* Australia make 278 all out (Updates at tea)
By Nick Mulvenney
HOBART, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Skipper Michael Clarke played a glittering cameo as Australia scrambled to 278 all out in their second innings to bring up tea on the fourth day of the first test on Monday, setting Sri Lanka a victory target of 393.
Clarke smashed 57 runs off 46 balls before retiring hurt with a hamstring injury 40 minutes before the break, leaving his team to scrap for a few more runs to inflate the target and put the match beyond the tourists.
Sri Lanka were dismissed for 336 on Sunday in reply to Australia's first innings 450 for five declared and will need to set a new record for a fourth innings run chase at Hobart to beat the 369 Australia scored against Pakistan in 1999.
Spinner Rangana Herath took five wickets and seamer Chanaka Welegedara three as the Sri Lankan bowlers finally got some reward for their efforts after openers David Warner (68) and Ed Cowan (56) frustrated them for much of the morning.
The Australian openers put together a partnership of 132 in the Hobart sunshine but both were removed in the half hour before lunch in an appetizer for what was to come in the second session.
Herath had been belted for a six and a switch-hit four by Warner but got his revenge when his carrom delivery took a bottom edge and carried to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene.
Cowan joined his partner in the pavilion 15 minutes later for 56 when Welegedara swung in a fizzing delivery which hit the Australian's pad before taking off the bails.
The partnership was the best the pair had achieved since their 214 against India in Perth last year and will erase at least some of the question marks surrounding Australia's top order.
The TV umpire was employed soon after lunch as Sri Lanka thought Herath had trapped Shane Watson lbw but the all-rounder survived when the simulation showed the ball would have missed the stumps.
It did not save Watson for long and he departed after a torrid examination from the spinner ended when he was stumped by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene for five.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade came in to bat ahead of Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey as Australia looked to up the pace of scoring heading towards what they thought would be a declaration.
Three overs later, though, Phil Hughes played the ball onto his own wicket off the bowling of Eranga to depart for 16, while Wade did not last much longer before holing out to Kulasekara on the long-on boundary for 11.
That reduced the hosts to 181 for five and gave Herath his 58th test wicket of the year but he soon met his match in Clarke, the leading scorer of runs in test cricket this year with 1,432 coming into this innings.
The 31-year-old hammered his half century in 43 balls, which included a maiden over to Herath, but soon afterwards returned to the dressing room hurt.
Peter Siddle (four), Mitchell Starc (five) and Nathan Lyon (11) made brief appearances before Herath trapped Ben Hilfenhaus lbw for a duck to end the innings and leave Mike Hussey unbeaten on 31. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)
- Sports & Recreation
- Rangana Herath