Colombo: Sri Lanka's Kaushal Silva roared back into form with a century in the final Test against Australia on Tuesday, boosting the hosts' hopes of a 3-0 sweep against the world number one team at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.
A day after the opener split the webbing on his left hand which needed six stitches and dropped down to number three, Silva struck 115 as Sri Lanka reached 312 for eight at stumps on the penultimate day of the Test to lead by 288 runs.
Dhananjaya de Silva was batting on 44 with Suranga Lakmal yet to open his account at the other end as Australia's hopes of a pride-salvaging win looked rather dim against the hosts' formidable spin attack on a final-day track.
The day belonged to Silva who, after scores of 4,7,5,2 and 0 in the last five innings, cover-drove an Adam Voges full toss to bring up his third Test fifty in 251 balls.
The relief reflected in his animated celebration as the 30-year-old took off his helmet, swung his bat and roared in delight before being hugged by batting partner Dinesh Chandimal.
Resuming on 22 for one, Sri Lanka lost three wickets in the morning session before the 58-run stand between Silva and home captain Angelo Mathews (26) steadied the home ship.
Overnight batsman Dimuth Karunaratne (22) fell to a clever piece of stumping by Peter Nevill off the bowling of Nathan Lyon who trapped Silva leg before in his next over but the batsman used the review option to get the umpire's decision overturned.
Kusal Perera (24) fell to Jon Holland while Mitchell Starc dismissed Kusal Mendis (18) leg before to claim his 24th wicket in an otherwise spinner-dominated series.
Mathews fell to Lyon (4-123) in the second session but Silva added 90 runs with Chandimal (43) for the sixth wicket to consolidate Sri Lanka's position.
Holland ended Silva's 269-ball stay with Steve Smith taking the catch in slip as the batsman walked out to a standing ovation.
Sri Lanka 1st innings: 355 (D. Chandimal 132, D. de Silva 129; M. Starc 5-63)
Australia 1st innings: 379 (S. Marsh 130, S. Smith 119, M. Marsh 53; R. Herath 6-81)
Sri Lanka 2nd innings:
D. Perera lbw b Starc 8
D. Karunaratne st Nevill b Lyon 22
K. Silva c Smith b Holland 115
K. Perera c Nevill b Holland 24
K. Mendis lbw b Starc 18
A. Mathews c Smith b Lyon 26
D. Chandimal lbw b Lyon 43
D. de Silva not out 44
R. Herath c Smith b Lyon 5
S. Lakmal not out 0
Extras (b-4, lb-3) 7
Total (for 8 wickets, 95 overs) 312
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-44, 3-69, 4-98, 5-156, 6-246, 7-276, 8-297
To bat: L. Sandakan
Bowling: M. Starc 17-4-58-2, N. Lyon 37-7-123-4, J. Holland 20-4-72-2, J. Hazlewood 12-2-16-0, S. Smith 2-0-13-0, M. Marsh 3-1-3-0, M. Henriques 2-0-9-0, A. Voges 2-0-11-0
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney & Sundaram Ravi
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough
Match referee: Chris Broad