The Sri Lankan pair put on a ninth wicket stand of 132 to win the first ODI in Melboune as Australia's losing streak continues.
Mathews and Malinga's record stand defeats Australia
MELBOURNE // Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga put on a one-day international record 132 runs for the ninth wicket to fire Sri Lanka to a remarkable one-wicket victory over Australia today.
The Sri Lankans, who were chasing 240 for victory, looked dead and buried at 107 for eight before Mathews, who ended up with an unbeaten 77, and Malinga lit up the Melbourne night with some batting pyrotechnics to claim an unlikely victory.
The partnership was finally broken when Malinga was run out for 56 with the scores level at 239, leaving the last man Muttiah Muralitharan to hit the winning boundary.
Australia have not won in nine matches in all forms of cricket going back to July and have the Ashes series against England looming at the end of the month.
It had looked like being left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty's night as he took four wickets and engineered a stunning run out on his debut to put the hosts in the driving seat.
Mathews and Malinga had other thoughts, however, and they sprayed the ball around the Melbourne Cricket Ground with abandon to exceed Kapil Dev and Syed Kirmani's ninth wicket stand of 126 for India against Zimbabwe in 1983.
Sri Lankan paceman Thisara Perera earlier took five for 46 but Michael Hussey belied his recent form with an unbeaten 71 as Australia rallied to 239 for eight.
The Australians, beaten by seven wickets in a Twenty20 match against the Sri Lankans in Perth on Sunday, started expansively and were comfortable at 85 for one 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.
Doherty enjoyed his own eight-delivery spell to rival Perera's, first trapping Mahela Jayawardene leg before in his first over and having Chamara Silva caught by Shane Watson and bowling Sangakkara in successive balls in his second.
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 November 25.