The Sunday Leader

Jayawardena, Chandimal Power Sri Lanka To The Top Of The Table

 

  • CB series – Game 9- Australia vs Sri Lanka – Hobart

Contrasting 80s from Mahela Jayawardena and Dinesh Chandimal, coupled with some aggressive strokeplay at the death by Thisara Perera enabled Sri Lanka to record their third straight win which took them to the top of the Commonwealth Bank Series table.
Chasing 281 for victory, which is the second highest successful run chase at the Bellerive Oval, Sri Lanka was made to scrap at the end but ultimately secured the victory through Perera’s big hitting.
Sri Lanka’s chase got off to the best possible start courtesy of their new opening partnership of Jayawardena and Tillakaratne Dilshan saw. Faced with an unsure bowling attack on a good batting track, Jayawardena made the hosts pay.  The extent to which the Australian bowlers struggled to contain the Sri Lankans was highlighted through the fact that by the end of the first seven overs Jayawardena faced over thirty balls while Dilshan had only faced six deliveries.

Mahela - leading by example

Sri Lanka’s skipper made the Australians pay, in particular Ryan Harris and Brett Lee, as he scored with little or no trouble. With the Sri Lankans running away with the game, Ben Hilfenhaus provided the breakthrough in the eight over removing Dilshan for 3 (he had only faced nine deliveries).
With a better than a run ball 55 run opening stand Sri Lanka was on the front in their chase, and their positive intent continued with  Kumar Sangakarra also looking to jump on any loose deliveries. A run a ball 22 from Sangakkara helped Sri Lanka consolidate as he and Jayawardena put on 35 runs for the second wicket.
However, Daniel Christian’s introduction in to the attack provided fortuitous for the hosts as he removed Sangakarra in the 14th over.
The key component of Sri Lanka’s successful run chase was their ability to string together partnerships. Chandimal joined Jayawardena at the crease and the pair put on 63 nerveless runs. The trademark of their partnership was the way in which the two batsmen complimented each other perfectly. While Jayawardena attacked the bowlers Chandimal looked to rotate the strike and pick off any bad balls.
Xavier Doherty, who was Australia’s stand out bowler, removed Jayawardena for 85 to give the Australians a glimmer of hope. However, they once again failed to follow it up with another quick wicket as Lahiru Thirimanne and Chandimal put on 49 runs.
With the run rate well in control, and Australia’s bowlers looking low on confidence and ideas the match was Sri Lanka’s to lose. However, in a bizarre piece of batting Thirimanne attempted to hoick Christian in to the stands only to be caught by Hilfenhaus.
Chandimal and Angelo Mathews set about seeing the team home, before Chandimal threw his wicket away after playing a collection of strange shots.
Suddenly the pressure was back on the Sri Lankans and it showed as Faveez Maharoof and Mathews both were dismissed trying to finish the game off quickly. However, Thisara kept his cool and comfortably dispatched a poor penultimate over from Christian to see his team home and take them to the top of the table.
Earlier in the day Clarke won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket that appeared to offer plenty of runs. Despite the two early wickets of Matthew Wade and David Warner Australia were able to post a competitive 280 courtesy of Peter Forrest’s maiden ODI century.
He, along with Michael Clarke, saw the hosts recover from a shaky 27-2 to 181-3. With 12 overs remaining in the innings and seven wickets in hand, the stage was set for the Hussey brothers to launch an assault.
They did just that as both of them took the attack to a faltering Sri Lankan bowling attack. However, just when the game appeared to slipping beyond Sri Lanka’s grasp clever death bowling by Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath saw Sri Lanka contain Australia to 280-6.
Sri Lanka’s win now sees them at the top of the Commonwealth Bank Series table, leading Australia by a single point. If Australia defeats India on Sunday in Sydney, it will mean that both Australia and Sri Lanka advance to the finals. A loss to India by Australia will see Sri Lanka needing to win one of their last two games to secure a berth in the final.

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