Sydney: Australia were on the verge of a 3-0 series sweep after reducing Sri Lanka to 225 for seven with a slender lead of 87 at close of play on a dramatic third day of the third Test on Saturday.
The hosts dominated the morning courtesy of a sparkling unbeaten century from Matthew Wade before declaring at 432 for nine with a first innings lead of 138 just before lunch.
The visitors stormed back in the second session on the back of a century partnership between Dimuth Karunaratne (85) and captain Mahela Jayawardene (60) to fleetingly raise the prospect of a first ever Sri Lanka Test win in Australia.
Karunaratne fell short of his maiden Test century soon after tea with his country still six runs in arrears, however, and Sri Lanka then crumbled to lose six wickets for just 93 runs.
At stumps, Dinesh Chandimal (22) and Rangana Herath (9) were at the crease facing a huge task to extend the lead and make Australia's chase anything more than a formality.
“It could have gone pear-shaped quickly,” Wade told reporters. “It could have gone the wrong way for us this afternoon but luckily enough our bowlers were good enough and they did well to pull it back. We’ve got to take three wickets as quickly as we can because we don't want to be chasing too many on that wicket.”