Sydney, Feb 17: Finally Sri Lanka beat Australia by 8 wickets to register their first win in the ODI triseries at Sydney on Friday. Kumar Sangakkara, became the first wicket-keeper batsman for Sri Lanka to complete 10,000 ODI runs, while Jayawardene played a captain's knock as he guided the team to victory within 25 overs.
[Scorecard: Tri-series ODI; Australia Vs Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground]
With rain playing spoilsport, match was reduced to 41 overs a side as play was stopped for almost two hours. The mandatory powerplay was for eight overs instead of the usual 10, while the other two powerplays are reduced to 4 each, since its a rain-hit match.
Dilshan alongwith Mahela Jayawardene added 74 runs for the first wicket before he was dismissed by McKay for 45, five runs short of his half century.
Dilshan was in devastating mood, as he scored 45 off just 41 balls which included 4 boundaries and a six. He smashed three boundaries during Lee's over.
McKay's delivery wide of off stump, would have troubled any batsman, and Dilshan was no different, as he threw his bat which got a thick edge to go straight to Hussey at slip.
Sangakkara (30) added 59 runs with the captain for the second wicket, as Lee broke the partnership with a full length ball angling onto the pads, got a leading edge and landed in Doherty's hands at mid-on.
Sangakkara completed 10,000 ODI runs, while he was on 11, to become the third Sri Lankan and 10th batsman to have achieved this rare feat.
Mahela played a captain's knock as he remained unbeaten on 61* off 67 balls, after scoring his 63rd half century. His knock included five boundaries. He literally guided Sri Lanka to victory as they convincingly won the ODI by 8 wickets, reaching the target in 24.1 overs.
Sri Lanka performed very well in all the departments as they outplayed Aussies thoroughly. Thisara Perera was awarded the man of the match for claiming two wickets (David Hussey and Daniel Christian) and was brilliant on the field with two run-outs, one of them reminding Jhonty Rhodes as he just imitated the best fielder of all time.
"I am really happy to play in Sydney, this is my second match here. I am really happy," Perera said after the match.
While Ponting gave full credit to Sri Lanka for outplaying the hosts, also hopes if Sunday could be better than today's game.
"The pitch didn't have the sort of pace we thought it had, and their bowlers capitalised. Wade's run out was costly. Full credit to Sri Lanka, they bowled and fielded really well, and played their shots in the chase. We thought we could use the seam of the ball and capitalise, but that wasn't the case. Hopefully Sunday is better than tonight,"Ponting said after his team's 8 wicket loss to Sri Lanka.
Mahela was definitely elated at his team's performance as they deserved a win after having tied the match against India on Feb 14, 2012.
"When those two catches went down, I wondered if this was again one of those days, but we pulled it back really well. Our bowlers are capable of adapting to different conditions. The slower balls are all about getting it in the right place. We needed a start, I have done opening before, and thankfully it worked today. We knew we had to win today, the bonus point was the icing on the cake,"Jayawardene said during the presentation ceremony.
Australia's Innings Report: Lankans restrict Australia to 158 in the sixth ODI of the tri-series, which was reduced to 41 overs a side after rain stopped play for almost 2 hours. David Hussey top scored with 58, leading Aussie innings, as wickets tumbled on the other hand. Sri Lanka chase 152 to win this ODI due to the rain-hit match.
Sri Lanks played magnificently at Sydney, as they looked as fiery opponents, impressive with the ball and very aggressive on field. After reducing Australia to 81/6, Lankans have given their best to restrict the hosts to a paltry 158. Since we lost almost 2 hours of play time due to rain, the match was reduced to 41 overs a side, which indeed looked like a blessing in disguise as Australians wouldn't have survived for 50 overs having lost 6 wickets for 81 runs within 24 overs.
Brett Lee (0), McKay (3), Starc (17) all were dismissed quickly as the team recorded 3 run outs in the innings.
