Australia capitulate to hand SL 2-1 lead
Sri Lanka bowled Australia out for 74, their second lowest total in the format on their way to a 4 wicket in the third ODI at Brisbane on Friday.
The win put them 2-1 ahead in the 5 match series.
Australia’s returning ODI skipper Michael Clarke was more than happy to bat first on the Gabba surface, his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahela Jayawardene opined that it would have been his choice as well had he won the toss. But Nuwan Kulasekara had other ideas.
His new ball partner Angelo Mathews got SL the breakthrough, getting lucky when David Warner slapped a poor short and wide delivery straight into the hands of Shaminda Eranga at mid off.
Kulasekara maintained discipline at the other end, bowling within a narrow channel across the left handed Hughes, even inducing edges which flew safe. His break finally came in the 6th over when Hughes tried to dab one down to third man only for Jayawardene to take a great catch, moving fast from second slip.
David Hussey and George Bailey were sent back off consecutive deliveries in the next over as Australia slid to a woeful 23/4. A while later Clarke and Moises Henriques both departed in the space of three balls as Australia slid to 30/6.
Malinga (3/14) then struck in three consecutive overs, sending back Mitchell Johnson, Matthew Wade (caught by Tillakaratne Dilshan) and Clint McKay reducing Australia to a catastrophic 40/9, well short of their two joint lowest ODI totals of 70.
Kulasekara bowled unchanged at the other end, finishing with exceptional figures of 10-2-22-5. Xavier Doherty (15) and Mitchell Starc (22*) were the only two Australians to reach double figures and hauled their side past a record humiliation, taking them to 74 before Eranga had Doherty caught at cover trying to fend off a short ball.
Clint McKay gave Australia the most audacious of hopes in the first when David Warner took a stunning catch to send back Jayawardene, leaving SL 4/1. Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne swung at everything, the exaggerated movement the bowlers got actually saving them nicking the ball on occasions. The ploy worked for SL and they were nearly halfway home before Dilshan was dismissed. A rare attempt to shoulder arms and leave the ball saw it take an edge to Clarke at first slip, ending his knock on 22 (33b,3x4).
In his next over Mitchell Johnson removed Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews off successive deliveries leaving SL at 37/4. Mathews became the second no.5 batsman in the match to make a first ball duck after George Bailey. Kushal Perera (22*) and Upul Tharanga were more judicious in their shot making, only going after the rank bad balls and taking SL to 48/4 when the teams took a Tea break.
Perera hit two fours in the over right after the break and Tharanga got one but Starc struck back for Australia with the wicket of the latter. SL were 63/5 after 16 overs. A nervy seven run partnership for the sixth wicket saw Johnson fluff up a chance to run out Perera and Warner drop a sitter off Henriques that could have sent back Jeevan Mendis. Starc then had Mendis out caught by McKay at midwicket off a top edge with SL just 4 away from the target, reducing them to 71/6. But Thisara Perera then hit a four two balls later to finally settle the game, taking SL home in just 20 overs and putting them 2-1 ahead in the series.
The two sides will play the fourth ODI of the series at Sydney on January 20th.