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Sri Lanka Cruise To First Series Win Down Under

Nov 6, 2010 3:08:13 PM - thesundayleader.lk

The Sri Lankans, arms around each other, savour a historic moment

Second one-day international, Sydney: Sri Lanka 213-3
(41.1 ovs) beat Australia 210 (37.4 overs) by 29 runs (D/L method)

Australia went down to their seventh successive defeat as Sri Lanka celebrated their first series win down under with a 29-run victory in Sydney.In a rain-hit one-day international, Sri Lanka scored 213-3 in 41.1 overs leaving Australia a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target of 244 from 39 overs.
That became 240 from 38 after yet another brief stoppage, but they never threatened and were all out for 210.Australia have just one more ODI before the Ashes begin on 25 November.The losing run began in a Test match at Headingley in July against Pakistan; they have since lost two further Tests in India, a Twenty20 international and three one-dayers.
Sri Lanka can sweep this series 3-0 with a win in Brisbane on Sunday, but the Aussies will be desperate to stop the rot at the Gabba, where the Ashes series starts in 20 days.With Australia’s side on Friday featuring seven players thought to be certainties to take on England in the Test matches, it was another very dispiriting display from the hosts.
Their bowling was particularly poor, with a number of wayward deliveries sent down. Left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson took 0-43 in seven overs, struggling for line and length.Upul Tharanga anchored Sri Lanka’s innings with an unbeaten 86, beginning shakily but playing some fine shots later on. Tillakaratne Dilshan (47) and Kumar Sangakkara (45) played supportive roles and only Shane Watson (2-34) had much joy among Australia’s bowlers.
Tharanga was poised for a century until the rain came, and it never really left the SCG as the players carried on through squally showers.
The Australians’ batting was scarcely better than their bowling, though the floodlights and early movement for Sri Lanka’s seamers made life tough. Brad Haddin was bowled by a lovely Nuwan Kulasekara inswinger and Ricky Ponting top-edged a pull off Thisara Perera to leave the score on 32-2 in the seventh over.Watson and Michael Clarke put on 46 before Muttiah Muralitharan got in on the act. The veteran off-spinner trapped Watson lbw before completing a diving catch at third man to help Perera grab a second wicket and end Clarke’s involvement.
Neither Mike Hussey nor Cameron White were able to play a match-winning innings as Sri Lanka remained dominant with some unerringly accurate bowling.Australia, with six wickets down, needed 61 from the last four overs. Johnson hit off-spinner Suraj Randiv for a four and a six to give them a glimmer of hope, but was run out following terrific work from Mahela Jayawardene at extra cover.
There was no way back now. Randiv picked up two wickets and Lasith Malinga delivered the final blow with a yorker to last man Clint McKay in the final over.