It would be another test of character for the Australians to face Rangana Herath on Day 5 of 3rd Test © AFP
Australia would feel the pressure of playing Rangana Herath on Day 5 of 3rd Test to avoid further humiliation © AFP

Sri Lanka ended Day Four of the final Test by battling it out in the second innings and reaching 312 for 8 against Australia. They have now stretched the lead to 288 runs and would certainly feel that they have their nose ahead seeing Australia’s woeful run against spin. Australia were bowled out for 379 and ended Day Three by taking one Sri Lankan wicket with their score at 22.  Australia had their moments in this game as on Day One Sri Lanka were reeling at 26 for 5 but went onto score 355 in the first innings. On the contrary, even a brilliant 246-runs stand between centurions, Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith could not bolster the visitors in taking a mammoth lead as they somehow managed to take a lead of only 24 runs. Kaushal Silva hammered the Australians on Day Four with a disciplinary batting performance as he scored 115 runs off 269 balls thereby putting the hosts on verge of a clean sweep versus the No. 1 ranked Test team. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs Australia, 3rd Test at Colombo

Australia would again be tested on the final day as the pitch is expected to favour the spinners and their record against Sri Lanka’s spinners in this series tells about their dismal show. It will be interesting to see how they deal with the target set by hosts and how they go about it. They are known as a team who always go for a win and not play for draw, but with their current form with the bat and threat of a clean sweep by the Lankans, they have a task in hand. Mitchell Starc continued with his impressive performance with the red cherry on Day Four as he picked up two wickets but it was Jon Holland and Nathan Lyon who were the chief destroyers of the home team’s batting line-up. They shared six wickets among them, with a four-for, till now by Lyon, but still not could run through Sri Lanka’s lower-order. COMPLETE UPDATES: Sri Lanka vs Australia, 3rd Test at Colombo

Silva was the stand out performer for his team as he stuck to one end while others chipped in with useful contributions. He stitched two half-century stands with skipper, Angelo Mathews and his deputy, Dinesh Chandimal. Kusal Perera and and Kusal Menids also got starts but perished before making a big mark. Sri Lanka have been shuffling a lot with their inexperienced top-order but it has been there lower-order, with the ploy of making Chandimal bat down, that has rescued them a lot in the series. ALSO READ: Day report: Kaushal Silva slams ton as Sri Lanka’s lead surges to 288 vs Australia in 3rd Test

Sri Lanka’s bowlers will try to add more pressure against Australia and it would be a great test of skill and temperament for them to play positively on Day Five and sign off on a good note. A win seems out of proportion for the visitors but how they approach with the bat and play spin will determine how much they have learned from past failures. No one apart from Smith and the Marsh brothers have made a mark in the series and the onus will be on them. They have a grueling season ahead in the sub-continent and will like to make most use of this opportunity. On the other hand, the hosts will like a complete demolition of the visitors with another impressive performance on the field in the decisive 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)