Australia beats Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in 3rd ODI

Brisbane: Australia snapped a run of seven straight losses in all forms of cricket when it beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the third and final limited-overs international on Sunday.

Sri Lanka claimed the series 2-1 after winning the first match in Melbourne by one wicket and the second in Sydney by 29 runs.

Young fast bowlers Clint McKay and Mitchell Starc shared nine wickets as Australia dismissed Sri Lanka for 115 in 32 overs after Kumar Sangakkara won the toss elected to bat. McKay took 5-33 and Starc 4-27.

Michael Clarke made an unbeaten 50 and Brad Haddin had 31 to steer Australia to 119-2 in 21.3 overs.

Australia’s first win of the domestic summer went a long way to repairing its damaged confidence on the ground on which it will open its Ashes test series against England in 18 days.

McKay and Starc added a note of aggression which has been absent from Australia’s bowling in recent matches and Clarke and Haddin were both confident and clinical in their pursuit of a modest target.

McKay was named man of the match for his career-best bowling figures and Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga was man of the series.

Australia at last re-discovered its ability to dominate other teams, a quality notably missing on its recent tour to India and in the first two matches of this series.

McKay and Starc relished a pitch at the Gabba ground which was faster and bouncier than those on which the first two matches were played. Both used the pace of the wicket and a steepling bounce to disconcert, then dismiss Sri Lanka’s batsman.

Upul Tharanga with 28 and Chamara Silva with 33 were the only Sri Lankan batsmen to reach double figures.

McKay first cracked open the tourists’ top order, dismissing opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for 1 in the third over before removing both Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene for ducks.

The tall Starc then used his sharp pace to remove Angelo Mathews for 9, Jeevan Mendis for 5 and Silva for 33, bowling both Silva and Mathews with accurate, full-pitched deliveries.

McKay returned in his second spell to dimiss Thissara Perera for 3 and Surav Ranjiv for 7 before Starc wrapped up the innings, removing Malinga for 2.

Shane Watson trapped Tharanga lbw for 28 to capture the only other Sri Lankan wicket.

Starc joined the Australian team Sunday in place of Peter Siddle in one of three changes to the lineup that lost in Sydney two days ago. Captain Ricky Ponting was again rested, handing the leadership to Clarke and a starting place to Callum Ferguson while Xavier Doherty replaced spin bowler Nathan Hauritz.

Sri Lanka made two changes to its lineup from Sydney, naming Mendis for Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando for Nuwan Kulasekara.

Bureau Report