Feroz Khan/Zeenews Sports
Adelaide: Tillakaratne Dilshan slammed his second century to propel Sri Lanka to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Australia in the second final of the tri-series on Tuesday.
Mahela Jayawardene and Dilshan produced an excellent opening stand of 179 runs laying the foundation for chasing Australian target of 272 runs Adelaide.
With this win Sri Lanka have equalized the series and the winner will be decided on Thursday in the third final at Adelaide.
Smashing start from the Lankans
Dilshan began his innings in style smashing Brett Lee for a boundary off the first ball he faced. Lee’s first over went for 12 runs prompting Michael Clarke to go for a change straightaway and he introduced James Pattinson into the attack. Dilshan continued with the charge hitting collecting two boundaries of his first over though they came off edges. His intent to attack was evident from the ‘Dilscoop’ he attempted twice—once getting hit on the helmet while the other successfully scooped for a boundary.
From thereon, he held back his shots a bit, playing the balls to their merit. On his way to twelfth ODI century, he collected ten boundaries and by the time he was caught at midwicket, he had driven the Lankan innings to a certain win.
It was an ordinary bowling performance from the Australian team as they waited for things to happen rather than creating chances. They were quiet on the field as Dilshan and Jayawardene kept on playing their shots at will.
James Pattinson gave away 22 runs in his first two overs while spinner Xavier Doherty who was brought early ended as being the most expensive of the lot.
The pitch resembling sub-continental conditions suited Lankans the most as they went on the offensive from the word go pushing the opposition on back foot. The Kangaroos failed to recover from the early setback as they were being bludgeoned for runs. In the end, Clarke must have felt that their ploy of attacking in the end, wasting scoring opportunities in the powerplay and going for the late onslaught, was wrong.
Michael Clarke won the toss in the second final as well and elected to bat first. David Warner and Matthew Wade had provided a solid opening start at Gabba to the Australian innings and Clarke would have expected nothing less. His counterpart Mahela Jayawardene had this in mind and decided to open the proceedings with Tillakaratne Dilshan. His decision might have been influenced by the slow nature of the track plus the fact that Dilshan was the most economical bowler for Sri Lanka in the first final at Brisbane where Australian batsmen creamed them for plenty. Dilshan didn’t let him down and even got the wicket of Matthew Wade (14) early in the innings.
Shane Watson was dropped twice in two overs by Dilshan at point and Rangana Herath at long-off. He ran out of his luck by the time Farveez Maharoof hit directly at the stumps to catch him short of his crease departing at 15. A slow start topped by the fall of two wickets early was a bit edgy for the Australian team. An assurance in David Warner was still in account and with Michael Clarke joining him began the waiting game.
Warner and Clarke to the fore
The duo collected runs in singles and doubles and it was not before facing 36 deliveries that Clarke scored his first boundary of the innings. Meanwhile, Warner was in a different mood as he scored two boundaries and a solitary six while moving to his fifty. His next fifty came off exactly in the same number of deliveries (69) with two more boundaries to his name. By scoring a consecutive century on Tuesday, Warner became eighth Australian to do so and the first cricketer ever to achieve the feat in best of three finals.
His innings (100) included 63 singles (his previous knock included 56 singles) and amply showed his intent at staying on the crease and rotating strike. It was a measured knock in a stark contrast to what his skipper was conjuring at the other end.
Michael Clarke was playing steadily till he reached his own fifty but upped the ante soon after, the highlight of the innings being the 44th over bowled by Farveez Maharoof that went for 22 runs.
He completed his seventh ODI century stretching it to 117 runs before getting run out hobbling to reach the other end after being dropped on the previous delivery.
Clarke and Warner added 184 runs for the third wicket and their individual innings contributed largely to the final total.
Fielding has been Sri Lanka’s strength right through the series, but they were sloppy in the second final. They dropped as many as four catches. Besides, the bowling that could be best described as inconsistent let Australian batsmen off the hook after making some early inroads.
Lasith Malinga was their best bowler, bowling a tight spell and deservedly got three wickets, two of which came of his typical yorkers.
Australians increased the pace of scoring in the death overs and raised hopes of a total close to 290 runs but the Lankans pulled things back restricting them to a gettable 271.
Revenge for Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene lost his cool in the 44th over of the Australian innings when the umpires gave a late no-ball signal. A high full toss from Farveez Maharoof was clobbered for a boundary by Clarke; umpire adjudged it a no-ball for the height but after a considerable time had passed. Mahela got into an animated discussion with the umpires and looked infuriated.
However, he channeled his anger in a different manner hammering Australian bowlers for plenty. His innings could have come to an early end when he edged Clint Mckay to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. The umpire, however, asked him to stay to check for a no-ball. To Mahela’s relief and Mckay’s dismay, replayed clearly showed his foot in front of the bowling line.
Tuesday’s result has increased the expectations from the third final and hopefully the match might see an improved attendance.