Warner ton studs commanding victory

Match Report : 5th ODI: Sri Lanka vs Australia at Pallekele, September 4, 2016


Brief Scores :- Australia 199 for 5 (Warner 106, Bailey 44, Dilruwan 3-51) beat Sri Lanka 195 (Gunathilaka 39, Starc 3-40) by five wickets

David Warner became the first Australian batsman to score a One-Day International in Sri Lanka to lead his side to a comfortable five-wicket win in the fifth and final ODI in Pallekele on Sunday (September 4).

Standing in for Steve Smith, Warner made a typically robust 106 off 126 deliveries as Australia clinched the series 4-1, having already taken an unassailable 3-1 lead after the previous game in Dambulla on Wednesday.

Opting to bat once Dinesh Chandimal, captaining instead of Angelo Mathews who was ruled out through injury, won the toss, Sri Lanka was bowled out for just 195 in the 41st over. Mitchell Starc, the left-arm paceman, did the bulk of the damage yet again with 3 for 40. With Warner in full cry and George Bailey extending his excellent form, Australia raced to 199 for 5 with 42 deliveries to spare.

Australia made a stuttering start to its chase with Dilruwan Perera, the off-spinner who operated with the new ball, accounting for both Matthew Wade, opening the innings, and Usman Khawaja.

While Wade was caught behind, Khawaja was caught off the leading edge as Australia was in trouble at 25 for 2 inside the first six overs.

However, Warner and Bailey firmly repelled Sri Lanka’s charge through spin with a mix of caution and adventure by putting on a record 132 for the third wicket on a sluggish surface. Warner went on to score his seventh ODI century in his 79th match, while Bailey fell six short of his third half-century of the series, trapped in front by Dilruwan (3 for 51).

While Warner was named the man of the match, Bailey picked up the man of the series award after finishing as the highest run-getter across the two sides with 270 runs in five games.

Sri Lanka had made a bright start in the afternoon as Dhananjaya de Silva and Danushka Gunathilaka, the openers, put together a 73-run partnership, its best first-wicket stand of the series.

But Australia’s persistent attack took three wickets in nine deliveries to rattle the Sri Lankan top order with a mini-collapse.

James Faulkner, the left-arm pacer, dismissed de Silva for 34 through a catch to mid-on in the 14th over and Adam Zampa, the leg-spinner, struck in the very next to have Gunathilaka bowled round his legs for 39.

Starc, recalled for a second spell in the 16th over, then had Chandimal caught behind for one.

Kusal Mendis (33) and Upul Tharanga, brought back for this game, put on 43 for the fourth wicket to try and rebuild the innings, but the wickets kept falling.

The rest of the batting failed to put up any resistance as Starc returned to help remove the tail. He bowled Dilruwan for five and Suranga Lakmal for a first-ball duck, before Amila Aponso survived the hat-trick ball in the 37th over.

Sachith Pathirana, batting at No. 8, came up with a 32-run cameo to add some meat to the Sri Lankan scorecard.

The ODI win comes as welcome relief for Australia, which was beaten 3-0 in the preceding Test series, the first time it had suffered a series whitewash against Sri Lanka.

The two teams now head into the two-match Twenty20 International series starting on September 6, also in Pallekele.

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