Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Sri Lanka batting top order storms to victory to level ODI series
Sri Lanka 2 /274 (44.2 ov, Dilshan 106, Jayawardene 80, Sangakkara 51*) beat Australia 6 for 271 (50 ov, Clarke 117, Warner 100, Malinga 3/40) by 8 wickets with 34 balls in hand: ODI final #2 at Adelaide Oval.
Series level 1-1 with one match to play.
In ideal (mid 20s, a little cloud) conditions in Adelaide Michael Clarke 117/91b (4x6, 5x4) and David Warner 100/140b (1x6, 4x4) added 184 for the third wicket which allowed Australia to reach a healthy looking 6/271. But then Tillekeratne Dilshan 106/119b (10x4) and Mahela Jayawardene 80/76b (1x6, 8x4) put Sri Lanka well on the way to victory with an opening partnership on 179 from 27.1 overs.
Clarke's innings was the most accomplished of the high four, the more so as it was amassed under the physical handicaps of a bad back and a dodgy hamstring. Warner, in doubt before the match, batted for the most part in relatively restrained mode: in hindsight he'd have done better to give more elbow room to the middle order hitters.
Australia bowled untidily- the influence of the bowling coach was hard to discern - especially in the first three overs from which 30 runs (many of them extras) were taken and a catch behind disallowed because the bowler had overstepped the line.
While the fielding was better than Sri Lanka's (who spilled several catches) it couldn't compensate for some wayward length and direction and, above all, a lot of daring (and some fortunate) strokeplay.
So a third final is necessary to decide the tournament. Sri Lanka will start favourite, especially as Clarke is likely to miss the match (and perhaps others). Australia's bowlers could learn a thing or two from Lasith Malinga 10-1-40-3, who bowled a great spell at the death, and Dilshan, who opened the bowling as well as the batting.