Cricket - Cricket-Wade's sparkling century hauls Australia to lead of 138

By Nick Mulvenney


SYDNEY, Jan 5 (Reuters) - A brilliant century from Matthew Wade gave Australia a first innings lead of 138 when they declared at 432 for nine just before lunch on the third day of the third test against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Openers Dimuth Karunaratne (17 not out) Tillakaratne Dilshan (0) ushered the tourists to the end of the session on 18 without loss and reduced the deficit to 120 but the morning belonged to wicketkeeper Wade.

The 25-year-old lefthander, playing in just his ninth test, resumed on 47 with Australia just 48 runs ahead of Sri Lanka's first innings tally of 294.

It has been anything but a chanceless innings but Wade comfortably reached his third test half century in the second over of a brilliantly sunny day at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Peter Siddle was also playing a few shots at the other end as the pair put on 77 for the seventh wicket but it was the sheer power of Wade's strokes that caught the eye.

Siddle was caught behind for 38 off Nuwan Pradeep 50 minutes into the session and Mitchell Starc lasted just five further minutes before departing for two, trapped lbw by spinner Rangana Herath.

When Nathan Lyon departed 10 minutes later for four - bowled through the gate by Herath - it looked like the last rites for Australia's innings at 393 for nine, just 99 runs ahead.

Wade, who was on 70, had other ideas and with Jackson Bird (6) offering support with his first test runs at the other end, he bludgeoned his way to his second test century.

He reached the mark by smashing his ninth four to deep cover and then raced around the ground, arms stretched wide, to take the applause of the crowd in an emotional celebration.

Wade faced just two more balls but still had time to be dropped on the boundary by Dhammika Prasad before captain Michael Clarke decided 138 was a big enough lead and declared. (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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