Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne November 3, 2010

Sangakkara savours stunning comeback

49

Kumar Sangakkara is not a man to indulge in hyperbole, but even he rated Sri Lanka's miraculous comeback win at the MCG as one of the two best victories in his 277-game career. Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga somehow rescued their side from 8 for 107 chasing 240, and in the process rewrote a ninth-wicket partnership record that had stood since the 1983 World Cup.

That they achieved the feat against the No. 1-ranked side, and in Australia, was even more impressive. After the match, Sangakkara was reluctant to put the triumph categorically at the top of the team's achievements, but he was full of praise for the way Mathews and Malinga resurrected what looked like becoming a miserable failure.

"It's the second-most remarkable, I think, or at least one of two, because we were five wickets down for six runs against Bangladesh in a final and managed to get home in that with Murali hitting 33 off 15. But Bangladesh is one thing and the Australians are another, so this is incredible.

"There's nothing much you can think [at 8 for 107] - you just hope. And the way Angelo batted, I thought he showed immense maturity. He's coming off a tough couple of months with the bat, he's had an injury so he can't bowl, but I think he just repaid our trust many times over with the way he batted. And Lasith Malinga did the hard yards in the bowling part and then managed to go out there and again contribute fantastically to the win."

Australia looked headed for certain victory when the debutant Xavier Doherty ran through the top order and by the time Malinga joined Mathews, a home win seemed only moments away. Immediately, they took the batting Powerplay, hoping to manufacture something out of nothing, and the gamble quickly began to pay off.

They picked off 45 runs in during the fielding restrictions and gradually the momentum shifted. Malinga used his brute force to plant a few sixes into the stands and sow some doubts in the mind of Michael Clarke, while Mathews worked the ball around at the other end, conscious that time was not Sri Lanka's enemy. Slowly they started to think of victory, which had not been on their agenda when the partnership began.

"We never thought of winning the game from there," Mathews said. "We just wanted to bat on and see how we go. We just took the Powerplay and it worked for us, we got some runs and the game got closer. When we got close to 200 we thought that we could do it, because we had a big partnership and Lasith was batting extremely well, he was hitting big sixes and it was so easy for me to knock it around and play freely."

It looked easy, too. Neither man gave a genuine chance until the scores were already tied, when Malinga was run out attempting a winning single. It prompted groans from the 19,000-strong crowd, which was dominated by Sri Lankan fans, while many of the Australians who would normally turn up stayed away, having already had a day off work for Tuesday's Melbourne Cup public holiday.

"Melbourne is the best place for us to come and play, it's like playing at home," Sangakkara said. "Today I think there were many more Sri Lankans than Australians to watch the game, so it's incredible to play here. Sydney is also great. Australia has been a great place to come to, but we haven't won enough here, so it's good to get off to a win."

However, as wondrous as the one-wicket victory was for the visitors, Sangakkara knows that much work remains if Sri Lanka are to win a series in Australia for the first time. They head to Sydney with an opportunity to secure the series on Friday, but barely half an hour after the players streamed on to the field to celebrate the victory, Sangakkara was already warning his men that they had to lift their game.

"This is an incredible but very lucky win," he said. "I thought we fielded quite poorly today. We bowled very well to restrict them, I though the Powerplay overs were fantastic. Thisara Perera again, he seems to be able to pick up five-fors and wickets in one-dayers when you don't think that he can. We made some very poor decisions in our batting especially, when Doherty came on, and we made it really hard for ourselves. There are a lot of things to work on."

The batting of Mathews and Malinga is not one of them.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 10, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    @ popcorn Michal Clerk could not have to do anything other than watching Mathews & Malinga.He tried everything but 2M's unstopable.Michael clerk better captain than Ricky.When Ricky played with SL they won very easily. But under Michael SL loss one match as well.That will show who will more agressive.

  • dsenevir on November 4, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    Wow! What a match! What a finish. Hats off to Angelo and Malinga and rest of the SL team! We are proud of you! World Cup 2011..Here comes the Lions!

  • on November 4, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    My World cup team for 2011........

    1 Mahela, 2 Dishan, 3 Kumar, 4 Chandimal, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Anjelo, 7 Tissara, 8 Suraj, 9 Nuwan, 10 Lasith, 11 Muththayya We need a rock solid batsman, Thilan Samaraweera at 5 so that tail can play around him.

