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Cricket news - Australia lose three after Starc fifer

Starc razed through the lower order and the recent criticism directed at him with a five-wicket haul.

Despite losing three wickets, Australia scored at a decent rate in their second innings and extended the lead to 386 at Tea on Day 3 of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Canberra.

Australia began the session on a bang with Mitchell Starc picking up the final two wickets to fall to wrap up the proceedings as Sri Lanka were bowled out for a modest 215. Kusal Perera, who was hit on the grille in the morning session by Jhye Richardson and had to retire hurt, didn't resume his innings. Meanwhile, Starc, who has been struggling for rhythm for most part of the season, would be pleased with his effort.

The hosts then decided not to opt for the follow on. However, they lost a few wickets up front. The impressive Kasun Rajitha swung one away from Marcus Harris to induce the edge and for Kusal Mendis to grab the chance. Mendis also plucked a brilliant catch in front of the first slip fielder to send the first innings centurion, Joe Burns, back to the hut.

Rajitha followed it up by removing Marnus Labuschagne, but by then, the hosts were already ahead by over 350 runs. At that juncture, Usman Khawaja, who hasn't been in good form this season, and Travis Head joined forces to ensure the home team wouldn't lose another wicket before the break.

Earlier, on a track that has got quicker over the past couple of days, Australia's bowlers scythed through the visiting side's batting order. 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. 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.

With Perera retiring hurt, Karunaratne made his way back to the crease amidst a generous round of applause from the crowd. 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. The pacer 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 then 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.

Brief scores: Australia 534/5 decl. (Joe Burns 180, Travis Head 161, Kurtis Patterson 114*; Vishwa Fenrando 3-126) and 67/3 (Usman Khawaja 25*; Kasun Rajitha 2-27) lead Sri Lanka 215 (Dimuth Karunaratne 59; Mitchell Starc 3-54) by 386 runs

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