Australia Winners of CB Tri-Series ODI Cricket!
Sri Lanka missed a tremendous opportunity today. They bowled out the mighty Australians for just 231 and the total could have been less than 200 if Sri Lanka capitalized on the chances given on the field. Their fielding was not at all the quality they are used to normally and they also missed a few crucial catches. Strike bowler Lasith Malinga was more of a liability today giving away too many runs without taking a single wicket. Maybe he has been still reeling under the hammering given by India in their last league match which Sri Lanka lost after amassing 321 runs. Even then, the target of 232 was a modest one, but the pressure of a big final was always there. It has been observed in the last few matches of the CB Series that teams found huge totals harder to defend and low ones easier to defend!
Except for a roaring opening partnership Australian batsmen did miserably losing 5 wickets from the score of 115 to 151. At 151/6 a total of even 200 seemed remote. But pacers Brett Lee (32) and Clint McKay (28) added precious runs helping the team take the score to a somewhat respectable 231. There was not a single half-century in the entire innings, the highest score being 49 by Wade.
Disciplined bowling and tight fielding made the Sri Lankans falter after a rousing start. They were reduced to a precarious 53/4 in the tenth over and then 142/6 in the 36th thanks to some great bowling by Brett Lee and McKay. Kulasekara, the hero of the first final, raised some hope of a comeback with Lee bowling two expensive overs in his second spell. But Lee managed to take the prized catch of Kulasekara amidst the run-deluge and McKay did the rest capturing 5 wicket for just 36 runs. Stand-in skipper Shane Watson though failing with the bat did some good captaincy with a tight first spell of 5 overs for only 8 runs and 1 wicket. It was perplexing why he came almost too late for his second spell, but when he came in again he took a wicket immediately slowing down the flow of runs too. For Sri Lanka only Tharanga could go past the half-century mark scoring a patient 71, but he could not carry on till the end. Man of the Series for his three brilliant centuries, Dilshan fell today cheaply to Lee though he chipped in well again with bowling. Clint McKay won the Player of the Match award for his all-round performance.
Finally, the better team of the day won. In a big final you cannot afford to have your top-order misfire and your middle-order suffocated for runs.