Mathews' late surge fails to stop Aussies

Cricket Tri-series: Sri Lankans lose by five runs to hosts

Mathews' late surge fails to stop Aussies

Wriggling out of tight corners has been the hallmark of Australian teams over the years, and on a blazing day at the WACA the force from Down Under added one more chapter to that tale.

Australia had only skipper Michael Clarke’s fifty and a couple of other handy contributions to show in their 231 all out in 49.1 overs, but their bowlers made that total look like an insurmountable mountain as Sri Lanka could manage only 226 before being bundled out with a ball left.

Vice-captain Angelo Mathews, who stitched together 46 runs off 33 balls with last man Dhammika Prasad, put them just a blow away from a famous victory with a well-paced 64 (76b, 4x4, 1x6), but he skied Mitchell Starc to Daniel Christian at long-on with six runs needed from two balls.

Credit though should be given to Australia for hanging in there grimly. Their nerve-jangling five-run victory was primarily a result of the perseverance of their bowlers, especially left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty. Chasing 232 is not exactly an easy proposition on a pitch like at the WACA. It requires a solid start, and left-arm pacer Starc denied Sri Lanka precisely that.

The strapping quick winkled out opener Upul Tharanga early in Lankan innings, and his colleagues didn’t make things any easier for other batsmen — sticking to a tidy line and at times getting disconcerting bounce as evidenced in Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene’s dismissal.

Jabbing the ball over the slips to third man, a more delicate form of upper cut, has become a favourite shot of Jayawardene, and he has earned a good number of runs in the past through that stroke. But Daniel Christian’s delivery had more bounce in it than Jayawardene anticipated, and all he could manage was to feather the ball to Mathew Wade, who had an immensely impressive time behind the stumps, being part of five dismissals.

Sri Lankans were also done in by the run out Kumar Sangakkara, who was looking in fine touch. Two former skippers – Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan – were caught in a yes-no situation that eventually resulted in Sangakkara’s dismissal. There were a few knocks that promised to take Lanka home like Dinesh Chandimal’s 37 and Mathews’ fifty, but on this day Australians were not to be denied.

Earlier in the day, the Lankans were quite impressive dishing out world class bowling and fielding. Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga started well for the visitors removing Wade and Ricky Ponting. Kulasekara induced an edge from Wade, while Malinga trapped a shuffling Ponting in front as Australia slipped to 26 for two.

David Warner promised much during his short but explosive stay (34 off 29 balls), but Mathews found a way through his defence. Kulasekara pulled off a stunning return catch to pack of Mike Hussey as the home side found themselves at 81 for four.

However, man of the match Michael Clarke (57, 88b, 4x4) constructed two successive stands with David Hussey and Christian for the fifth (49) and sixth wickets (56) respectively that gave Australia some steam back in the middle overs. But the quick dismissals of Clarke and Christian once again put the pressure back on the hosts.

At 190 for seven, the home side desperately needed some runs to post a competitive total. Clint McKay and Starc added 32 runs in 6.1 overs to power Australia to a total that proved just enough for Australia.

Score board

AUSTRALIA

Warner b Mathews    34
(29b, 4x4, 1x6)
Wade c Sangakkara b Kulasekara    1
(5b)
Ponting lbw Malinga    1
(4b)
Clarke c Jayawardene b Mathews    57
(88b, 4x4)
M Hussey c & b Kulasekara    23
(32b, 3x4)
D Hussey c Thirimanne b Malinga    27
(38b, 2x4, 1x6)
Christian st S’kkara b S’nayake    33
(44b, 4x4, 1x6)
Harris c Kulasekara b Senanayake    3
(9b)
McKay c Thirimanne b Prasad    25
(25b, 3x4)
Starc c Tharanga b Prasad    14
(19b, 14b)
Doherty (not out)    2
(2b)

Extras (LB-6, W-5)    11

Total (all out, 49.1 overs)    231

Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Wade), 2-26 (Ponting), 3-50 (Warner), 4-81 (M Hussey), 5-130 (D Hussey), 6-186 (Christian), 7-190 (Clarke), 8-192 (Harris), 9-224 (Starc).

Bowling: Malinga 10-0-48-2 (w-4), Kulasekara 10-0-39-2, Mathews 9-0-37-2 (w-1), D Prasad 9.1-0-55-2, Senanayake 10-0-45-2, Dilshan 1-0-1-0.

Scoring Pattern: 5 overs: 27/2, 10: 51/3, 20: 87/4, 30: 135/5, 40: 187/6, End of Innings: 231 all out in 49.1 overs.

Power Play 1: 1-10: 51/3, Power Play 2: 16-20: 20/1, Power Play 3: 35-39: 30/0.

SRI LANKA

Tharanga c Clarke b Starc    5
(13b, 1x4)
Dilshan c Wade b Harris    40
(57b, 4x4)
Sangakkara (run out)    22
(32b, 3x4)
Chandimal lbw Clarke    37
(50b, 4x4)
Jayawardene c Wade b Christian    13
(13b, 1x4)
Thirimanne b Doherty    3
(6b)
Mathews c Christian b Starc    64
(76b, 4x4, 1x6)
Kulasekara c Wade b Christian    8
(11b)
Senanayake st Wade b Doherty    9
(24b)
Malinga c Wade b McKay    1
(6b)
Prasad (not out)    15
(11b, 1x4)

Extras (LB-3, W-6)    9

Total (all out, 49.5 overs)    226

Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Tharanga), 2-62 (Sangakkara), 3-88 (Dilshan), 4-110 (Jawardene), 5-119 (Thirimanne), 6-129 (Chandimal), 7-143 (Kulasekara), 8-175 (Senanayake), 9-180 (Malinga).

Bowling: Ryan Harris 10-0-43-1, Mitchell Starc 9.5-0-50-2 (w-3), Clint McKay 10-0-50-1 (w-2), Daniel Christian 8-1-47-2 (w-1), Xavier Doherty 10-0-24-2, Michael Clarke 2-0-9-1.
Scoring Pattern: 5 overs: 16/1, 10: 31/1, 20: 83/2, 30: 129/5, 40: 171/7, End of Innings: 226 all out in 49.5 overs.

Power Play 1: 1-10: 31/1, Power Play 2: 16-20: 21/0, Power Play 3: 36-40: 28/1.

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