Clarke's stunning century helps Australia take command

 

CRICKET: Michael Clarke struck a sublime century to become his country’s highest Test run-scorer in a calendar year as Australia marched to an imperious 284-run lead at the close of day two of the second Test against Sri Lanka yesterday.

The Australia skipper, enjoying an inspired 2012, surpassed the 1,544 runs Ricky Ponting amassed in 2005 during his innings of 106, before tail-ender Mitchell Johnson rubbed salt into Sri Lanka’s wounds with an unbeaten 73.

Paceman Johnson strode off at stumps with Nathan Lyon yet to score, with Australia having added 108 runs in the session after tea to drive their total to an imposing 440-8 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“As many runs tomorrow would be very handy,” said Clarke after celebrating his first ton at the MCG. “I’d love to see Mitchell get his second Test hundred and then we’ll be back out there bowling and hopefully we can bowl Sri Lanka out.”

Sri Lanka, skittled for 156 on day one, had only a six-run lead to protect at the start of play and their hopes of restricting the hosts diminished with a hamstring injury to seamer Chanaka Welegedera in the morning session.

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