Australia set Lankans victory target of 370

Australia set Sri Lanka a victory target of 370 runs on the fourth day of the third Test at Colombo.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Justin Langer and Simon Katich provided Australia with a 218-run sixth wicket stand on the fourth day of the third Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday. Langer's 166 runs and another 86 from Katich helped Australia reach 375 before the side were bowled out and Sri Lanka finished the day on 18 without loss in their second innings, chasing a target of 370 runs for victory. Australia came into the fourth day of the third Test in Colombo on 80 for 3 in their second innings on Saturday. Nine runs were added to the overnight total before Sri Lanka claimed their first wicket of the day - Damien Martyn out on 5, trapped lbw by Rangana Herath. Darren Lehmann, who was Australia's top scorer in the first innings, added a single run and lasted just three balls before he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara off Muttiah Muralitharan as Australia fell to 98 for 5. Opening batsman Justin Langer looked in good form though and reached his half century with a six. Langer had accumulated a combined 75 runs in his five previous innings of this series, but matched that total on Saturday despite struggling with cramp. He would go on to notch his 18th Test century and steadied a perilous second innings for the tourists. Sri Lanka attempted to stem the flow of runs by setting a defensive field, but saving singles counted for little as Langer added another six. Simon Katich offered support and a fair few boundaries of his own, but it was Langer's confident strokes that edged Australia closer to a respectable score. The duo then passed the 250-run mark despite the immobilised Langer needing the assistance of a runner. Katich and Langer kept the scoreboard ticking over and quickly passed 300-runs, but their 218-run sixth wicket partnership would come to an end in the 93rd over. Langer dragged Chaminda Vaas on to his stumps and went for 166 runs as Australia were reduced to 316 for 6. Katich, who has notched four half centuries in as many Test appearances, continued his good progress and skied a six five overs later. He followed Langer back to the changing rooms moments later though as he was trapped lbw by Muttiah Muralitharan on 86. Murali claimed his 513th Test wicket to move level with Shane Warne, who went for a duck when he edged Rangana Herath to Thilan Samaraweera at first slip. Just as it looked as though the innings was about to collapse for Australia, Adam Gilchrist started launching sixes into the stands. Gilchrist may be famous for his bowling, but the big left hander looked comfortable with the bat as he smashed a towering pair of sixes on the way to 31 not out. Australia's tail could offer no support though and Michael Kasprowicz was run out before Herath caught and bowled Brad Williams to end the innings. The tourists were bowled out for 375, leaving Sri Lanka a winning target of 370 runs. Sri Lankan openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvin Atapattu added 18 runs for no loss before stumps. Australia now need 10 wickets on Sunday to become the first touring team to sweep a three-test series in Sri Lanka. This feat is possible after a 197-run victory in Galle and a 27-run win in Kandy last week. (AP)