Shaun Marsh made a watchful, unbeaten century on debut and Mike Hussey smashed his 14th test hundred as Australia took a dominating 204-run lead over Sri Lanka on the third day of the second test last night.

Australia were 378 for 4 at lunch with Marsh on 130 and fellow youngster Usman Khawaja on 1 in answer to Sri Lanka's first-innings 174. After resuming the day on 76, Hussey reached his hundred first before being caught by Kumar Sangakkara off spinner Thilan Samaraweera for 142 from 244 balls, including 16 boundaries.

Marsh, who started the day on 87, reached his maiden test century three deliveries after Hussey, sweeping offspinner Suraj Randiv for two runs. He has spent more than six hours at the crease and faced 304 balls including 16 boundaries - and is only playing in his test debut in place of Ricky Ponting who returned home for the birth of his second child.

The pair added the best fourth wicket test partnership between the two nations, 258 runs off 466 balls.

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Marsh's father, Geoff, was an Australian test opener in the 1980s and early 1990s before becoming Australia coach, a national selector and, most recently, coach of Zimbabwe.

The Sri Lankan bowlers struggled on a batting-friendly wicket yesterday, conceding 114 runs during the session for one wicket.

Openers Shane Watson and Phil Hughes scored 36 runs each and captain Michael Clarke made 13 before being dismissed. Sri Lanka seamers Suranga Lakmal, Chanaka Welegedara and spinners Suraj Randiv and Samaraweera picked up a wicket each.

Sri Lanka were dismissed cheaply in their first innings on Thursday, with Anjelo Mathews top-scoring on 58.

Paceman Ryan Harris returned Australia's best bowling figures of 3-38, while Trent Copeland, Mitchell Johnson and spinner Nathan Lyon picked up two wickets each.