Cricket - UPDATE 1-Cricket-Sri Lanka and Hobart rain frustrate Australia

* Sri Lanka hold firm to frustrate hosts


* Australia need six wickets to win

* 42 runs scored in second session (updates at tea)

By Nick Mulvenney

HOBART, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's batsmen and the Hobart weather continued to frustrate Australia as the hosts sought to remove the final six wickets and claim victory in the first test on Tuesday.

Peter Siddle took the key wickets of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara either side of lunch but Thilan Samaraweera (38 not out) and Angelo Mathews (11 not out) proved obdurate and edged the tourists to tea at 186 for four on the fifth and final day.

Sri Lanka, set a victory target of 393, could still win the first match of the three-test series with another 207 runs but were clearly batting for a draw and hoping the Tasmanian showers would eat further into the time remaining in the day.

They resumed on 65 for two, added 79 runs in the first session and just another 42 in the second.

In a sign of Australia's desperation, wicketkeeper Matthew Wade shed his pads and gloves to bowl the final over before tea, claiming a maiden in his first spell in first class cricket.

Siddle, who took 5-54 in the first innings, was once again the pick of the Australian bowling unit, which is a man down after local quick Ben Hilfenhaus suffered a side strain on day three.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene departed an hour before lunch after eking out 19 runs from 77 balls, well caught in the slips by his Australian counterpart Michael Clarke.

Clarke was fielding despite the hamstring injury which brought a premature end to his second innings and has put him in doubt for the second test in Melbourne.

Sangakkara, who was dropped on three by Clarke on Monday, had another big scare on 54 when he was given out lbw to the all rounder Shane Watson.

However, the television umpire ruled on appeal that the batsman's leg had been outside the line of the off-stump when the ball hit his pad.

Another appeal reversed a second lbw decision from umpire Nigel Llong for the same reason straight after lunch to save Samaraweera when he was on 18.

Siddle did not have to wait long for his second wicket, however, and three overs later Sangakkara was trapped leg before in a decision no appeal was going to reverse - even if it did not stop the Sri Lankans trying.

Sangakkara had reached 40th test half century in a rare moment of expansiveness by smashing a four off a David Warner full toss.

The 35-year-old ICC Cricketer of the Year was otherwise caution personified and his 226-ball 63 left him 40 shy of his 10,000th test run.

A short rain break followed the fall of his wicket and another shower stopped play before tea with more forecast for the rest of the afternoon.

Mathews ate up another five minutes when he was hit on the elbow by a scorching delivery from Mitchell Starc and needed treatment to continue.

The International Cricket Council said match referee Chris Broad had received no complaints about ball-tampering in the match.

The Sri Lankan team management privately expressed concerns on Monday evening about Australia's treatment of the ball in the tourists' first innings after a picture of Siddle circulated on social media. (Editing by Ian Ransom/Peter Rutherford)

View comments (0)