Sri Lanka beat Australia by 78 runs

Upul Tharanga scored a century and Lasith Malinga claimed five wickets as Sri Lanka beat Australia by 78 runs in the third one-day international at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium.

Invited to bat first after Michael Clarke the Australian captain had won his first toss of the five-match series, Sri Lanka piled up a competitive total of 286 for nine wickets with Tharanga scoring 111 off 139 balls with help of 12 fours.

In reply, Australia were dismissed for 208 in the 45th over with Lasith Malinga taking five for 28.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (55 off 59), Kumar Sangakkara (49 off 37) and Mahela Jayawardene (36 off 33) all contributed to take Sri Lanka to a good score.

Doug Bollinger was again the pick of the Australian bowlers, claiming 4-42 in his 10 overs to complement his three-wicket haul in game two on Sunday night.

Mitchell Johnson (2-45) and Shane Watson (2-58) also chipped in with the ball.

Australia’s batting didn’t get off to a good start with Malinga removing Shane Watson (5) before debutant Shaminda Eranga (2-38) clean-bowled struggling Brad Haddin (5) in his first over.

Ricky Ponting showed some poise before Eranga caught and bowled for 22. Current skipper Michael Clarke (46) then joined forces with Michael Hussey (63) in a 71-run stand for the fourth wicket to help Australia start their fightback.

Hussey also shared in a 45-run sixth-wicket stand with Steven Smith, but both were dismissed in successive balls, Smith run out for 18 and Hussey then snared with the first delivery of Malinga’s seventh over.

Malinga then bowled both Xavier Doherty and Bollinger as Australia were dismissed with more than five overs remaining.

Australian captain Michael Clarke blamed the top of the order for loss.

“We didn’t perform well enough at the top of the order,” Clarke said.

“We have no excuses. We didn’t perform as well as we would like and we know that.”

“Sri Lanka played really well with bat and ball. We did well to restrict them after that start but they deserved to win,” said Clarke.

“Dougie (Bollinger) did a good job with the ball, there were some plays and misses, but they outplayed us in the end.”

“We have some work to do over the next few days because, as I said from the start, playing Sri Lanka, especially in their home conditions, you have to be at your best to beat them.”

Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan praised Malinga, who took five for 28 runs.

“The first 10 overs were crucial. We did well to see them off. All the batsmen who followed did well,” said Sri Lanka captain Dilshan.

“We believed 260 was a good total to defend and we proved it. Eranga bowled really well and Malinga was good as usual.”

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