Sri Lanka in danger

Melbourne, February 22:

Sri Lanka’s chances of reaching the tri-series finals were dealt a serious blow when Australia beat them by 24 runs in a rain-shortened one-day match on Friday.

The visitors’ gamble to bowl first — expecting the match to be shortened by the weather — looked to have paid off and they restricted the hosts to just 184 for seven from their 50 overs.

However, the Sri Lankan batsmen again failed to rise to the challenge and they were 77 for four when rain did stop play after 29.3 overs, leaving them well short of the required 102 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

The loss means Sri Lanka, having won just one of their six games in the tri-series, will have to win their last two matches, against India and Australia, to have any chance of reaching the finals.

On the other hand, Australia booked their place in the finals again with their seventh successive victory over Sri Lanka.

Just one partnership was enough for Australia to win, with Mike Hussey (64 not out) and Michael Clarke (50) putting on almost half of their total with a fifth-wicket stand of 90 runs.