x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Tharanga and Malinga keep the series alive

Upul Tharanga hit a century and Lasith Malinga took five wickets to propel Sri Lanka to a crushing 78-run win against Australia and make it 2-1.

Upul Tharanga gave his team the perfect start in the 'crucial' first 10 overs that set up the win.
Upul Tharanga gave his team the perfect start in the 'crucial' first 10 overs that set up the win.

Upul Tharanga hit a century and Lasith Malinga took five wickets to propel Sri Lanka to a crushing 78-run win against Australia in the third one-day international in Hambantota yesterday.

The win keeps alive Sri Lanka's hopes of winning the five-match series after Australia won the previous two.

Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, conceded his side had been outplayed as the teams move on to Colombo for the final two matches in the series.

"Sri Lanka played really well with bat and ball. We did well to restrict them after that start but they deserved to win.

"Dougie [Bollinger] did a good job with the ball, there were some plays and misses, but they outplayed us in the end. We have work to do, improvement needed for the next game."

Sri Lanka, who batted first, made 286-9 in 50 overs with Tharanga top scoring with 111, his fourth one-day international century.

"I had a good day, and good to get the 100," Tharanga said.

"It was a must-win game, and all the members lifted their game for it."

Tharanga had good support from Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, making 55, and Kumar Sangakkara, who made 49, before both fell to Bollinger.

Dilshan, said: "The first 10 overs were crucial, and we did well to see them off.

"All the batsmen that followed did well. We believed 260 was good to defend, and we proved it. [Shaminda] Eranga bowled really well, and Malinga was good as usual."

Eranga, 25, who was making his debut in international cricket needed just three balls to make his mark when he got one to nip back and bowled Brad Haddin for five.

But the delivery he will most remember was a slower ball to Ricky Ponting who pushed back a return catch when he had scored 22.

In reply, Australia fell well short of their target as they were dismissed for 208 runs in the 45th over.

Mike Hussey top scored for the visitors with 63 runs while Clarke chipped in with 46.

Malinga returned the best bowling figures of five for 28 for Sri Lanka and Eranga, who bowls right arm medium fast, finished with two for 38 in seven overs while Bollinger was the pick of the Australia attack, taking four for 42.

* Agencies