Dilshan runs Aussies out
Adelaide, February 10:
Tillekeratne Dilshan threw Australia into a spin with four run outs to spearhead underdogs Sri Lanka to a spectacular 22-run victory in the opening triangular one-day series cricket final at Adelaide Oval on Friday.
Dilshan could do no wrong as he stranded four Australians with quicksilver fielding, as well as taking a catch and scoring an unbeaten 26 off 20 balls.
Sri Lanka’s 274 for eight was always going to be a testing total for Australia to chase under lights, but they self-destructed with five run outs against the enthusiastic Sri Lankans and were all out for 252 off 49.1 overs with Michael Clarke topscoring with 80 off 83 balls.
Australia face a must-win second game in Sydney on Sunday to keep the finals series alive to a third match in Brisbane next Tuesday.
Dilshan had the match of his life, swooping in to run out Australian skipper Ricky Ponting for a duck, Damien Martyn with a superlative piece of fielding for one, Simon Katich (56 off 81 balls) and Australia’s newly-crowned one-day cricketer of the year Mike Hussey for 16.
It was Australia’s first loss in a home ODI series final since their six-run loss to South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in January 1998.
Ponting was run out in a dreadful mix-up with Katich without facing a ball as Dilshan gleefully sprinted to the unoccupied bowler’s end to whip off the bails with the skipper well stranded. Dilshan was breathtaking in swooping in from point to throw down the wicket at the bowler’s end to dismiss Martyn and was equally deadly to run out Katich and the dangerous Hussey.
Muttiah Muralitharan responded to the crowd’s boorish ‘no-ball’ calls with three wickets, the first bamboosling Andrew Symonds stumped with his ‘doosra’ for 16, and claiming the wickets of James Hopes (3) and Brett Lee (19).
Man-of-the-match Kumar Sangakkara cracked 83 as Sri Lanka set Australia a testing total. He hit three fours and a six in his 106-ball knock but it gave Sri Lanka a solid foundation.
Sangakkara shared in a 65-run second wicket stand with skipper Marvan Atapattu (53 off 77 balls) and 67 for the fourth wicket with Russel Arnold (24).
Late big hitting with Chamara Kapugedera (38 off 21 balls) and Dilshan, an unbeaten 26 off 20 balls, lifted the Sri Lankans to a winning total on a perfect batting strip after winning the toss.
The Australians got the vital wicket of cavalier opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya for 25 off 22 balls, when he was superbly taken in the deep by a diving Brad Hogg off Stuart Clark.
But Atapattu found a sturdy partner with Sangakkara, who was content with singles as his skipper hit a sprightly half-century with six boundaries.
Sangakkara was also out in the 45th over to a caught and bowled chance made to look easy by Symonds, one of four catches to the dreadlocked Australian all-rounder.
Dilshan and Kapugedera took to the Australian bowling with some lusty late hitting, adding 58 runs for the sixth wicket before 18-year-old Kapugedera was caught by Symonds off left-arm seamer Nathan Bracken.