Sri Lanka’s bowlers backed up Mahela Jayawardene’s decision to send Australia into bat by dismissing the home team for a modest 231 in the deciding match of the tri—series on Thursday. Rangana Herath and allrounder Farveez Maharoof each took three wickets to help bowl out the Australians, missing injured skipper Michael Clarke, in 49.3 overs.
Sri Lanka, which won by eight wickets when chasing a higher total here on Tuesday to level the series, is in a strong position to beat Australia for the fifth time in six matches. Openers Matthew Wade (49) and David Warner (48) were the top scorers in an Australian innings that never really gathered momentum.
The Australians lost three wickets for eight runs in four overs during a lull from the 20th over. That included the run out of acting captain Shane Watson for 19 and opener Wade, caught behind for 49 off the bowling of Herath after wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara juggled but held the catch.Peter Forrest (3) was Herath’s second wicket, bowled in the 27th over to leave Australia in trouble at 135-5.
Clarke has a left hamstring injury and has already been ruled out of the five-match limited-overs series in the West Indies later this month, but selectors hope he’ll recover in time to play in the Test series in the Caribbean in April. Spinner Nathan Lyon was out for 0, Australia’s last wicket, in his limited-overs international debut on his home ground. He replaced the injured James Pattinson, who has a strained buttock muscle. Forrest came in for Clarke.
Sri Lanka named an unchanged team to the one which easily chased down Australia’s 271 runs Tuesday, losing only two wickets. Australia won the opening match last Sunday in Brisbane by 15 runs.