Hobart Test: Australia 8 wickets from Test win over Sri Lanka
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Australia were eight wickets and Sri Lanka a more improbable 328 runs away from victory in the first Hobart Test after a see-sawing fourth day here today.
Sri Lanka bowled out Australia for 278 with star spinner Rangana Herath taking five wickets, leaving them with 393 runs to win at tea. They went to stumps on 65 for two with a day to play.
Kumar Sangakkara and skipper Mahela Jayawardene dug in until close of play. Sangakkara's 18 came off 88 balls and Jayawardene (5) took 25 balls to get off the mark.
The tourists will have to improve on Australia's highest successful run chase at the Bellerive Oval of 369 against Pakistan in 1999.
Sri Lanka's most successful run chase was 352 to beat South Africa by one wicket in Colombo in 2006.
Captain Michael Clarke added to Australia's mounting injury woes when he tweaked his right hamstring and was forced to retire hurt on 57 after reeling off his fastest Test half-century.
Clarke's setback followed paceman Ben Hilfenhaus's side strain which has prevented him from bowling again in the Test, even though he did bat in the second innings.
"Surely in 90-odd overs there are eight balls that have got wickets on them," said Australia coach Mickey Arthur.
"I think the wicket is playing a little more deceptively now. I've got full confidence that we've got an attack that has ability to get those eight wickets tomorrow."
Australia began well, snaring the key wicket of first-innings centurion Tillakaratne Dilshan cheaply for 11 in the 10th over.
Dilshan, who turned around his team's faltering first innings with a knock of 147, was caught behind off Shane Watson's first delivery.
Clarke, fielding at slip with his movement limited by his sore hamstring, gave Sangakkara a life on three when he dropped him off spinner Nathan Lyon. Mitchell Starc yorked opener Dimuth Karunaratne for 30, hitting off-stump in the 24th over to leave the tourists on 47 for two.