Perera, after grabbing the attention during fielding, grabbed the wicket of Christian and David Hussey, who top scored with 58. Christian's wicket was in for some debate, as the ball missed the leg stump while the umpire called it wrong, which further frustrated the Aussies, as both the teams playing this ODI were in favour of DRS, since India is against the system, it couldn't be used in the tri-series which might raise a topic for discussion.
Maharoof grabbed two wickets as he dismisses Forrest (16) and Ponting (2).
He claimed Forrest's wicket by bowling a naggling line, which got an edge and went straight to widish fly slip, which couldn't have been more accurate as Matthews took a fine catch.
Comeback man Maharoof made his presence felt, grabbing Ponting at the start of the innings in his third over, as he got a return catch from the stand-in skipper, whose bad form continues to torment him, which resulted in the loss of second wicket for Australia.
Infact Aussies were hit by a 'M-power' Malinga, Maharoof and Mathews at the start of the innings, as they shared 4 wickets between them, as Malinga and Mathews were content with one wicket each.
Due to the trio, Aussies were in serious trouble having been reduced to 60/4 after 18 overs, as Mike Hussey was also dismissed for 13.
Mike Hussey, replacing Michael Clarke in this ODI, failed to make an impact as Aussies were reeling at 60/4 after his dismissal. A huge hit off Mathew followed by an easy catch to Sangakkara ended Mike Hussey's innings, as he scored just 13 off 23 balls. A delivery slightly outside off, which kissed the bat and went straight to Sangakkara's gloves.
While Aussies would have lost two more wickets at that stage, thanks to Malinga, who floored a catch, off David Hussey which could have proved vital, as he went on to score 58 runs.
Warner, who is currently undergoing a bad patch, played sensibly today, as he waited for the bad deliveries and punished them, but a beauty from Malinga, a slow off-cutter, as the batsman tried to chip the ball, without spotting it, as the delivery considerably the best so far, yo-yoed as the pace reduced from mid 140s to low 120s without much change in the action as it was too late to realise and check the shot as it went straight to Maharoof at mid-on.
After Warner fell, things took a drastic change, as wickets tumbled in quick succession. Wade tried to take a run off Kulasekara's full length delivery by pushing it to the covers, while Thisara Perera's smart work remembered everyone of Jhonty Rhodes. Forrest, who saw Perera and was reluctant to take a single, made up his mind later to go for it, however Perera grabbed the ball and threw it to the bowler as both the batsmen were stranded mid-pitch, only to know that Wade was gone by a mile.
Earlier in the day, Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. Ricky Ponting, skipper for today's match called it right as the hosts decided to put up a good show yet again, and hope to continue their dominance in the tri-series being at the top of the table.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka are in desperately need of a win as they have witnessed three consecutive losses in the tournament so far. Another loss will put them in a must win situation for the remaining games, which will increase the pressure on the touring side.
Australia included veteran Michael Hussey who was rested for the previous one-dayer, as he replaced skipper Michael Clarke, who was ruled out of today's clash due to a hamstring strain. A fully fit Brett Lee also finds place in the team as Ryan Harris was rested to accomodate him, while Doherty, recovered completely from injury, will continue to play.
Sri Lanka also made quite a few changes today, in order to experiment with the combination as the previous one did not yield results. Upul Tharanga, with his disastrous form continuing, was replaced by Lahiri Thirimanne while Farveez Maharoof has got a chance to play after 5 ODIs replaced Sachithra Senanayake.
Australia: DA Warner, MS Wade, RT Ponting, PJ Forrest, DJ Hussey, MEK Hussey, DT Christian, B Lee, CJ McKay, MA Starc, XJ Doherty
Sri Lanka: DPMD Jayawardene, TM Dilshan, KC Sangakkara, LD Chandimal, HDRL Thirimanne, AD Mathews, NLTC Perera, MF Maharoof, KMDN Kulasekara, SL Malinga, HMRKB Herath