Records fell as Australia moved one step closer to a series-clinching victory against Sri Lanka with another dominant performance on the second day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne on Thursday.
On a day that saw Michael Clarke break Ricky Ponting's record for most Test runs by an Australian in a calendar year and then score his maiden Test century at the MCG, Australia reached 8-440 at stumps with a rejuvenated Mitchell Johnson (73) and Nathan Lyon (zero) unbeaten at the crease and with an overall lead of 284.
Clarke's 106 may not have been his best of all time, but he teamed well with loyal deputy Shane Watson to help put Sri Lanka to the sword with a record-breaking fourth-wicket partnership of 194 early in the day.
Sri Lanka did fight back with three quick wickets just prior to tea - including the scalp of Watson for 83 - but some valuable lower order runs from Johnson and a handy cameo from Peter Siddle (13) ensured Australia remained well on top.
Clarke's century could possibly be considered more fortuitous than classy, but it was Watson's inability to turn a 19th Test fifty into a third hundred that might prove to be the biggest talking point from the day.
Watson arguably looked more assured at the crease than his skipper during his 198-ball stay, but inexplicably became the second Australian to hole out to a fielder on the deep square leg boundary with three figures in sight.
When Matthew Wade followed Watson back to the pavilion in similar style shortly after and Australia were reduced to 6-315, the visitors had their first bit of momentum of the Test and had an extra bit of spring in their step.
But despite Rangana Herath's classic outfield catch to dismiss Mike Hussey for 34 following the tea break, Australia will be more than happy with their day's work in front of a good crowd just shy of 40,000.
Resuming at 3-150, Clarke and Watson made a cautious start to the day but found runs easier to come by as their partnership grew and Sri Lanka's bowling options were reduced.
Paceman Chanaka Welegedara (0-38) hurt his hamstring following a delivery in the first hour of play and failed to return, forcing Herath to do plenty of work from the members end during the day.
While Herath (0-95) bowled without luck, it was Dhammika Prasad (3-102) who proved the most effective of the Sri Lankan bowlers as he picked up three Australian wickets including those of Watson and Wade in almost identical style.
Tilakaratne Dilshan (1-38), who could only manage a disappointing 11 with the bat in Sri Lanka's first innings, also chimed in with the prized wicket of Hussey as Herath misjudged one in the outfield, yet recovered brilliantly to pull down a superb one-hander.
It was one of few highlights on yet another disappointing day for the tourists, who were once again guilty of missing a couple of half chances in the field.
The Sri Lankans put down Clarke and Watson when they were on five late on the opening day and the pair had another life early on Thursday.
Sangakkara missed a tough chance to stump Clarke when he was on 54 and two runs shy of Ponting's record, while Watson was put down by Mahela Jayawardene at slip during a similar period of his innings.
If Sri Lanka had converted any of those chances then the Australian duo wouldn't have set a new mark for the fourth-wicket at the MCG, but that partnership record may have been slightly overshadowed by Clarke's hundred and then Watson's poor get-out shot.
Johnson, who bowled with pace and ferociousness for 4-63 on the opening day, then batted intelligently late in the day as Australia's lead grew and Sri Lanka's hopes of pulling off a miracle result dwindled.
Australia also controlled the opening day of play as Jackson Bird (2-32) got his first Test scalp and Johnson his 200th as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 156 in their first innings.
The only highlight for Sri Lanka on Boxing Day was a gritty 58 by Sangakkara, that also saw him become the 11th player in history to register 10,000 Test runs.
First Posted 27 December, 2012 6:20PM AEST