Murali has done it! Malinga is ecstatic. Runs onto the field. Not a great delivery. Sliding down the leg side, and Murali flicks it fine of short fine. Murali exults too. Mathews is cool. He was cool throughout
What a finish. I never thought I would be saying these words, but Australia could have choked here. They last won a game in July. They had the Sri Lankan batsmen playing without using their brains, and had 132 to defend with those last two wickets remaining. Then Sri Lanka took the Powerplay and set the cat among the pigeons. They batted incredibly since then, a mix of slogs, and classical hitting. Mathews's aerial drives, after charging down to fast bowlers, were ones for the albums. Don't forget the contribution from the other half of the Josephian Mafia: Thisara Perera bowled splendidly to take five wickets. He did what the Aussie bowlers didn't do: move the old ball off the straight. And finally, what a week it has been for the good-old 50-over cricket. There is life in the old dog yet. Do read Brydon Coverdale's Bulletin. Until Sydney, then, cheers
Angelo Mathews is MoM He says, "I am still catching my breath All credit must go to Lasith. Batting was so easy then."
Sanga: "Angelo and Lasith were unbelievable. He is the greatest asset we have had over the last year. He can bowl, he can bat, total champion. He is still 21, 22."
Michael Clarke "Tough day in the office. 8 for 107. I honestly don't know how we lost this game. I thought we could have done better with the bat, but from 8 for 107... Having said that, full credit must go to Sri Lanka. Mathews played a fantastic innings, and we just couldnt' stop Malinga. Mohali didn't come to my mind, certainly not. I tried to bowl almost everyone. Steven Smith hurt his back, so couldn't bring him back. In tried everything. Have you any tips?"
Mark Nicholas says, "Bowl yourself more often."
What an image. Murali leaping six feet high in the air, and Watson in the same frame looking to the heavens. Sums up the emotions.
Australia have been blown away here by this partnership. They are stunned. Not sure they quite know what hit them. Malinga can't stop grinning. Out come Sanga, Mahela, the rest of the team. Champaka Ramanayake, too, Malinga's mentor, but with the ball, mind you.
"The way Lasith batted was excellent," says Angelo.
"We were eight down, we knew there was no point hanging around," says Lasith.
"Mitchell was bowling really well, so I kept strike against him," says Angelo.
defended to point. Mathews has the stakes on. Murali keeps his head and sends him back. There was no way there was a run here
Watson to bowl. Everybody saving single
Goes for the big shot, gets an inside edge towards short fine. They decide against the single. Murali will have to face
they are going to take one now, surely?
forward defensive. Doubts in SL minds now
Out comes Murali. Will there be a tie?
twist n the tail? Smith legendarily missed one run-out a few weeks ago, in Mohali, giving away four overthrows. This time, though, he hits the stumps direct, and catches Malinga short of a suicidal run. It was hit straight to him at cover. And they stopped and started too
flat-batted to mid-on, they think of one, don't take it
scores are level, coolly he has forced this shortish delivery past point. Melbourne is like Colombo today. There is blue all ever at the G
tosses this up, teases, Malinga slogs, gets an inside edge, and a single
captain comes. Clarke. One slip waits
shot! Angelo is finishing this off. Hit over wide mid-on. Length ball, gets to front foot and clears the ring easily. Highest ninth-wicket partnership. Ever. Beating Kapil and Kirmani's 126 from WC 1983, when Kapil scored 175
full, stays back, places it wide of mid-on
What. A. Strike. Nerves? What nerves? He is striking it as if playing in a neighbourhood game in Rathgama. Makes room, lofts this length ball over Watson's head. One bounce for four. Less than 10 required now
left alone also now
angled into the pads, worked around the corner comfortably, scrambles back for two. Fifty for Malinga! I dare anybody to wipe that smile off his face in this moment. Sri Lanka flags all around
length ball, pushed down to long-off for one. Mathews doesn't mind exposing Malinga to Watson
to square leg, easily done, not sure if Malinga on strike gives them that much greater a chance for a wicket
Last ball... where is the single coming?
and suddenly he slogs, but it goes along the ground to short midwicket
Are England watching?
Angelooooo! whaddaplayaaaaa! Beautiful shot. Classical inside-out shot upon having charged down the wicket. Except it is against Johnson bowling at 140kmph. What a clean strike, over long-off. Only 16 required
slower ball, around off, Mathews defends off the front foot
fine leg comes up
refuses the single off Johnson. Shades of Laxman there?
inches from getting out. Doherty nearly pulls off another screamer. Hit loopily wide of extra cover. Doherty takes two steps, then dives full length, but it evades him