Australia Go 1-0 Up Over Sri Lanka In Brisbane
Australia 321-6 (Warner 163) beat
Sri Lanka 306 (Kulasekara 73) by 15 runs
Commonwealth Bank Series, Brisbane
Australia held off hard-charging Sri Lanka to win the first Commonwealth Bank Series final by 15 runs in Brisbane to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match contest.
An outstanding century from David Warner set up Australia's score of 321 for six but half-centuries from Upul Tharanga and Nuwan Kulasekara pushed the home side all the way before Sri Lanka were all out for 306.
Warner hit a ground-record score of 163 off 157 balls on a day where bowlers struggled to make much impact, although Shane Watson was superb, returning figures of three for 33 and conceding just three runs from his final eight balls as the match went down to the wire.
Sri Lanka needed 16 to win from the final over but fell short when Lasith Malinga was caught by Michael Hussey off Watson, leaving Dammika Prasad unbeaten at the other end on 31 from 21 balls.
Tharanga, who scored 60 in 67 balls, along with Kulasekara, who blasted 73 in just 43 balls, kept the game alive as the pair put on 104 for the eighth wicket with some powerful hitting.
Brett Lee had put Sri Lanka under early pressure with the wickets of Mahela Jayawardene (14), Tillakaratne Dilshan (27) and Kumar Sangakkara (42) before David Hussey (4-43) and Watson ripped out the middle order.
Hussey's off spin accounted for Dinesh Chandimal (14), Lahiru Thirimanne (14), Farveez Maharoof (8) and finally Kulasekara, who hit seven fours and three sixes.
Watson removed the dangerous Tharanga and held his nerve to have Rangana Herath caught by Xavier Doherty in the 48th over and then saw off Malinga with four balls of the game to spare.
Lee's early burst earned him figures of three for 59 from nine overs.
Earlier, Warner smashed 13 fours and two sixes as Australia's batsmen plundered runs. Opening partner Matthew Wade scored 64 in 72 balls, largely keeping pace with Warner during an opening stand of 136.
Prasad struck twice to remove Daniel Christian (10) and finally Warner from the final ball of the innings but quickfire innings of 21 from Shane Watson and 37 from Michael Clarke handed Australia the initiative.
Hammered early on, Sri Lanka's bowlers fought back through their spinners. Dilshan conceded just 35 runs from nine overs and Herath took one for 36 but Warner's stunning effort had nevertheless given Australia enough runs to win.
The second final is in Adelaide on Tuesday 7th March.
© Cricket World 2012