  • popcorn on November 4, 2010, 11:13 GMT

    Michael Clarke is not a ruthless captain - like Allan Border,Mark Taylor,Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting.Even after the 5 over power play, there were plenty of runs to get for the Sri Lankans. Michael Clarke should have crowded the bat,rather than spread his field,asked his bowlers to bowl medium pace stump to stump, and caused the edges and mistakes from Mathews and Malinga.Australia could still have won.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on November 4, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    I have never seen such an opposition suppot crowd in any of ODI before in Australia. Easily over 90% were supporting Lions. I tried to find out Aussie flags. I think about 8 P.M. (SL 107 for 8) I found just 2 Aussie flags. There were thousands Lion flags. I can say the same for the Twenty20 at Blacktown olympic park. I hardly saw any Aussi flags. Even during the rain, Sri Lankans started dancing and singing under the familian.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on November 4, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    My Team 1 Mahela, 2 Dishan, 3 Kumar, 4 Chandimal, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Anjelo, 7 Tissara, 8 Suraj, 9 Nuwan, 10 Lasith, 11 Muththayya We need a rock solid batsman, Thilan Samaraweera at 5 so that tail can play around him.

  • on November 4, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    "It's the second-most remarkable, I think, or at least one of two, because we were five wickets down for six runs against Bangladesh in a final and managed to get home in that with Murali hitting 33 off 15. But Bangladesh is one thing and the Australians are another, so this is incredible. "

    IS THIS GUY A NUT-JOB ??? HE RATES A MATCH AGAINST BANGLADESH OVER THIS? HOLY COW WOULD SOMEONE BASH UP HIS BRAINS FOR ME!!! This was in Australia against Australia and from 106-8 and he compares this with some match against Bangladesh! Probably SL's best game ever! Only second to their World Cup triumph in 1996!

  • Biggus on November 4, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    I don't think Australians think one day cricket is dying. I do think however that many of us are ambivalent towards the T20 format. To me personally T20 is to test cricket as the comics in the daily paper are to 'War and Peace', but we do like the 50 over a side game. Incidentally, well done Sri Lanka- a victory full of character and promise, despite the middle order collapse. Keep playing like that and you may enter the World Cup as one of the favourites. Two World Cups would look pretty good in the trophy cabinet eh?

  • PATHANIAS on November 4, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Boy that was some batting by Malinga. I think the decision to take batting powerplay was incredible and it payed off. Hats Off lions

  • on November 4, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    Whoever said ODI cricket is dying is STUPID, its still the most exciting version of the Game !!

  • on November 10, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    @ popcorn Michal Clerk could not have to do anything other than watching Mathews & Malinga.He tried everything but 2M's unstopable.Michael clerk better captain than Ricky.When Ricky played with SL they won very easily. But under Michael SL loss one match as well.That will show who will more agressive.

  • dsenevir on November 4, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    Wow! What a match! What a finish. Hats off to Angelo and Malinga and rest of the SL team! We are proud of you! World Cup 2011..Here comes the Lions!

  • on November 4, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    My World cup team for 2011........

    1 Mahela, 2 Dishan, 3 Kumar, 4 Chandimal, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Anjelo, 7 Tissara, 8 Suraj, 9 Nuwan, 10 Lasith, 11 Muththayya We need a rock solid batsman, Thilan Samaraweera at 5 so that tail can play around him.

  • popcorn on November 4, 2010, 11:13 GMT

    Michael Clarke is not a ruthless captain - like Allan Border,Mark Taylor,Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting.Even after the 5 over power play, there were plenty of runs to get for the Sri Lankans. Michael Clarke should have crowded the bat,rather than spread his field,asked his bowlers to bowl medium pace stump to stump, and caused the edges and mistakes from Mathews and Malinga.Australia could still have won.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on November 4, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    I have never seen such an opposition suppot crowd in any of ODI before in Australia. Easily over 90% were supporting Lions. I tried to find out Aussie flags. I think about 8 P.M. (SL 107 for 8) I found just 2 Aussie flags. There were thousands Lion flags. I can say the same for the Twenty20 at Blacktown olympic park. I hardly saw any Aussi flags. Even during the rain, Sri Lankans started dancing and singing under the familian.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on November 4, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    My Team 1 Mahela, 2 Dishan, 3 Kumar, 4 Chandimal, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Anjelo, 7 Tissara, 8 Suraj, 9 Nuwan, 10 Lasith, 11 Muththayya We need a rock solid batsman, Thilan Samaraweera at 5 so that tail can play around him.

  • on November 4, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    "It's the second-most remarkable, I think, or at least one of two, because we were five wickets down for six runs against Bangladesh in a final and managed to get home in that with Murali hitting 33 off 15. But Bangladesh is one thing and the Australians are another, so this is incredible. "

    IS THIS GUY A NUT-JOB ??? HE RATES A MATCH AGAINST BANGLADESH OVER THIS? HOLY COW WOULD SOMEONE BASH UP HIS BRAINS FOR ME!!! This was in Australia against Australia and from 106-8 and he compares this with some match against Bangladesh! Probably SL's best game ever! Only second to their World Cup triumph in 1996!

  • Biggus on November 4, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    I don't think Australians think one day cricket is dying. I do think however that many of us are ambivalent towards the T20 format. To me personally T20 is to test cricket as the comics in the daily paper are to 'War and Peace', but we do like the 50 over a side game. Incidentally, well done Sri Lanka- a victory full of character and promise, despite the middle order collapse. Keep playing like that and you may enter the World Cup as one of the favourites. Two World Cups would look pretty good in the trophy cabinet eh?

  • PATHANIAS on November 4, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Boy that was some batting by Malinga. I think the decision to take batting powerplay was incredible and it payed off. Hats Off lions

  • on November 4, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    Whoever said ODI cricket is dying is STUPID, its still the most exciting version of the Game !!

  • on November 4, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    We are Lions and we never give up!!Awesome is the word...I was fortunate enough to see one of the greatest come backs of all time. But our boys need to tighten up.This should have been an easy victory.It was a good pitch and the bounce was helping the stroke play.As Lankans now play the cross bat shots way better than Aussies, they should have won this comfortably.(Aussies looked like Bangladesh in their batting display.So low on confidence.). Lankans just need to keep their heads straight and have the right attitude.Then it'll be Kangaroo curry time.Focus guys.Glory is to be had here.NEVER EVER EVER EVER GIVE UP!!!

  • visualdp on November 4, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    Wow what a great match !!!! well done Sri Lanka !!! But Sanga should be more careful cz of the batting of the middle order. I think Chandimal, Kapu & Jeewan must have chance in next game. By their inclusion SL have a good batting depth for surely. No one can't say 50 over games are dying. C'mon Sl boys give a another good match tomorrow. All the best !!!

  • on November 4, 2010, 3:41 GMT

    We must re assemble our squad without silva and tharanga. we have more talented youngsters like chandimal ,kapugedara. kapu always good at playing with aussies. good luck boys

  • sAiyAnstAr on November 4, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    What can I say about this win?! I was listening on the radio last night as I was driving and heard that Sri Lanka were 3 for 70 odd. By the end of my trip Sri Lanka were 5 for 86. I was gutted and angry at the poor batting display.

    I checked my iPhone a little later in the night, just with some sort of hope that we will still be batting, OR, see how many overs we were bowled out in.

    8 for 200 needing 40 to win. Malinga was on 44. What was going on?

    I rushed to the TV and watched the second greatest win I have ever seen. Only the 1996 World Cup win beats this.

    Sri Lanka, you have made me a believer once again in your fighting Lion!

  • on November 4, 2010, 1:54 GMT

    Wow, this is reminiscent of Pakistan's win over the proteas this last weekend, great job Lankans! I dare say, the only boards and medias who claim ODIs are dead are those with highly lucrative t20 tournaments and greedy boards...Money is good for the players,but dont write ODIs off just yet.Odis are a longer version of T20s where there is more time to plan, fight back and change games...its always BETTER cricket than t20 no doubt!

  • on November 3, 2010, 23:04 GMT

    i remember once a PASS WAY SIR DON BRADMAN has said in a articlae cricket will run by sub continetal teams... not by auss or england or newzeland nw its proveing.there why there legens of the game.. well done guys from all subcontinetal teams,

  • ygkd on November 3, 2010, 21:34 GMT

    Well, done Sri Lanka, although as an Australian I expected a less eventual runchase. Still, you got there and it showed great character. This game was why ODIs can be far better thrillers than T20, there is far more time for fluctuating fortunes. And the best teams wins more often in the longer format. Sri Lanka was the better team.

  • on November 3, 2010, 21:24 GMT

    Is it the beginning of the end of Aussie story. in a months time they grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory, this is what the Aussies are known to do to other teams till recently. Nowadays every seems to be able to pay it back to them.

    everything that goes up comes down ...................!!!

  • on November 3, 2010, 20:45 GMT

    @Abm Bidut Habib Bangladeshi fans see to be on a high after beating a team ranked 8 in the ODI rankings. Just in case you haven't noticed, there are seven teams above them!

  • on November 3, 2010, 20:32 GMT

    MAn one day cricket is NOT dying..its NOT...look at Pakistan, look at SL, look at Bangladesh and India. It might be dying in Australia and New Zealand but its alive and well in our countries. Great match, love it :)

  • on November 3, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    AN ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on November 3, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    Who says One day cricket is dying

    Oh i c it was an aussie

  • Philip_Gnana on November 3, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    Entertainment, thrills, spills, wonder and amazement. What a game "whadda player(s)" Matt and Mali. Yet again we see Mathews showing us why he should be in the team. He has come through the ranks and has a proven track record. Doubters take note. Malinga always loved his batting and even had suggested at one time that he should be batting further up.... who will disagree? Murali with a good spell and Perera being more consistent too. SL got out of jail here showing what they are made off. Opponents take note. SL are no push overs...Sanga solid as ever. Good that Sanga is focussed on the reall issues and is not being carried away. SL need to play their natural game...continue guys. Well done the Lions. Philip Gnana, Surrey.

  • Gaylo on November 3, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    This is one of the most memorable comebacks. One day cricket is finally back to exciting mode with 2 pak-sa close matches and this one. Hope this trend continues and make world cup more interesting

  • sadSajith on November 3, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    I have seen something like this before.But it is a dream.

  • Mr.A2Z on November 3, 2010, 17:23 GMT

    great stuff by Srilankans three ODI's in this week and all of them were very interesting full of fighting spirit. ICC plssssssss dont mess around with ODI format.

  • Nathan_123 on November 3, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    Great knock by Mathews and Malinga. It was one of the best partnership I have ever seen. It was an inteligent, gutsy and well structured inings by both these batsmen. Having wintness this grate partnership, I have also witness some poor ill thought batting display by the Sri lankan top order batsmen. Especially Dilshan, Silva, Sanga and Perera . I could not understand what's going on in Silva's mind. Sri lanka just lost Mahela's wicket instead of getting use to the wicket and condition, he came down the track to play a big shot and got him self out. I aslo think Sangas's shot at that stage wasn't neccessary. I think Silva and Tharanga are two good batsmen with lack of confidence. In my opinion the Srilankans were let off the hook by the Aussies.

  • on November 3, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    I hope either Bangladesh or Sri Lanka wins the upcoming world cup.

  • on November 3, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    I think this is the turning point for Sri Lanka before the word cup.. Just like before the 1996 world cup in Australia..!!

  • on November 3, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    I'm Sri Lankan, i have watched cricket 18 years. this win was a memorable win. for next match Tharanga Out, Chandimal In; Jeevan Mendis/Chamara Kapugedara should play instead of (brainless) Chamara Silva. Dilhara played better than Nuwan Kulasekara; so Dilhara should play. Mahela should Open instead of Tharanga, by that method we can get free flowing Mahela @ the top of the order

  • on November 3, 2010, 15:10 GMT

    wonderful come bake from lankans..aussies lose continues to 6th game.very happy to see dis news

  • stormy16 on November 3, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    It was a miracle win but we cant hold on to miracles. There are serious issues in the batting suporting Sanga, Mahela, Dilly and Mathews. Both Taranga and Chamara have not delivered over a long time expcet for once off's and the same goes for the Chamara on the bench. Lets try out Chandimal - cant we worse than what we saw from either Taranga or Chamara today.

  • on November 3, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    Tailender turmoil for the Aussies. First Ishant and now Malinga. This is getting incredibly funny. Aussie team is now becoming the laughing stock of world cricket. They can only hope Ponting's return can turn the tide in their favor!

  • on November 3, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    Great victory but Familiar problems for SL n batting. Mahela not opening & as usual stuggled as a middle order batsmen. WHy cant the lankan think tank understand that he plays he bats best as an opener in the limted version og the game as an opener. Tharanga wasted so much of deliveries & he put so much pressure on dilshan & he went for wrong shot. In the T20 math mahela took charge & dilshan supported him with singles then when mahela got out dilshan took charge. We need Dilshan & Mahela to open to get the maximum out of the powerplay. Chandimal should bat at no.5 & drop chama silva as he was terrible today with the bat. this wud be my team. 1. Dilshan 2. Mahela 3. Tharanga 4. Sanga 5. Chandimal 6. mathews 7. thisara 8. Randiv 9. Kulasekara 10. Malinga 11. Murali

  • layya on November 3, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    well done boys..it is indeed a miracle..cant forget the classical knock of sanga at the beginning.need one more win..

  • StefanAbeysekera on November 3, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Glorious cricket! Who needs boring England - why not give Sri Lanka a well deserved full series ASAP?

  • prikand on November 3, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    It was a great game.Nothing to take away the credit from Sri Lankans.But at the same time this exposed our top order batting woes under challenging conditions.They didn't have to chase a big total.Instaed of nicely pacing it out to match the run rate they succumed to an unheard bowler.Thanks to Mathew and Malinga,otherwise the scripture would have written differently.It could have been the repetition of 20-20 world cup encounter.Thanks for those two guys our pride was salvaged.Well done and congrats.

  • Ellis on November 3, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    A very good win by Sri Lanka, but, far too close for comfort. Dilshan, Sangakkara, Silva, gave their wickets away. This game should have been won by four or five wickets. Very commonsense batting by Mathews and Malinga brought them home. Mathews should bat ahead of Silva whose place must be under pressure. Batting positions six, seven snd eight, are a major weakness for Sri Lanka.

    Aussie bowling is average. If Sri Lanka keep their heads, they can come out on top.They are confident now and can ride that wave. However, Australia will come roaring back. Sri Lanka have a series victory in their grasp, but only if they fight hard.

  • Balumekka on November 3, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Absolutely one of the best ODIs ever!!!!!! Sri Lanka seems to be well set for the WC 2011

  • WilliamFranklin on November 3, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    I think the ICC needs to look at whether Australia would be better off in the associate nations now.

  • on November 3, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    Angelo is the Superman! What a guy.. And Malinga looked like a batsman than a tail-ender..

  • indicricket on November 3, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    Way to go Lions. I am a Srilankan today. In fact I am a supported of whichever country that is playing Australia.

  • on November 3, 2010, 13:30 GMT

    yeah This is a remarkable history ever in da world cricket..........

  • laleeshaw on November 3, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    yes that is one famine comeback,australia thought this will be a host and win series before ashes and they even thought that they could hide their losing streak out of this series .wrong sri lankan's showed what they are made of and showed that they have a spine to fight against giants.although sri lankans overall didnt perform well they better do in 2nd and win the series.

  • dylang on November 3, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    great show Sri Lanka, loking forward to seeing the first series win in Australia

  • lananad on November 3, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    Absolutely brilliant and unbeleivable match.Hats off to SriLanka for fighting till the end.keep up the good work guys and win the series 3-0.

  • on November 3, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    This was one of the incredible ODI match we have ever seen, It was nothing than the intention of two young Sri Lankans to give a victorious moment for their mother country, just unbelievable, I never thought that this match was going to win for us,but finally it happened. all the credits to Mathews & Malinga, Thissara also has shown his class. Well done Sri Lankan team,u r one of the strongest contender of the 2011- world cup....

  • on November 3, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    We are the lions!!! we are the champions!!! we make ausis so bad!!,we make ausis so bad!!,and then it goes back and goes back!! We all say we are sri lankans we are the lions we never give up!! Until we become champs!!! Until we become champs!!! Yeah!!!!!! We are so proud of u guys!!!!! Super Cricket!!!

  • SupunSamarakoon on November 3, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Sri Lanka is ready to defeat Australian cricket empire.well done captain. you've always better in australia.

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  • SupunSamarakoon on November 3, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Sri Lanka is ready to defeat Australian cricket empire.well done captain. you've always better in australia.

  • on November 3, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    We are the lions!!! we are the champions!!! we make ausis so bad!!,we make ausis so bad!!,and then it goes back and goes back!! We all say we are sri lankans we are the lions we never give up!! Until we become champs!!! Until we become champs!!! Yeah!!!!!! We are so proud of u guys!!!!! Super Cricket!!!

  • on November 3, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    This was one of the incredible ODI match we have ever seen, It was nothing than the intention of two young Sri Lankans to give a victorious moment for their mother country, just unbelievable, I never thought that this match was going to win for us,but finally it happened. all the credits to Mathews & Malinga, Thissara also has shown his class. Well done Sri Lankan team,u r one of the strongest contender of the 2011- world cup....

  • lananad on November 3, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    Absolutely brilliant and unbeleivable match.Hats off to SriLanka for fighting till the end.keep up the good work guys and win the series 3-0.

  • dylang on November 3, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    great show Sri Lanka, loking forward to seeing the first series win in Australia

  • laleeshaw on November 3, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    yes that is one famine comeback,australia thought this will be a host and win series before ashes and they even thought that they could hide their losing streak out of this series .wrong sri lankan's showed what they are made of and showed that they have a spine to fight against giants.although sri lankans overall didnt perform well they better do in 2nd and win the series.

  • on November 3, 2010, 13:30 GMT

    yeah This is a remarkable history ever in da world cricket..........

  • indicricket on November 3, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    Way to go Lions. I am a Srilankan today. In fact I am a supported of whichever country that is playing Australia.

  • on November 3, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    Angelo is the Superman! What a guy.. And Malinga looked like a batsman than a tail-ender..

  • WilliamFranklin on November 3, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    I think the ICC needs to look at whether Australia would be better off in the associate nations now.