Sri Lanka enter CB Series finals, knock India out
Sri Lanka entered the finals of the Commonwealth Bank Series, defeating Australia by 9 runs at Melbourne on Friday and knocking India out of the tournament in the process.
Royal Challengers Bangalore allrounder Tillakaratne Dilshan couldn't contribute with the bat but he proved his worth on the field during Sri Lanka's tense but ultimately successful defence of a small total, taking three catches and effecting a run out.
Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first but suffered early blows with Mahela Jayawardene (5) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (9) being dismissed early. A 127 run partnership for the third wicket between Kumar Sangakkara (64) and Dinesh Chandimal (75) followed, allowing SL rebuild their innings. James Pattinson returned to rattle the top order, accounting for Sangakkara and Chandimal to add to Dilshan.
Daniel Christian then struck, removing Mathews before he saw off Perera, Senanayake and Kulasekara with a hattrick.
Lahiru Thirimanne guided the tail, taking SL to the 230s before he fell to Pattinson on 51. Christian claimed Malinga for his fifth wicket, ending with 5/31 while Pattinson ended with 4/51 as Sri Lanka went from 140/2 in the 29th over to 238 all out.
Australia's chase was in dire straits right from the beginning as they slid to 26/3, Kulasekara and Malinga doing the damage for SL. Shane Watson and Michael Hussey arrested the slide with a 87 run partnership for the fourth wicket. Sri Lanka were at a disadvantage when Mathews and Perera pulled out with injuries and were unable to bowl. Thirimanne stepped up though to replace them and provided SL a breakthrough with the wicket of Michael Hussey.
Watson (65) followed a few overs later and it was left to David Hussey to finish the chase for Australia. He managed to string little partnerships with the tail but the bowlers struck regularly to keep their defence alive. Dilshan came into play, catching Pattinson, running out McKay and taking another catch to dismiss Doherty at points in the game when it seemed their respective partnerships would carry Australia across the line.
With one wicket in hand and 10 required off the last over, David Hussey holed out to Tillakaratne Dilshan at long off, his knock ending on 74 and with it Australia's innings on 229.
The 9 run win took SL to the top of the points table, pushing Australia to second and knocking India out of a spot in the best of 3 finals to be played at Brisbane and Adelaide from March 4th onwards.