Australia building huge lead over Sri Lanka

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HOBART, Australia, Nov 18 (Reuters) Australia led Sri Lanka by 407 runs with nine second innings wickets in hand after resisting the temptation to enforce the follow-on on the third day of the second test at Bellerive Oval on Sunday.

The Australians had the option of making the Sri Lankans bat again after bowling them out for 246 -- 296 runs behind the home side's first innings total of 542 for five declared -- but decided to give their bowlers a rest and increase their lead before a second declaration on Monday.

When stumps were drawn, Australia were 111-1 with opener Phil Jaques unbeaten on 53 and captain Ricky Ponting seven not out and on course to complete a series sweep after winning lastweek's first test in Brisbane by an innings and 40 runs.

The Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene scored a superb 104 in his team's first innings and was well supported by Kumar Sangakkara, who made 57, but the rest of the batting crumbled under the relentless pressure of the Australian bowlers.

Brett Lee, man of the match in Brisbane after an eight-wicket haul, picked up another four wickets with his sheer pace while seamer Stuart Clark and legspinner Stuart MacGill finished with two each and paceman Mitchell Johnson one.

Sri Lanka started the day on 30-0 with genuine hopes of making a big total on a flat pitch ideal for batting but were immediately in trouble when they lost both their openers within the first hour.

Lee knocked Michael Vandort's middle stump out of the ground with a yorker that brushed his pads when he was on 14, then removed Marvan Atapattu for 25 when he got a thick edge to an attempted drive and Michael Clarke held a juggling catch at gully.

REGAINED COMPOSURE Sangakkara survived an appeal for a catch off Mike Hussey and a spilt chance from Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist to reach his half-century, but threw his wicket away just before lunch when he fended a short ball from Johnson straight to Hussey.

Jayawardene also rode his luck, escaping a run out chance on 14 and two dropped catches when he was in his 70s, but regained his composure to register his 19th test century and his first against Australia as the wickets tumbled around him.

Sanath Jayasuriya (three), Chamara Silva (two), Prasanna Jayawardene (no score) and Lasith Malinga (one) all went cheaply while Sri Lanka's woes were compounded by the senseless run out of Farveez Maharoof, who was batting with the aid of a runner after suffering a stress fracture in his left foot while bowling on the first day.

Maharoof made a brave 19 to frustrate Australia's hopes of polishing off the innings but was sent packing when his runner, Silva, set off on a suicidal single that ended with him being stranded at the same end as his captain.

Jayawardene reached his hundred off 188 balls when he drove Lee through the covers for his 14th boundary after tea but the Australian paceman finally got his revenge to wrap up the innings when the Sri Lankan skipper holed out in the deep to be the last man out.

Australia lost Matthew Hayden for 33 just before the close of play when he was trapped leg before wicket by Muttiah Muralitharan, who moved within four wickets of equalling Shane Warne's world record of 708.

But Jaques, who scored 100 in Brisbane then 150 in the first innings in Hobart, kept the scoreboard ticking along at more than five runs an over to reach his half-century with a boundary in the last over of the day.

REUTERS YA KN1614

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