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Cricket news - Sri Lanka in dire straits after clatter of wickets

Kusal Perera had to retire hurt after being hit on the side of the helmet by a Jhye Richardson delivery.

In another action-packed session, Australia's bowlers scythed through Sri Lanka's batting order to leave them precariously-placed at 215 for 7, still trailing by 319 at the Lunch break on Day 3 of the Canberra Test. One of the highlights of the session was Dimuth Karunaratne (59) resuming his innings after retiring hurt due a helmet blow on Day 2.

At the start of the day, the visitors would have hoped for Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva to whittle away at the deficit. Dhananjaya, on his part, showed positive intent to keep the scorecard ticking over. He pulled and flicked Mitchell Starc to the boundary hoardings. Perera also looked in good nick as they guided the visitors to 155 for 3.

Just when the pair looked set to take the tourists to safer waters, Perera became the second batsman in Sri Lanka's innings to be hit on the helmet. He took his eyes off the ball while facing Jhye Richardson and copped a blow on the side of the grille. Even though he resumed his innings, Perera soon felt dizziness and trudged back to the pavilion.

At that stage, Karunaratne made his way back to the crease amidst a generous round of applause from the crowd. It was the heartwarming moment of the Test match. He also completed his fifty with a drive off Starc. However, he didn't last long enough to construct a fairy tale innings as he pushed at one from Starc from to be caught at gully. By then, Starc had started to bowl with a fair amount of pace and venom, and also accounted for the scalp of Dhananjaya via the hit wicket-mode.

Sri Lanka slid further when Nathan Lyon forced Chamika Karunaratne to edge one to leg slip. Niroshan Dickwella, who was reprieved by Usman Khawaja, played a few eye-catching shots before on the stroke of the Lunch break, he was adjudged LBW off Lyon. The wicketkeeper-batsman took the review, but despite replays suggesting a small spike on the snickometer, the third umpire decided to uphold the decision. Starc was the best bowler on show for the hosts, taking three scalps.

With just three wickets left in the shed and that too with no clarity over whether Kusal Perera would resume his innings, the visitors have an uphill task on their hands if they have to avoid the follow-on target.

Brief scores: Australia 534/5 decl. (Joe Burns 180, Travis Head 161, Kurtis Patterson 114*; Vishwa Fenrando 3-126) lead Sri Lanka 215/7 (Dimuth Karunaratne 59; Mitchell Starc 3-54) by 319 runs

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