Australia 231 (Clarke 57) beat
Sri Lanka 226 (Mathews 64) by 5 runs
CB Series One-Day International, Perth
Australia made it two wins out of two in the Commonwealth Bank One-Day International series by holding off a late charge to beat Sri Lanka by five runs in Perth.
They had looked to be in control after reducing Sri Lanka to 180 for nine having themselves been dismissed for 231 only to almost fall prey to an ambush led by Angelo Mathews and Dammika Prasad.
With Sri Lanka needing six to win from two balls, Mathews fell to the penultimate ball available to the tourists when he was caught attempting to score a boundary off Mitchell Starc.
He had made 64 in 76 balls and Prasad played his part with 15 not out in 11 deliveries as Sri Lanka almost engineered a remarkable comeback.
Starc emerged as Australia's hero having delivered an excellent early spell and then grabbing the key wicket of Mathews to return figures of two for 50.
Excellent bowling and work in the field from Sri Lanka had earlier bowled Australia out in 49.1 overs as frontline bowlers Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Mathews, Prasad and Sachithra Senanayake all took two wickets.
David Warner blasted 34 in 29 balls and Michael scored a patient 57 in 88 balls to underpin Australia's score. Brothers Michael and David Hussey made 23 and 27 respectively and innings of 33 from Christian and 25 from Clint McKay were well-timed for the home side.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost Upul Tharanga (5) early to Starc before Tillakaratne Dilshan (40), Kumar Sangakkara (22) and Dinesh Chandimal (37) helped them recover.
Australia hit back through Ryan Harris, Clarke, Christian and Xavier Doherty as well as the run out of Sangakkara by McKay and when Mathews came to the crease, his side were in trouble at 119 for five.
Chandimal fell soon afterwards and Mathews was running out of partners as Kulasekara (8), Senanayaka (9) and Malinga (1) fell cheaply.
He finally found an ally in Prasad, and the all-rounder hit four fours and a six during a fine innings as he showed resolve under pressure but eventually, he was to end up on the losing side.
On another day, he might well have despatched the length ball served up by Starc past or over the boundary but instead he skied it and was caught by Christian at long on.
The series continues with Australia playing India in Adelaide on 12th February.
© Cricket World 2012