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Tough task for Lanka

Hobart: Australia removed Sri Lanka’s openers cheaply to leave the visitors clinging on at 65 for two and chasing an imposing 393 runs for victory at the close of play on the fourth day of the first Test on Monday.

There was bad news for the hosts on the injury front, however, with captain Michael Clarke retiring hurt after smashing 57 runs off 46 balls to help drive his side to 278 in their second innings.

Clarke tweaked his right hamstring during the fourth day’s play and was forced to retire hurt on 57 after scoring his fastest Test half-century.

He did field in Sri Lanka's second innings, but parked himself at slip to direct the team. Coach Mickey Arthur said the 31-year-old would play on in Hobart even if he might miss the second Test in Melbourne.

“I think you’ll have to cut Michael’s leg off from him not to be out there,” he said.

“He certainly wants to marshal the troops and I think he certainly wants to be there if hopefully sometime tomorrow we can clinch a win.”

Arthur said if Clarke did not recover in time for the second Test, Watson was the obvious contender to lead Australia.

“It is a distinct possibility. I think it will be a really good challenge for Shane,” Arthur said.