Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Sydney February 17, 2012

Resurgent Sri Lanka seal thumping win


Sri Lanka 152 for 2 (Jayawardene 61*, Dilshan 45) beat Australia 158 (David Hussey 58, Maharoof 2-18, Perera 2-29) by eight wickets according to D-L method
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A rejuvenated Sri Lanka excelled with the ball and in the field to cut down Australia's batting and then raced impudently to their rain-reduced target for an eight-wicket victory and a bonus point in a lopsided encounter at the SCG.

Despite the best efforts of David Hussey, the hosts were rumbled out for 158, their lowest at the ground since 1997 and fourth-lowest in all ODIs in Sydney, in a match reduced to 41 overs-per-side by a two-hour rain delay that took place when Australia were a punch-drunk 6 for 88. Tillakaratne Dilshan and the captain Mahela Jayawardene then removed all doubt about the contest with a stand of 74 inside 12 overs.

Jayawardene was still there when the winning runs were collected with 16.5 overs to spare, surprising a crowd of 22,365 and pushing Sri Lanka back into finals contention with seven points after four matches. India lead the table on 10, while a suddenly wobbly Australia have nine.

It was an unhappy return to captaincy for Ricky Ponting, who could rouse neither himself from an ODI batting slumber nor his team from the flat patch they have slipped into following a successful Test summer. Ponting is likely to still have the job on Sunday against India at the Gabba as Michael Clarke struggles to recover from a hamstring strain. The hosts' batting was inattentive and wasteful in the afternoon, and there was precious little spark with the ball or in the field, thus maintaining the unsettling form line begun in Adelaide on Sunday.

Farveez Maharoof bowled intelligently for the visitors on his recall to the team, while Lasith Malinga struck a key early blow by defeating David Warner with a slower ball. Thisara Perera engineered two run-outs and claimed two wickets at the bowling crease, and Angelo Mathews maintained his strong form in this series by accounting for Michael Hussey.

David Hussey was left to salvage something from the innings, though he was fortunate to survive a dropped chance from Malinga at third man when on eight. After the rain cleared he went on to a meritorious 58, maintaining his strongest summer yet for Australia. His efforts ensured some kind of chase for Sri Lanka, a prospect that looked grim at 8 for 104.

Given a chance to add a sixth win from their last eight matches at the ground, Dilshan and Jayawardene wasted little time setting about the target. Jayawardene pinged a perfect off-drive in Mitchell Starc's first over, and Dilshan added a flatly-pulled six in the left-armer's second.

Brett Lee's return to the team after a broken toe was rushed, and Dilshan made him pay for it by cracking a hat-trick of boundaries through the leg side as the bowler dropped short. Dilshan edged Clint McKay to slip when still five short of his half century, but by that point nearly half the target had been swallowed up in quick time and the rest of the runs - including Kumar Sangakkara's 10,000th in ODIs - were collected without fuss.

Ponting was happy to bat first on what looked a pitch for batting, but soon the clouds had closed in on both the ground and the Australian batsmen. Warner struck a pair of crisp boundaries but struggled to read Malinga's changes of pace, and ultimately lobbed a catch to mid-on when trying to get down the pitch.

Maharoof took note of Malinga's craftiness, and used a similar ruse to account for Ponting. Nicely disguised, a slower ball had Ponting too far into the stroke to avoid pushing back a simple return catch, and departing for another slim score this series.

Matthew Wade's demise occurred after Perera swooped from short cover to turn a possible single into a horrid run-out, the wicketkeeper and Peter Forrest both at the same end before Wade elected to sacrifice his wicket. Sri Lanka's alertness in the field had been apparent, it was justly rewarded here.

Michael Hussey struck one six from Mathews but next ball he fenced at a delivery too close to his body for the shot and edged behind. Forrest fiddled at Maharoof's exemplary length and line to offer a catch to slip, and Christian shuffled across to be lbw to Perera. The rain then arrived, leaving Australia in a parlous position.

