Match reports

Sri Lanka v Australia

Australia in Sri Lanka, 2003-04

Paul Coupar
At Dambulla, February 22, 2004. Sri Lanka won by one run. Toss: Sri Lanka.
Vaas called this thrilling, uplifting one-day international the best of the 230 he had played. With just under ten overs left, it was on a knife-edge. On a tricky re-used pitch, Australia needed 56; the fourth wicket had just gone, but Symonds, capable of settling things in a few blows, looked ominous on ten. The pressure made what happened next the more remarkable. Symonds bottom edged Dharmasena into his pad and umpire Manuel gave him lbw, but was quickly gripped by doubt. Tentatively, he suggested a recall, a decision he insisted was unconnected with non-striker Gilchrist's glove-hurling dissent. Despite a capacity crowd demanding a series-levelling win, the Sri Lankan captain, Atapattu, called Symonds back. His sportsmanship looked costly: Symonds edged Australia towards victory and they needed eight from the last over. But Vaas confounded Bevan's nous and Symonds's brawn with six pinpoint yorkers, and they finished two short. Sri Lanka should have been out of sight. From 121 without loss after 21 overs, they barely doubled their score, as overambitious batting handed five cheap wickets to Clarke and his occasional leftarmers. In reply, Hayden and Ponting added 148 against Sri Lanka's six spinners.
Man of the Match: W. P. U. J. C. Vaas.

Paul Coupar is assistant editor of The Wisden Cricketer