Aussies annihilate insipid Lankans at SCG

Published: Friday, February 8, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Sydney: Australia thrashed Sri Lanka by 128 runs in their World Cup final rematch in the tri-series competition here.

The home side made 253 for six after winning the toss and electing to bat and the Sri Lankans were never in the hunt after losing two early wickets, making a paltry 125.

It was the first time the sides had met in a one-day international since Australia's win in last year's World Cup final and although Kumar Sangakkara offered some brief hope in the run chase with a sparkling 42 from 41 balls, once he fell the tourists collapsed dramatically.

Sangakkara was in peak form, taking 16 runs off one Brett Lee over, but was trapped LBW by a delivery that jagged back off the pitch and into his pads from swing bowler Nathan Bracken.

The Sri Lankans were then 74 for four and when Chamara Silva (7) and Chamara Kapugedera (0) went quickly, they had lost three wickets for 10 runs in just 14 balls and never recovered.

On a slow pitch that suited his clever changes of pace, Bracken was the destroyer, claiming five wickets in 8.3 overs.

He removed opener Upul Tharanga (10) in his first spell and returned to claim the wickets of Sangakkara, kapugedera and Tillakaratne Dilshan (14) in quick succession as Sri Lanka slumped to 93 for seven.

Bracken later dismissed Muttiah Muralitharan to end the Sri Lankan innings and claim just his second five-wicket haul in one-day internationals.

Sri Lanka's woes were summed up by the dismissal of tailender Lasith Malinga, who was run out in bizarre fashion for two.

Malinga slid his bat into the apparent safety of the crease at the non-striker's end as Andrew Symonds' throw at the stumps came in, but then dropped his bat and had both feet in the air when the ball hit the stumps.

The decision went to the third umpire and he was duly given out.

Earlier, half-centuries to Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist had provided the foundation for the Australian total.

Clarke held the innings together with an unbeaten 77, including a towering six off Muralitharan, while Gilchrist was more cautious than usual in making 61, with opener Matthew Hayden chipping in with a brisk 42 at the top of the order in his first game back from a hamstring strain.

Australia had looked set for an even bigger score when the openers put on 65 in quick time, but Chaminda Vaas stemmed the flow of runs with 2-34 from 10 overs.

Muralitharan was forced from the field late in the Australian innings after being hit in the face by the ball in the field.

It was the first of three matches in the series to produce a result, with the first two games both washed out, and the win propelled Australia to the top of the table, with India second and Sri Lanka third.

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