MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Sri Lankan paceman Thisara Perera took five for 46 but hosts Australia still managed to post a competitive 239 for eight in the first of three one-day internationals on Wednesday.
Australia, looking to get back to winning ways with the Ashes series against England looming at the end of the month,started expansively and were cruising at 85-1 until Perera claimed three wickets in eight deliveries.
Acting skipper Michael Clarke (27) and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (49) went to superb catches from Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan before Cameron White was skittled for a golden duck.
Perera returned later to remove Steven Smith caught behind for 12 before bowling John Hastings for 16 in the final over to complete his second five-wicket haul in one day internationals.
Better news for Australia, who have gone eight matches without victory in all forms of the game going back to July, was Michael Hussey’s 71 not out.
Concerns about Hussey’s form ahead of the Ashes were compounded when he managed just three runs in two innings for Western Australia at the weekend but his steady half century should allay some of those fears.
The second match is in Sydney on Friday and the series closes with a third day-night match in Brisbane on Sunday. The first Ashes test begins in Brisbane on Nov. 25.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Patrick Johnston. To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)