Australia just managed to pull off a 5-run victory against Sri Lanka in the Third Match of the CB Series at Perth. Sri Lanka chasing 232 were out of the equation when they slipped to 129 for 6. The visitors somehow dragged the match into the final over and a defeat seemed inevitable with 18 runs to win with one wicket in hand. The never-say-die Angelo Mathews struck the first ball for a four and the second ball for a six off left arm quick Mitchell Starc. In the third ball he lost the strike with a single but got the match back in the balance with 7 to win from 3 balls. Mathews got his strike back in the fourth ball of the over but only to miscue a pull shot off a cleverly bowled slower bouncer from Starc to get caught at long on.
Highlights of the Australian Innings
The first half of the match saw Sri Lanka bowl well and with some good fielding got the Aussies struggling at 81 for 4 in 18 overs. In the 4th over, Matthew Wade (1) looking to steer Kulasekara to thirdman was caught by the diving Keeper Sangakakra. In the 5th over, Ricky Ponting (1) was lbw to Lasith Malinga after he had shuffled far too across the stumps in a flick and missed it. Angelo Mathews provided his team with the massive wicket of a dangerous David Warner (34 from 29 balls with 4 fours and a six) who chopped onto his stumps leaving Australia at 50 for 3 in the 9th over. By the 18th over, Sri Lanka got Michael Hussey (23) out when he was caught and bowled brilliantly by Nuwan Kulasekara leaping to his right when the left-hander had pushed at a ball too early.
Australia then got a useful partnership of 49 runs with Michael Clarke and David Hussey taking the score to 130 for 5 in the 28th over. David Hussey (27 from 38 balls with 2 fours and a six) was smartly caught low at short covers by Lahiru Thirmanne off Lasith Malinga. The hosts got another good partnership between the Skipper and all-rounder Daniel Christian which took them close to 200. In the 40th over, Daniel Christian (33 from 44 balls with 4 fours and a six) got stumped out when he came down the track for a big hit but only to be foxed by a doosra from Sachiththra Senanayake.
Angelo Mathews delivered a crucial blow in the 41st over when he got Michael Clarke (57 from 88 balls with 4 fours) flicking him in the air to short mid wicket. Australia soon were in the danger of getting bowled out with the score only at 192 for 8. However, a useful cameo of 25 from 25 balls by Clint McKay took them to 231 all out in 49.1 overs. All the five Sri Lankan specialist bowlers contributed nicely taking two wickets each.
Highlights of Sri Lanka Innings
There was an early inroad from Mitchell Starc as he had Upul Tharanga (5) edging his pacy and bouncing delivery on the backfoot to first slip in the 4th over. Sri Lanka recovered from that early blow with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara batting steadily. Tragedy struck in the 15th over when Kumar Sangakkara (22) slipped in the middle of the pitch when he was sent back from a risky single which resulted in his run out. By the 21st over, Australai removed Tillakaratne Dilshan (40 from 57 balls with 4 fours) when he was forced to get an inside edge to the Keeper off a sharp delivery from Ryan Harris which had nipped back.
When Skipper Mahela Jayawardene (13) paid the price of attempting a cut late cut off Daniel Christian and got caught by the diving Keeper, Sri Lanka’s hopes looked to have perished at 110 for 4 in the 27th over. In the next five overs, the Aussies sent back two more specialist batsmen to the pavilion leaving the visitors at 129 for 6. First to go was the left-handed Lahiru Thirmanne who got bowled through the gate by an unplayable delivery from Xavier Doherty which spun off the rough from outside off. A well set Dinesh Chandimal (37 from 50 balls with 4 fours) was trapped lbw by an armer from Michael Clarke who got the wicket off the very first ball he bowled in the match!
After breaking through a couple of stubborn partnerships, Australia were still in control with SL slipping to 180 for 9 in the 45th over. Australia could breathe easy only when Sachiththra Senanayake (9) got stumped off a spinning delivery from Doherty to end what was a 32-run stand with Mathews for the 8th wicket. In the end, Angelo Mathews got a decent stand going with last man Dhammika Prasad who looked comfortable for his unbeaten 15 from 11 balls. Mathews accelerated towards the end to finish with 64 from 76 balls with 4 fours and a six but was dismissed in the penultimate ball of the match by Mitchell Starc with Sri Lanka needing six more for a win.
The pick of the bowlers for the homeside was left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty who took two wickets giving away only 24 runs in his 10 overs. Skipper Michael Clarke with 57 and the important wicket of Dinesh Chandimal got the Man of the Match award.
Toss and Teams: Sri Lanka have won the toss and asked hosts Australia to bat first in the third match of the Commonwealth Bank Tri-Series at Perth. Michael Clarke has gone in with the same team that beat India in the opening game at Melbourne. Sri Lanka have made one change by including off spinner Sachithra Senanayake in the place of Thisara Perera.
Sri Lanka Team : TM Dilshan, WU Tharanga, KC Sangakkara (Wicket Keeper), LD Chandimal, DPMD Jayawardene (Captain), AD Mathews, HDRL Thirimanne, KMDN Kulasekara, SL Malinga, KTGD Prasad, Sachithra Senanayake