Adelaide, Mar 6: Tillakaratne Dilshan (106) scored his second hundred of the series to power Sri Lanka to a convincing eight-wicket victory over Australia in the second final of the tri-series at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.
[Scorecard: Second Final; Australia Vs Sri Lanka, Adelaide]
Faced with a target of 272 to stay alive in the finals, Sri Lanka coasted to victory in the 45th over, ending up with 274/2 in 44.2 overs. It is for the fourth time that Sri Lanka have got the better of Australia in the series. In six meetings in the tri-series, the hosts have won only two against the 2011 World Cup finalists.
The victory here meant that the best-of-three finals stands level at 1-1 and the decider will be played at the same venue on Thursday.
Dilshan reached his 12th ODI hundred in 234th match. It was dual opening roles for Dilshan as he had earlier taken the new ball during the Australian innings and took one wicket.
It was a dominant batting display by Sri Lanka that crushed the hosts' hopes of sealing the title in the second final. Yet again, Australian bowling was exposed. During the first final, they almost failed to defend a mammoth total of 321, just managing to edge home by 15 runs.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene (80 off 76 balls) and Dilshan set a perfect platform for the chase, with a big partnership as the Islanders chased down the target of 272. The aggressive duo associated for 179 runs for the first wicket in 27.1 overs.
Kumar Sangakkara, batting at number three, helped himself to an unbeaten 51 from 57 balls and Dinesh Chandimal remained undefeated on 17. Sangakkara hit the winning runs off Shane Watson.
Sri Lanka, who were at the receiving end after scoring two individual centuries against India in Hobart, meted out the same punishment to Australia as two tons from hosts' batsmen were reduced worthless. Michael Clarke and David Warner had struck hundreds earlier in the day but they ended up on the losing side.
In Hobart, last week, Dilshan and Sangakkara had registered centuries before Virat Kohli's sensational three-figure knock neutralised that twin-century effect.
It is rare in ODI cricket to witness a team ending up with defeat after two of their batsmen have scored hundreds. It has now happened twice in the series and overall there have been 20 such instances in ODI history.
Dilshan is now the leading run scorer in the tri-series with 505 runs (two hundreds and a fifty) in 10 games. He won the Man-of-the-match award.
All Australian bowlers were expensive with only Brett Lee and James Pattinson managing to take a wicket apiece. It is a big worry for captain Clarke ahead of the decider.
Australian Innings Report: Clarke and Warner hit tons
Captain Michael Clarke (117) and David Warner (100) scored centuries to lead Australia to 271/6 in 50 overs in the second final.
It was Warner's second successive hundred after having made 163 in the first final on Sunday in Brisbane. There was an injury worry for Warner before the match but he showed no signs during the innings.
Sri Lanka were poor on the field, dropping five catches and there were several fumbles and overthrows which helped Australian batsmen.
Clarke and Warner had a 184-run partnership for the third wicket in 30.4 overs. It was a cautious start by the Australians on a sluggish wicket but picked the pace as the innings progressed.
For a change, Clarke was aggressive while Warner preferred to adopt a slow approach. The captain reached to his hundred in 81 balls while Warner needed 138 balls for the same effort.
It was Clarke's seventh ODI hundred while Warner got his second. Clarke hit four sixes and five boundaries in his 91-ball innings. Interestingly, all of Clarke's boundaries and sixes were scored on the on-side.
The left-handed opener Warner had four fours and a six in his 140-ball 100.
Farveez Maharoof was the most expensive bowler for Sri Lanka, conceding 71 runs for no wicket in 10 overs. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was also expensive with 0/58 in 10 overs.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene surprised everyone by opening the bowling with the off-spin of Tillakaratne Dilshan. He proved his captain right by being economical, giving away 40 runs for one wicket in 10 overs.
Lasith Malinga, who had a forgettable outing in the first final, came on as first-change bowler. He took three wickets for 40 runs in 10 overs.
Earlier, Dilshan removed opener Matthew Wade early in the innings to give Sri Lanka a perfect start in the second final of the ODI tri-series at Adelaide on Tuesday.
Dilshan was skidding the balls through, while Matthew Wade tried to pull the ball as he missed and the ball went on to rattle the stumps.
Sri Lanka need to win this to keep their hopes alive, as Aussies have won the first final on Sunday. Wwith another victory, they will take tri-series title.
Toss Report: Warner fit, Australia bat
David Warner, the centurion of the first final, is declared fit to play the second final, while Ben Hilfenhaus has been rested as Clint McKay replaces him in the playing XI.
"David Warner is 100% fine and will open the batting today," says Clarke.
On losing the toss, Jayawardene doesn't seem to be disappointed as he said he would have opted to bowl first on a 'fresh wicket'. Sri Lanka, to strengthen their batting, have left out pacer Dhammika Prasad to accommodate middle-order batsman, Chamara Kapugedera, who arrived in Australia for the finals after Thisara Perera was ruled out. Angelo Mathews, is not playing as he has not recovered yet.
Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson (vice-captain), David Warner, Daniel Christian, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty, Brett Lee, James Pattinson.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Farveez Maharoof, Chamara Kapugedara, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera