Perera and Jeevan Mendis set up Sri Lankan win
Sri Lanka A 198 for 5 (Mendis 81*, Kulasekara 44*) beat Australia A 197 for 9 (Birt 54, Doherty 37, Perera 5-37) by five wickets
Jeevan Mendis and Thissara Perera combined to hand Sri Lanka A their first win on the tour of Australia. Perera bagged five wickets to help limit Australia to 197, and Mendis' unbeaten 81 overcame an early Sri Lankan wobble to steer them home with 14 balls to spare.
Australia opted to bat, and began soundly before they were pegged back. Perera and offspinner Sachithra Senanayake did the early damage to leave Australia tottering at 66 for 5. But Travis Birt, who fought hard with 54, batted well with the lower order to take his team past three figures. Moises Henriques and Xavier Doherty chipped in with cameos to leave themselves with a score that was competitive.
And competitive it proved, as the Sri Lankan top three were inside the dressing-room within the first ten overs. But Mendis then stepped in, forging a recovery with captain Chamara Kapugedera in a stand of 63, and added an unbeaten 96 with Kosala Kulasekara who supported him in a match-winning partnership. Mendis' 81, which comprised five fours, gave Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the three-match 50-over series after a spate of losses on the tour.
"We expected that Sri Lanka would be stronger in the one-day format, it suits their game a little better but I know we were close, just a little bit short with the bat today," Australia A captain Bailey said. "The wicket didn't play as we expected it would, but Travis Birt and Xavier Doherty batted pretty well towards the end and we had some nice little partnerships. We were probably 30 or 40 short because I think 230 or 240 would have been pretty defendable."
Bailey was happy with the way his bowlers went about defending a smallish target. "The way our bowlers bowled was good, they stuck at it all day and kept trying different things and that was really pleasing the way we fought it out," Bailey said. "For it to take them 48 overs to get the runs was a good effort by us."