Australia tighten grip on Sri Lanka in second test

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HOBART, Australia, Nov 17 (Reuters) Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke shared an unbroken century partnership to strengthen Australia's grip on the second test against Sri Lanka today.

The pair put on 107 runs for the fourth wicket to guide Australia to 392 for three when rain stopped play just before lunch on the second day at Bellerive Oval.

Hussey added 21 to his overnight score to reach the break on 122 while Clarke cruised to 50 not out after resuming on eight.

The Australians added 63 without loss from 18 overs before play was halted to put themselves in position to wrap up the series after winning last week's first test in Brisbane.

Neither player offered a chance as Sri Lanka's bowlers struggled on a pitch perfectly suited for batting.

The tourists suffered a setback before play resumed when pace bowler Farveez Maharoof was sidelined because of a foot injury that could force him to miss the rest of the match.

''Maharoof has stress fractures of his left foot,'' a Sri Lankan team spokesman told reporters. ''He may not bowl or field for the rest of the game. He had a scan and the doctor said that would be best although he may bat if required.'' With Maharoof unavailable, Muttiah Muralitharan, who needs just six more wickets to break Shane Warne's world record of 708, was introduced into the attack earlier than usual, but was unable to make the breakthrough.

Hussey smashed him over mid-wicket for six to bring up the 100 partnership with Clarke off 107 balls before Clarke flicked him down the legside for a single in the same over to reach his half-century.

Hussey and Clarke also had a 245-run partnership in the first test with both scoring hundreds. Opener Phil Jaques also made a hundred in the first test and 150 on the first day in Hobart.

REUTERS SYU RK0835

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