Jayasuriya sets up 51-run win for Sri Lanka
Australia suffocated under a massive total set up by Sanath Jayasuriya's century-making return from a shoulder injury as Sri Lanka sealed their second win of the VB Series. Jayasuriya's brilliant 114 from 96 balls bounced the tourists to a massive 7 for 309 and while Australia felt in touch on a couple of occasions they were unable to conquer the unusual situation and lost by 51 runs.
Trying a strange line-up that omitted the in-form Phil Jaques and Glenn McGrath, Australia were punished for their experiments as their back-up seamers were thrashed and the opening batsmen missed their chances to push for longer stints in the current roles. Sri Lanka carried the vibe of their wonderful batting performance into the field and Australia suffered a poor start - the required run-rate was already above seven at 3 for 41 in the 13th over - to place too much pressure on the rest of the order.
Michael Clarke spent ten balls on zero before making a useful 67 and when he was partnered by Andrew Symonds, who crashed 31 in 32 balls, Australia were hopeful, but as Symonds departed to a horrible mix-up at 6 for 184 the cause was downgraded to hopeless. Sri Lanka, the world's No. 7 team after a poor run in New Zealand and India, have beaten both of their top-two rivals in the past week and this success was due to the clever changes of pace from their seamers, the spinning problems created by Malinga Bandara, who captured 4 for 58, and Jayasuriya's inimitable strokeplay.
"Everything is falling in place and everyone wants to keep going the way they are going," Marvan Atapattu said. "It's all about winning habits. There was a time when we couldn't chase 225, but everything falls into place when you're winning."
Jayasuriya left the one-day tour of New Zealand earlier this month after falling in the shower and hurting his shoulder, but he showed no signs of discomfort - or slipping - as he flayed his third century at the SCG. Arriving in Sydney on Friday, Jayasuriya shook off the jetlag with a 39-ball fifty and his hundred arrived 46 deliveries later to give his side a stunning start against the world champions.
In a 163-run partnership with Kumar Sangakkara, whose sweet 78 from 95 was delicious support, Jayasuriya lifted a sleepy start with a burst of fierce boundaries once Nathan Bracken and Brett Lee finished their opening spells. Brett Dorey was thrashed for 34 off four overs and quickly Supersubbed while James Hopes went for 36 from three, including 19 from his first, as Sri Lanka reached 100 in the 16th over.
The onslaught forced Ricky Ponting, who refused to delay the Powerplays, to bring back both Lee and Bracken, who collected 2 for 40 from nine, to stop the demolition and he spent the remainder of the innings constantly reshuffling. The changes didn't worry Jayasuriya and he continued to trouble Australia until he started to cramp.
Jayasuriya's boundary blasting - he hit ten fours and four sixes - ended when he played a weary shot and was stumped off Brad Hogg at 2 for 187. Sri Lanka used the platform extremely well and careered past the 300-mark thanks to Mahela Jayawardene's 56 off 48 balls and a late 31 from Marvan Atapattu.
Ponting also adjusted his batting line-up after the early problems and Brad Haddin was employed at No. 5, pushing Symonds and Michael Hussey back to seven and eight. Haddin was the most comfortable of Australia's batsmen until he was bowled between his legs by Muralitharan's doosra for 41, but the gamble stole time from his senior and regular team-mates.
Haddin makes way for Adam Gilchrist this week after a two-game stint and there will be further questions over the make-up of the opening pair following Jaques's 94 in Melbourne on Friday and the failures of Damien Martyn and Simon Katich. Ponting worried about his batting order after the previous match and his concerns remained tonight.
Under severe run-making pressure, Australia could not find regular fluency and needed James Hopes (43) and Brad Hogg (22 not out) to prevent a Sri Lankan bonus point. What they really wanted for such a big chase was an in-form Jayasuriya.
Damien Martyn c Kulasekara b Vaas 8 (1 for 16)
Top-edged pull to fine leg
Ricky Ponting c Muralitharan b Perera 13 (2 for 26)
Great jumping catch at mid-on, which he secured on second grab
Simon Katich c Mubarak b Perera 13 (3 for 41)
Running take just inside the boundary at square leg
Brad Haddin b Muralitharan 41 (4 for 110)
Doosra slipped between his legs and hit leg stump
Michael Hussey run out 0 (5 for 111)
Direct hit by Vass as Hussey chases a second
Andrew Symonds run out 31 (6 for 184)
Clarke cut to point and ran; Symonds said no and was easily beaten by Dilshan's underarm
Michael Clarke c Muralitharan b Bandara 67 (7 for 188)
Drove straight to deep mid-off
Brett Lee c Dilshan b Bandara 3 (8 for 197)
Mishit drive to cover
James Hopes c Vaas b Bandara 43 (9 for 257)
Holed out in final over to deep midwicket
Nathan Bracken c Atapattu b Bandara 0 (258)
Slogged last ball to midwicket
Jehan Mubarak c Haddin b Lee 2 (1 for 24)
Slow on hook shot and brushed the glove
Sanath Jayarsuriya st Haddin b Hogg 114 (2 for 187)
Missed a tired push to legside
Kumar Sangakkara c&b Symonds 78 (3 for 227)
Leading edge trying to play to leg
Mahela Jayawardene b Bracken 56 (4 for 280)
Slogged a full ball
Tillakaratne Dilshan c&b Clarke 6 (5 for 289)
Pushed down the pitch to hit easy catch
Russel Arnold run out 6 (6 for 297)
Direct hit by Ponting from midwicket
Chaminda Vaas c Hussey b Bracken 2 (7 for 309)
Easy take at deep square leg
Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo