HOBART, Australia, Nov 17 (Reuters) Adam Gilchrist became the first player to smash a 100 sixes in test cricket in a brutal display of power hitting that put Australia in control of the second test against Sri Lanka today.
Gilchrist clubbed three massive sixes, including two in succession off Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, to blaze his way to an unbeaten 67 and enable Australia to declare their first innings closed at 542 for five.
Sri Lanka were 30-0 in reply when bad light stopped play early at Bellerive Oval with Marvan Atapattu unbeaten on 18 and Michael Vandort on 12.
The openers had no hesitation in accepting an offer to go off early after surviving a hostile 12-over spell from Australia's pacemen but will need a strong batting performance tomorrow to avoid another heavy loss following their innings defeat in last week's first test in Brisbane.
Sri Lanka captured the wickets of Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke after lunch but were unable to put a halt on Australia's relentless run feast as Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds went on the rampage.
Hussey departed for 132 when he was trapped leg before wicket by Dilhara Fernando then Clarke fell for 71 when he was caught by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene off Lasith Malinga.
LITTLE ASSISTANCE Hussey and Clarke had added 125 for the fourth wicket buttheir dismissals did little to help Sri Lanka's cause as Gilchrist and Symonds made the most of a flat batting pitch that offered little assistance to the bowlers.
Gilchrist signalled his intentions when he smacked Malinga over the mid-wicket fence for his first six before tea but saved his best for Muralitharan, who needs just six more wickets to break Shane Warne's world record of 708 test dismissals but is now unlikely to achieve the feat in Australia.
Gilchrist's second six off Muralitharan sailed over the Bellerive Oval gates and into a nearby street, forcing the umpires to call for a replacement ball.
Sri Lanka's bowlers struggled against the Australian batsmen and had to cope without paceman Farveez Maharoof, who suffered a stress fracture in his foot on the opening day.
Hussey also smashed Muralitharan for six before lunch to bring up his 100 partnership with Clarke before the pair fell in quick succession after the first break, allowing Gilchrist and Symonds to chase quick runs and set up the declaration.
Gilchrist's 67 off just 77 balls while Symonds finished with an unbeaten 50, his second off the series, from 71 deliveries.
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