Galle: Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris grabbed two early wickets to leave Sri Lanka facing defeat in the first Test in Galle on Friday.

Sri Lanka, set a tough target of 379 on a crumbling wicket, were tottering at 34-2 by tea on the third day at the Galle International Stadium.

Harris trapped Tharanga Paranavitana leg-before with the first ball of the innings and then bowled Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan in his fourth over to leave them 15-2.

Harris, who contributed a defiant 23 in Australia's second innings, claimed 2-15 in a five-over opening spell.

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's two most experienced batsmen, both former captains, denied the tourists further success till tea.

Both batsmen were unbeaten on 11 apiece after Sangakkara survived a review for leg-before off the first ball he faced from Harris.

History favours Australia to win the match and take the lead in the three-Test series - the highest fourth innings score at the ground is 210 by New Zealand two years ago.

Australia, who resumed at 115-6 after the entire morning session was wiped out by heavy rain, were dismissed for 210 in their second innings midway through the post-lunch session.

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath finished with 5-79 after claiming three wickets in the first innings.

Australia added 15 runs to their overnight score when they lost the wicket of Mitchell Johnson, who top-edged Herath and the wicket-keeper took the skier comfortably.

Usman Khawaja had put on 40 for the eighth wicket with Harris when he was leg-before to Chanaka Welegedara for 26 to leave Australia 170-8.

Australia's total was boosted by a last-wicket stand of 32 between debutants Trent Copeland and Nathan Lyon.

Lyon made 13 before he was caught in the deep off Dilshan, leaving Copeland unbeaten on 23.

(Agencies)