Sri Lanka overcome nerves to take lead against Australia in ODI series

Mahela Jayawardene fell for one during Sri Lanka’s chase at the Gabba © Getty Images

Brisbane: Jan 18, 2013

Sri Lanka overcame nervousness to beat Australia by four wickets in the third ODI at Brisbane, and take a 2-1 lead against the hosts in the five-match series on Friday.

Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga ripped apart the Australian batting line-up as an inspired Sri Lanka shot out the hosts for a paltry 74 in 26.4 overs, and chased down the target in 20 overs but not before losing more than half of their side.

Kushal Perera remained unbeaten on 22 off 28 balls and Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 22 off 33 to lead Sri Lanka’s reply.

Mitchell Johnson led Australia’s pace attack with the figures of 3-0-11-3, while Mitchell Starc, who earlier contributed with the bat, bagged 2/25 off his seven overs.

The first innings total of 74 is Australia’s lowest total in ODI cricket against the island nation and their second lowest overall.

Australia, who elected to bat after winning the toss, suffered a batting collapse and were bowled out for 74 in just 26.4 overs.

Kulasekara claimed five wickets for 22 runs from his 10 overs, while Malinga bagged three for 14 off his seven overs.

Australia, who went into the game with their full-strength side including opener David Warner, captain Michael Clarke and Matthew Wade, suffered a collapse as none of their batsmen could manage to hold fort against a rampaging Lankan bowling attack.

Mitchell Starc was Australia’s top run-scorer in the innings, scoring 22 not out off 28 balls, including two hits to the fence, during his stay.

Starc added 34 runs with Xavier Doherty for the 10th wicket, which was the highest partnership for the hosts in the match.

Left-handed opener Phil Hughes, who scored an impressive century on his ODI debut in the first match, failed once again after a poor outing in the second ODI at Adelaide, being dismissed for three.

Australia’s middle order comprising David Hussey, George Bailey and Wade could not provide any resistance and fell for four, a duck and eight, respectively.

While Kulasekara ran through the Australian batting order, accounting for Hughes, Clarke, Hussey, Bailey and Moises Henriques, the pressure was equally maintained from the other end by Malinga, who claimed the wickets of Wade, Mitchell Johnson and Clint McKay. 

Early on, Angelo Mathews sparked Australia’s collapse at the Gabba, dismissing Warner for four, caught by Shaminda Eranga.

Australia’s lowest ODI total is 70 against New Zealand at Adelaide in 1986.

Brief Scores: Australia 74 all-out in 26.4 overs (Mitchell Starc 22*, Xavier Doherty 15; Nuwan Kulasekara 5 for 22, Lasith Malinga 3 for 14) lost to Sri Lanka 75 for 6 in 20 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 22, Kushal Perera 22*; Mitchell Johnson 3 for 11, Mitchell Starc 2 for 25) by 4 wickets.

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