NTCM XI v Sri Lankans, Darwin, 3rd day June 26, 2004

Sri Lanka on course for victory

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Sri Lankans 6 for 1 and 378 for 7 decl. (Sangakkara 203*, Jayasuriya 64) trail Northern Territory Chief Minister's XI 419 (Langer 151, Bowden 75, Treumer 65, Malinga 6-90) and 145 for 9 decl. (Herath 4-45) by 180 runs

Sangakkara's 203* allowed Sri Lanka to dominate day three © Getty Images

Sri Lanka had much the better of proceedings on the third day of their four-day tour match against the Northern Terrotory Chief Minister's XI at the Marrara Cricket Ground. Inspired by Kumar Sangakkara's unbeaten 203, they got to within 41 runs of the Northern Territory XI's total before declaring, and then ran through their batting order to leave themselves 187 to win the game. And though Glenn McGrath nipped out Sanath Jayasuriya in the minutes before stumps, Sri Lanka were firm favourites to wrap up a victory that would do much for their confidence ahead of the first Test next week.

Resuming on 163 not out, Sangakkara helped add a further 74 runs before lunch, and the declaration. The Northern Territory XI's second innings was a disaster, with Rangana Herath picking up 4 for 45 as they stuttered to 145 for 9. Justin Langer, who made light of an injured toe to make 151 in the first innings, was one of his victims, bowled first ball.

Mahela Jayawardene, captaining the side in Marvan Atapattu's absence, and Thilan Samaraweera were at the crease when stumps were drawn. For Australians, the main focus of attention remained McGrath, who finished with ordinary figures of 1 for 62 from 24 overs in the first innings, before coming back to bowl Jayasuriya in the second.