Australia 247-5 (Hughes 138no) beat
Sri Lanka 215 (Doherty 3-21) by 32 runs
Fifth One-Day International, Hobart
Report by Daniel Grummitt
A second ODI century from Phil Hughes earnt Australia a share of the five-match series against Sri Lanka. After Hughes’ century had led them to a respectable 247 for five, Xavier Doherty and Moises Henriques each took three wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 215 in reply.
Angelo Mathews did his best, hitting 67 after a top-order collapse had seen four wickets fall for 20 - three of them to Doherty - but he was seventh man out with the score on 187 to signal the end of Sri Lanka’s challenge.
The visitors may feel hard done to after the controversial abandonment at the SCG, but Australia, through Hughes, coped admirably with the loss of their captain Michael Clarke with a sprained ankle prior to today’s match.
The loss of both openers inside the first 10 overs hinted at possible difficulties to come, but Hughes found support from stand-in skipper George Bailey and David Hussey and led the Australian rebuild. Bailey and Hughes took more than 16 overs over their third-wicket stand of 60, but it was an important one nonetheless in view of Australia’s weakened middle-order. Hussey then joined Hughes and the pair added 98, with Hughes completing his century from 132 deliveries.
As Hughes pressed on towards the end, his partners began to fall by the wayside, with Hussey inexplicably run-out, attempting a run after hitting the ball straight back to the bowler, and Glenn Maxwell skying one to extra cover when on nine.
Sri Lanka’s star bowlers from the series thus far, Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga, endured more average days, with the former returning figures of one for 57 and the latter one for 49. Neither were able to find the prodigious swing of previous matches and it was left to Sri Lanka’s spinners to lead the attack. Rangana Herath bowled his 10 overs at a cost of 34 runs, with Tillakaratne Dilshan getting through seven for 22.
Sri Lanka began their run chase brightly with Mahela Jayawardene looking particularly fluent. However, he got a thick edge to mid-on after aiming a straight drive and a mini-collapse followed. Lahiru Thirimanne struggled to one before his stay was ended as he attempted to break the shackles, while Dilshan was unusually subdued and took 48 balls over 19. Dinesh Chandimal was the fourth to go, missing a straight one from Doherty.
It was then over to Mathews to mount Sri Lanka’s resistance. Kushal Perera kept him company for a while and then Jeevan Mendis, but both fell and so did Mathews to hand Australia the win. Perhaps the surprising star of their bowling performance was Henriques, who picked up three important wickets with his brisk medium-pace and conceded only 32 runs from his 10-over spell.
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