Sri Lanka Hold Nerve To Beat Australia

Sri Lanka Hold Nerve To Beat Australia
Sri Lanka Hold Nerve To Beat Australia
©REUTERS/Tim Wimborne. Picture Supplied by Action Images

Sri Lanka 283-7 (Jayawardene 85) beat
Australia 280-6 (Forrest 104) by 3 wickets
Ninth CB Series Match, Hobart

Sri Lanka moved to the top of the Commonwealth Bank Series points table with a tense three-wicket win over Australia in Hobart. Mahela Jayawardene laid the foundations for a successful Sri Lankan run chase with an innings of 85, while Dinesh Chandimal added 80, before Thisara Perera’s unbeaten 21 saw them home in the final over.

Australia had begun the day by winning the toss and electing to bat, but they got off to a disastrous start, losing both openers inside the first powerplay, before Peter Forrest and Michael Clarke turned things around. The two combined for a third-wicket partnership of 154, with Clarke eventually falling for 72 from 79 balls as the first of Angelo Mathews’ two wickets.

Forrest followed a little while later, but not before he had completed his maiden century, for 104 from 138 balls to ensure that Australia did not miss the discarded Ricky Ponting. David Hussey added a late cameo of 40 not out from only 28 balls as the home side finished strongly on 280 for six.

Sri Lanka got off to a brisk start as Jayawardene dominated an opening stand of 50 with Tillakaratne Dilshan - who contributed just three prior to being the first man to go - before he eventually fell to Xavier Doherty for 85 from 81 balls. Chandimal then took up the baton, adding 49 with Lahiru Thirimanne (24 from 34 balls) for the fourth wicket and 41 with Angelo Mathews (24 from 31) for the fifth.

The late wicket of Mathews in the penultimate over of the innings with 14 still needed threatened to throw a spanner in Sri Lanka’s works, but Perera kept a cool head, hitting three boundaries on his way to an apparently carefree unbeaten 21 from 11 balls.

The win represented Sri Lanka’s second highest successful run chase in Australia and their third consecutive victory in this tournament, meaning that a guaranteed final berth is now just one more win away.

© Cricket World 2012