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Innings win for Aussies

Mitchell Johnson in Melbourne, on Friday

Melbourne: Australia’s bowlers battered Sri Lanka’s batsmen to win the second Test by an innings and 201 runs before tea on Day III and claim an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match series.

Needing 305 runs to make Australia bat again, Sri Lanka surrendered at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after adding only 103 in their second innings, with a top-order collapse and a raft of injuries leaving the tourists smarting ahead of Sydney’s dead rubber Test next week.

Sealing the series a match early was some consolation for Michael Clarke’s team after they conceded a hard-fought series 1-0 against the top-ranked Test nation South Africa with a stinging defeat in the third and final Test in Perth.

“I said that at the start of the series that our goal was to win these three Tests and really show that we learnt from the South African series,” Clarke, who scored a sparkling 106 at the MCG to cap a brilliant year with the bat, told reporters. “So far we’ve done that... My goal doesn’t change.”

Seamer Mitchell Johnson was justly named Man of the Match after taking six wickets and making an unbeaten 92 with the bat in an outstanding return to the team after being dumped from the first Test victory in Hobart.

Johnson took 4 for 63 in the first innings to lead the bowling as Sri Lanka were skittled out for 156, but his bone-crunching menace may have Australia’s selectors pondering a more permanent role for the mercurial pacer.