Australia put Sri Lanka to the sword in sunny Sydney

SYDNEY,  (Reuters) – David Warner and Phil Hughes hit stylish half centuries as Australia’s batsmen put Sri Lanka to the sword on the second morning of the third test yesterday and reached lunch at 127 for one.

Looking to overhaul the tourists’ 294 and put themselves in the driving seat for a 3-0 series sweep, the Australians made the most of perfect batting conditions on a sunny Sydney morning.

Warner slowed down after claiming his fifth test half century off just 37 balls and was 68 not out at the break with Hughes, who had just reached his fifty, set to resume alongside him.

Sri Lanka’s patched up pace attack laboured in vain in the heat and the only breakthrough came when opener Ed Cowan ran himself out for four.

Warner rode his luck with an edged four off the first ball of the day but was soon into his stride and looking like he might emulate the 69-ball century he scored against India in Perth a year ago.

With Cowan happy to let him take the strike, the 26-year-old peppered the boundary with some fine strokes to the delight of another good crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

He was looking for another two runs when Cowan hesitated calamitously coming back for the second and Nuwan Pradeep’s throw to Dhammika Prasad sent the opener trudging back to the pavilion.

Hughes came in to join Warner and showed some classy strokes of his own as the two lefthanders confidently put on 91 for the second wicket.

Warner reached his half century by smashing a short ball over point for four, while Hughes snared his fifth test 50 in more subtle style with a delicate shot through the same area for his sixth boundary.

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