REUTERS - Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene shared an opening partnership of 179 as Sri Lanka hammered Australia by eight wickets on Tuesday to take the one-day international Tri-series final to a third and deciding match.
Dilshan smashed 106 and Jayawardene 80 to help propel Sri Lanka towards their victory target of 272 with 34 balls to spare and ensure the teams would return to the Adelaide Oval on Thursday to decide the tournament victors.
Michael Clarke earlier hit a superb 117 and David Warner backed up his 163 in the hosts’ victory in the first match of the final at the Gabba on Sunday with a more circumspect 100 in a stand of 184 for the third Australian wicket.
The Australians, both clearly hampered by injury, failed to drive home their advantage though and the tally of 271 for six from 50 overs looked under threat almost from the moment the Sri Lankans came out to bat.
Captain Jayawardene got a life on one when he was dismissed caught behind by Clint McKay but was called back to the crease after a television review revealed a no ball.
From then on it was plain-sailing and the hundred partnership came up from the first ball of the 16th over as Australia’s bowlers laboured and their fielders showed a sloppiness they have avoided for most of the season.
Paceman James Pattinson finally separated the openers when he trapped Jayawardene leg before with an inswinger but by then the Sri Lankans were only 93 runs short of their victory target.
Dilshan, who scored an unbeaten 160 against India earlier in the series, took his bow for his 12th one-day international century two balls before he reached the mark but no number of scoreboard errors were going to save Australia from defeat.
Mike Hussey finally caught Dilshan at deep midwicket off the bowling of Brett Lee but Kumar Sangakkara (51 not out) and Dinesh Chandimal (17 not out) comfortably accumulated the remaining 38 runs required for victory.
Sri Lanka too had been guilty of sloppy fielding and Clarke was dropped three times as he reached his seventh century in all forms of the game since he became Australia captain last March.
Quick bowler Lasith Malinga spilled one over the boundary for a six to trigger a brilliant spell where Clarke hit Farveez Maharoof for 21 off one over.
Lefthander Warner, troubled by a groin injury, was subdued by his high standards and departed as one of Malinga’s three victims with four fours and one six two his name in a 140-ball 100.
Clarke followed soon afterwards, run out when his lack of mobility left him unable to race for safety at the end of his 91-ball knock, which included five fours and fours sixes.
Jayawardene was later fined 10 percent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision to declare a full toss delivery from Maharoof above waist height as a no-ball in the 44th over of the Australia innings.
The Sri Lanka captain argued with the on-field umpires’ decision but later pleaded guilty to the offence and apologised for his actions, the International Cricket Council said in a statement.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Mark Meadows and Justin Palmer