Australia strike early against Sri Lanka

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HOBART, Australia, Nov 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's hopes of salvaging a draw in the second test against Australia suffered an early setback when they lost opener Michael Vandort before lunch on the fourth day at Bellerive Oval today.

Vandort departed for four in the fourth over when he spooned a simple catch off paceman Mitchell Johnson straight to substitute fielder Rhett Lockyear at point.

Opener Marvan Atapattu survived a hostile spell from Johnson and Brett Lee to reach lunch on five with Kumar Sangakarra on seven but with Sri Lanka facing the daunting prospect of trying to bat through another five sessions to avoid a series whitewash.

Australia set them a near-impossible target of 507 to win the second test after declaring their second innings closed at 210 for two 45 minutes before the interval.

Captain Ricky Ponting had resisted the temptation to enforce the follow-on even though his team led by 296 on the first innings.

Australia added 99 runs in 26 overs for the loss of one wicket before Ponting's declaration. Opener Phil Jaques, who had also scored centuries in his previous two innings was caught in the deep by Vandort off Lasith Malinga for 68.

Ponting completed his second half-century of the series to remain unbeaten on 53 while Mike Hussey made 34 not out after scoring hundreds in each of his two previous innings.

Reuters TB DB0942

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