If I were to say I specifically picked this game, I would be lying. All my friends were going, so I just tagged along. Not that I have any complaints with their choice now!
Malinga's hat-trick. They've become regular now, Malinga's hat-tricks. The crowds were always behind him, and when he was bowling you knew something was bound to happen. He didn't disappoint. Everyone went absolutely bonkers when Xavier Doherty was bowled.
After Malinga's masterclass restricted Australia, the much-maligned Chamara Silva came in with the game precariously poised and whisked it away from the Aussies. A real rollercoaster for the crowd, that innings. There were plenty of boundaries as well as chances. Silva got a large round of applause after his half-century and gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "It's not how you drive, it's how you arrive."
Silva's sweep. It was his undoing in the end, but he connected sweetly more often than not. The pick of the lot was his perfectly timed six off Doherty.
During the mid-innings rain break, while the ground was still being readied for play to resume, some of the ground staff took to practising bowling outside the ropes. Every misfield was loudly booed by the crowd, and there was much ooh-ing and aah-ing whenever a ball was delivered.
The rain spoilt the game somewhat - the crowds had to run for cover and lost a bit of their enthusiasm, and the Sri Lankan innings lost some of its momentum. After the resumption of play, Sri Lanka pretty much crawled to the target.
There were optimists galore after the confidence-inspiring performance in the fourth ODI. One of the banners read "Sri Lanka please bat 50 overs". Another appealed to the crowd: "Someone please tell me something to write".
Sri Lanka may have lost the series but this match was there for the winning, and everyone came ready for the party. The stands weren't packed, but those who came certainly got their money's worth. There were Mexican waves aplenty, though the noise levels didn't really reach deafening proportions. As always, there was plenty of music and dance right throughout the match. Chants of "Awwa paayala, awwa paayala" (The sun is shining, the sun is shining), rang from the crowds during the brief periods when the sun made an appearances on a rather overcast day.
I took a couple of musical/noisy (depends on how hard of hearing one is) instruments along. One of my friends brought along a deck of cards, just in case Sri Lanka repeated their performance from the fourth game and we were left with spare time.
8 out of 10. Malinga and the rest of the Sri Lankan bowling line-up and Chamara Silva (can't believe I'm saying this!) accounted for a large part of the marks.
I've seen better turnouts at the Premadasa, but the atmosphere was still pretty good. Though Sri Lanka could perhaps have chased down the total a bit quicker, it was still a great game, and it'll surely go down in the history books due to Malinga's umpteenth hat-trick.
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