Australia beats Sri Lanka by 32 to even ODI series
Australia's Phil Hughes celebrates reaching his century (Reuters)
Moises Henriques and Xavier Doherty took three wickets each to capitalize on Phil Hughes' unbeaten century Wednesday as Australia beat Sri Lanka by 32 runs to share the five-match limited-overs series 2-2.
Despite an aggressive 38 off 39 balls by Mahela Jayawardene in what is expected to be his last tour as captain, and a defiant half century from Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka could manage just 215 in its chase of Australia's 247 and just a second series win on Australian soil.
After Australia won the first game of the series, Sri Lanka took a 2-1 lead before the fourth match in Sydney was washed out on Sunday. Australia and Sri Lanka will now meet in two Twenty20 internationals on Saturday and Monday.
"We probably had our chances, but it was a tough series," Jayawardene said. "The boys played pretty well and I think the Australians came back strongly today."
Man of the match Hughes smashed an unbeaten 138 after Sri Lanka won the toss and sent Australia in to bat.
"If you do get in you want to make a big score all the time," Hughes said. "It doesn't always work like that, but if I do get in, something I pride myself on is going on to hit that three-figure mark."
Spinner Doherty (3-21) made a vital breakthrough into the Sri Lankan run chase, and sparked something of a top-order collapse, with the dismissal of Jayawardene in the 13th over when he had the Sri Lanka captain caught at mid-on by Mitchell Starc.
Sri Lanka added just 20 runs for the next three wickets as Lahiru Thirimanne (1) became Doherty's second victim, offering a simple catch to David Hussey at mid-wicket.
Allrounder Henriques (3-32) had Tillakaratne Dilshan caught behind shortly after for 19 and Doherty bowled Dinesh Chandimal for 6 to leave Sri Lanka in trouble at 77-4.
Mathews attempted to re-ignite the Sri Lankan momentum with 67 off 122 balls with seven boundaries, but the run chase seemed all but over when he was caught by stand-in captain George Bailey off Mitchell Johnson (2-45).
"Angelo showed he can still get five or six runs an over quite easily,"
Henriques dismissed Kusal Perera (7) in the next over and caught Rangana Herath (2) an over later off Clint McKay (2-51) to put the match out of reach. McKay claimed the final wicket of Lasith Malinga (2) with 15 balls to spare.
Sri Lanka's bowling attack looked on target for another dominant performance when opener David Warner was bowled for 10 by Tillakaratne Dilshan in the sixth over.
Bailey - leading the side in place of Michael Clarke after he injured his ankle in training - was caught and bowled by Thisara Perera to leave Australia at 97-3, before Hughes (138) combined with Hussey for a 98-run fourth-wicket partnership that ensured a competitive total.
Hughes hit 13 boundaries and a six in a commanding performance that was helped along by a little luck in the 21st over when he edged a Mathews delivery onto his stumps, but the bails remained intact.
"I feel very comfortable in the game at the moment," Hughes said. "Hopefully I can keep cementing my spot in the one-day format and the test format as well."
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, sharing the opening duties with Warner, timed a quickfire 23 off 28 balls with four boundaries before being trapped lbw by man-of the-series Nuwan Kulasekara.
Hussey was run out with a direct throw by bowler Perera to break up his valuable partnership with Hughes, and Glenn Maxwell added just 9 before being caught by Thirimanne at extra-cover off Malinga.
Sri Lanka's bowling was tidy more than penetrating, with Dilshan returning best figures of 1-22.