Colombo, Aug 23: Sri Lanka secured a consolation victory against Australia on Aug 22, when they romped home with four wickets to spare. But Australia, courtesy their first three victories have managed to win the ODI series 3-2 and go into the Test series with increased levels of confidence after the hammerings they received in the T20s against the same opponent.
And once again, it was Lasith Malinga, who was the architect of Sri Lanka's victory for his bowling performance of 3/35 in eight overs. He also became the first man in One Day internationals to claim three hat-tricks.
Chasing Australia's target of 212, Sri Lanka were in dire straits after losing their top-three batsmen for only 33 runs on the board. But then in an amazing rearguard action, Mahela Jayawardene forged a 111-run partnership with Chamara Silva to wrest the initiative from the Aussies.
Another 45-run partnership with Angelo Mathews made sure that Sri Lanka secured a consolation victory. Jayawardene top-scored with 71, followed by Chamara Silva who made 63.
For Australia, Pattinson and Doherty claimed two wickets each, followed by Johnson and Watson who took one each.
Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss and asked Australia to bat first. Eranga, removed Shaun Marsh in the second over of the match which was followed by a 67-run partnership between Watson and Ponting.
Ponting, who has been looking in prime form was caught of Mathews delivery for 31. Watson, meanwhile continued with skipper Clarke as they put on a 56-run stance for the third wicket. It was after Watson's dismissal that the Australian batting order collapsed with the exception of David Hussey.
After the Hussey brothers and Clarke departed, it was a Malinga show all the way. The right-arm fast bowler removed Johnson, Hastings and Doherty with three consecutive deliveries in the 46th over. And once Haddin was removed in the next over, Sri Lanka were left with a target of 212.