The West

Michael Clarke will end his golden 12 months at the helm of Australia as the nation's highest run scorer in a year.

Clarke's unbeaten 56 at the MCG has given him 1545 runs for the year, one more than Ricky Ponting's tally of 1544 in 2005.

And the pain is unlikely to end for Sri Lanka with Clarke and his deputy Shane Watson (61 not out) batting patiently surviving through the first session to take Australia to 3-238, a lead of 82.

Adding to Sri Lanka's dramas was the loss of swing bowler Chanaka Welegedera who broke down with a hamstring injury as he was bowling his fourth over of the morning.

The medium-pacer is unlikely to bowl again in the match.

The visitors have already lost wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene to a broken thumb and appear to on an inevitable path to the second Test defeat that will hand series victory to Australia.

Clarke and Watson had few troubles building their second century stand together though spinner Rangana Herath troubled both batsmen with his alluring drift and flight.

Clarke was on 54 when he came down the wicket and missed the ball only to have it deflect from his knee past Kumar Sangakkara's gloves.

And Watson was dropped several balls later when he poked a sharp catch to Mahela Jayawardena at slip.

The West Australian

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