka counter-attack.

The highest successful run chase in 10 previous Tests at Bellerive was Australia’s 369 for six against Pakistan in 1999.

The home side looked to be travelling along nicely going to lunch at 146 for two before it all unravelled in the middle session as they went after quick runs for an apparent innings declaration.

Shane Watson went three overs after lunch, going after a referral went against him for a stumping off Herath for five and he was soon followed by Phil Hughes.

Brief Scores: Australia 450 for 5 dec & 278 for 9 dec (David Warner 68, Michael Clarke retd. hurt 57, Ed Cowan 56; Rangana Herath 5 for 96, 3 for 89) lead Sri Lanka 336 & 65 for 2 (Dimuth Karunaratne 30, Kumar Sangakkara 18*; Shane Watson 1 for 10, Mitchell Starc 1 for 21) by 328 runs.

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(With inputs from AFP)