ADELAIDE, Australia, March 6 – Sri Lanka blazed to an emphatic eight wicket victory over Australia at the Adelaide Oval Tuesday to take the tri one-day international series to a decider.
The World Cup finalists easily ran down Australia’s 271 for six to post 274 for two with 34 balls to spare.
Man-of-the-match Tillakaratne Dilshan smashed 106 off 119 balls and skipper Mahela Jayawardene hit 80 off 76 balls to give Sri Lanka a flying start.
Their opening stand of 179 off just 165 balls set the platform for victory.
Kumar Sangakkara hit the winning runs to remain 51 not out with Dinesh Chandimal on 17.
“No one gave us a chance when we came to Australia, we’ve done a lot of hard work, we just need to do that on Thursday, execute our game plan,” Jayawardene said.
Jayawardene was fined 10 percent of his match fee for clashing with umpires after Australian counterpart Michael Clarke, while batting, appealed to umpires for a waist-high no-ball ruling, which was subsequently granted.
“I was probably the culprit in dragging it for too long,” Jayawardene said.
“I thought initially the umpire didn’t make a call … I had no issue with the no-ball, but I felt after Michael had spoken to them, that is when they made the call.”
It was Sri Lanka’s fourth win over Australia in the tri-series and gives them all the momentum heading into Thursday’s decider.
Jayawardene had an early let-off when he was caught behind off a Clint McKay no ball while Dilshan was given not out on 77 with television replays showing him edging to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade from Shane Watson’s bowling.
“If the ball is there I’m going to hit it. We’ve shown how good we are,” Dilshan said
Australia have an injury concern ahead of the third final with skipper Clarke.
“I have done something to my left hamstring, I don’t know to what extent,” he said.
“But it’s obviously not feeling good at the moment, that is for sure.”
Clarke limped through the latter stages of his resolute innings of 117 from 91 balls and fielded until the 38th over of the Sri Lankan run chase before leaving the ground for treatment.
He has a history of back-related hamstring injuries and only returned to the tri-series from a right hamstring strain last Sunday.
“Our bowling was poor, our fielding let us down,” Clarke said. “On good wickets you need to maximise your powerplays, you need to make 300 on that wicket.
“The boys are working hard, we are just not executing against quality opposition. We’ve got to find a way.”
Warner reeled off his second consecutive century with 100 off 140 balls to set Sri Lanka what in the end proved a below-par target to level the series.
Sri Lanka did not help their chances, with sloppy outfielding and five dropped catches as Clarke and Warner shared in a 184-run stand for the third wicket after Wade (14) and Watson (15) fell cheaply.
Clarke smashed four sixes and five fours in his blazing century, while Warner, passed fit before the match from a groin strain, backed up his 163 in Brisbane with another ODI ton.
Warner played more conservatively, with four fours and a six in his 100.
Clarke received three let-offs from the Sri Lankan fielders.
The most notable was on 77 when Lasith Malinga spilt a chance on the deep square leg boundary with the ball flicking out of his fingers over the ropes for six.
Clarke thrived from his let-off to smash Farveez Maharoof for 23 runs off the 44th over clubbing six, four, six and four from successive deliveries.
The run flurry enabled Clarke to beat Warner to a century and the Australian captain hobbled from the field when run out by Rangana Herath after being unable to push his running between wickets in the latter stages of his knock.
Malinga, who also finished the innings in discomfort, finished with three for 40 off 10 overs.