Shaun Marsh hits century on Test debut for Australia

Second Test, Pallekele (day three of five):
Sri Lanka 174 v Australia 411-7
Match scorecard
Shaun Marsh
Marsh reached his debut century from 234 balls

Shaun Marsh became the 19th Australian to score a century on Test debut as the tourists closed 237 ahead of Sri Lanka in the second Test.

The left-hander, son of former Aussie batsman Geoff, is only the second on that list to score a hundred at number three, Bill Ponsford the other in 1924.

He is in that role because former skipper Ricky Ponting is in Tasmania for the birth of his second child.

Marsh fell for 141 and when rain ended day three the Australians were 411-7.

The Western Australia batsman, who has scored 1,244 runs in 35 one-day internationals, resumed his maiden Test innings on 87 and reached three figures in the 10th full over of the day.

"There were a few nerves early on and today it was pretty nerve-wracking, I just tried to forget what score I was on. It took me a while to get to sleep last night and I woke up early this morning and didn't get back to sleep."

Marsh shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 258 with fellow left-hander Mike Hussey, who was out shortly before lunch for 142.

An emotional Marsh, who was caught at mid-wicket in the fourth over of the afternoon session, spoke of his father's pride afterwards, and also revealed he was fighting back tears upon reaching the landmark.

"He [Geoff Marsh] was very happy, I could see, it was very emotional for him," he said. "I was trying to hold 'em back in there, in the middle with Huss - it was crazy really."

Australia lead the three-match series 1-0 with one more game to come in Colombo, starting next Friday.