Sri Lanka rode on Angelo Mathews’ heroics to very nearly pull off a sensational victory before falling short by just five runs against Australia in a nerve-wrecking cricket tri-series match here today.
Chasing a modest target of 232,the islanders were in the dumps as they were 180 for nine in the 45th over before all-rounder Mathews (64) staged a remarkable fightback to give a scare at the Australians at the WACA.
Mathews unleashed a flurry of strokes at the dying stages to raise visions of a stunning come-from-behind victory with a 46-run partnership with Dhammika Prasad but eventually fell in the penultimate ball to give the hosts their second successive win in the tournament.
Mathews faced 76 balls and hit four boundaries and a six in his entertaining knock.
Australia had earlier beaten India by 65 runs in their first match on February 5 at the MCG. For Sri Lanka,who wasted a fine bowling effort by their bowlers to restrict Australia for 231,it was their second successive loss in the tournament having beaten by India by four wickets in their first match at the same venue here on Wednesday.
Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty was the pick of the Australian bowlers as he scalped two wickets for 24 runs in his 10 overs. Pacer Daniel Christian also bagged two wickets for 47 runs.
Captain Clarke used as many a six bowlers,including himself and all of them claimed at least a wicket. Pacers Ryan Harris,Mitchell Starc and Clinton McKay as well as Clarke picked a wicket each.
Earlier,Australian batting collapsed in the face of a disciplined Sri Lankan bowling effort as the hosts were bundled out for 231 in their second match of the ODI cricket tri-series here today.
Skipper Michael Clarke’s 57-run knock was the only standout performance among the Aussie batsmen,who were stifled by Sri Lanka’s accurate bowling and folded up in 49.1 overs at the WACA Ground.
Put into bat,Australia were off to a wobbly start when opener Matthew Wade was dismissed for just one run by Nuwan Kulasekara.
Wade,who was impressive in his debut match against India scoring 67 runs,lasted just five deliveries today before being caught behind by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara.
David Warner (34) was his usual attacking self but the fireworks didn’t last long as an Angelo Mathews delivery sneaked in between his bat and pad to rattle the stumps.
The left-hander smashed four boundaries and a six during is 29-ball stay at the crease.
Veteran Ricky Ponting (1) flopped yet again and the scintillating Test form was nowhere to be seen as he was trapped leg before by Lasith Malinga.
With the top three coming a cropper,it was left to the middle-order to do the damage control and skipper Clarke took charge of the proceedings with his typical mix of caution and aggression.
But with wickets falling at other end at regular intervals,partnerships were just not coming through for Australia.