Australia Claim Series As Sri Lanka Suffer Record Defeat
Australia 133-5 (Marsh 70) beat
Sri Lanka 132 (Jayawardene 53) by five wickets
Fourth One-Day International, Colombo
Australia survived a late scare to win the fourth One-Day International against Sri Lanka by five wickets in Colombo, winning the game with 132 balls to spare.
That came despite debutant leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna taking three wickets in four balls with Australia in sight of the line chasing just 133.
They had earlier dismissed the hosts for 132 as Brett Lee and Xavier Doherty collected four wickets apiece before they moved into an unassailable 3-1 series lead with Shaun Marsh top scorignscoring with 70.
Sri Lanka made a poor start, losing openers Upul Tharanga for eight and Tillakaratne Dilshan for 12 to Lee and Doug Bollinger respectively and although Mahela Jayawardene stood firm in making 53, the batting crumbled with Lee, who returned four for 15, and Doherty, who picked up four for 28, in top form.
Chamara Silva, Prasanna and Lasith Malinga all failed to score as Kumar Sangakkara (31) was the only other player to reach double figures.
Australia also lost wickets early when Shane Watson was caught by Ajantha Mendis off Malinga for 12 and Prasanna caught Ponting off the same bowler without scoring.
Marsh then stroked 70 from 80 balls and in partnership with Michael Clarke, who was unbeaten on 38, took Australia to the brink of victory.
There was still time for a final twist as Prasanna had Sangakkara and Michael Hussey well caught by wicket-keeper Sangakkara in consecutive deliveries and then bowled David Hussey for a two-bal duck as Australia slipped from 123 for two to 123 for five.
Prasanna returned a three-wicket maiden - bettering Malinga's effort of a double-wicket maiden earlier in the game.
However, Clarke and Brad Haddin (4 not out) saw them home to hand Sri Lanka their biggest ever defeat in terms of balls remaining.
The fifth and final game, also in Colombo, is on 22nd August.
© Cricket World 2011