Two hours of showers swept across the ground, reducing the allotted number of overs. The hosts had only 15 to bat when they resumed, and soon lost another two wickets. McKay was fooled by Rangana Herath's straight ball, then Lee was the victim of another Perera swoop, this time for a direct hit from wide mid-off.

David Hussey was in dire need of any kind of support, and for 49 runs he received it from Starc. Hussey cracked boundaries through point, midwicket and down the ground, but on 33 was again reprieved, this time when Mathews shelled a difficult chance at short cover. Perera ultimately claimed Hussey, and Starc was run out to complete a most unsatisfactory innings for the hosts. Things would only get worse as day gave way to night.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    Brett Lee you are a lip is ok as long you can back it up. Wish it was me in the middle to return the compliments

  • Mark on February 18, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    The SL vs Ind commenters sparring with each other is unfortunately expected. This might be hard for Ind fans to understand. But SL fans do not like Ind fans very much. This is something that goes beyond the cricket field. It is similar to the Pak vs Ind fans. Even though generally India has been good and supportive of Sri lanka cricket. I think the regional politics outside cricket between India and Sri lanka or India and Pakistan for that matter spill over to a sport all three geographically regionally close nations care about. That is cricket. However Indian cricket fans don't help their cause by posting all kinds of comments on cricinfo putting down other teams. So maybe everyone should chill and appreciate the cricket of all countries.

  • Randika on February 18, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    @Sakthiivel: When did Sri Lanka win a series??? Obviously you haven' followed cricket in teh last two decades. How about the Independence trophy of India? Or the 5 Asia cups to start with

  • Dhaval on February 18, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    Guys, if you are talking about the wrong decisions in this series, then personally, I am not with the BCCI on not opting for DRS. I think justice should be brought to the game by the ICC and should employ the same technology everywhere and not only in some parts of the world; and no board should overrule that. Every team has to face wrong decisions and that's where the human element comes in, but it happens, many decisions have been horribly wrong in the past against teams and there is no point fretting over that.

  • Andrew on February 18, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Good job Sri Lanka, Oz seem to be really off the boil.

  • Asintha on February 18, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    @theRule19 I am a Sri Lankan But I Agree with you, Our fans always over confident. Please fellows enjoy the series please do not battle with nations. if some body commenting badly against our country then we should open our voice against them with proof which prove they are wrong. But do not agree with you 1 thing. india lost 1st 2 test because of selection boad because and most of them not youngsters. sachin,dravid, gambir, shewag,VVS,sahir K. Dhoni,all are faild the youngsters who included in to the team was great. ex. V.kholi,U.yadev,ashwin. as per my opinion Sri lanka team curruntly have youngsters than India but they manage to draw matched and win matches in subcon. with that team. during india loose all the test matches the played in subcon. I don't have any issues with Indian team. only I am talking with the fact.

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    well now i can say real battle begins points table is shifting one side to another in just game.....srilanka really making marks they lost but took confidence...australia foh sure gonaa cum back in sunday game ..and if india wants to rule thechart they need a convincing win against yet they failed to prove them selvs worldchamps......... and guys appreciate cricket not specific team and players.

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    Sri Lanka is going to win against india next time,It will be easy to SL in next meeting,after that Tournament will be the exciting battle

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    @theRule19. SL is won because of one off bad for AUS....Btw same applicable IND and AUS as well.Because IND and AUS also won because of bad days in the office for SL isn't it?....How funny. True so far SL won one match only but it could have three if not umpire's blunder (against Gambir given not out and with AUS Chandimal given out wrongly). No wonder why IND does not like DRS.@csowmi7 You are talking about IND's four run outs only then what about SL three run outs at the same match.If not those run outs then target could be more. All in all poor umpiring and bad luck cost SL two matches.

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    Sakthivel, I would also like to see SL vs Ind. final. It should be played at Gabba . I am sure then we would be able to see who thrash who?

  • No featured comments at the moment.