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3rd ODI: Australia v Sri Lanka, Match Report
30 August 1996

Singer World Series : Lanka have kangaroos on the hop

Aravinda de Silva once again proved to be Australia's nemesis when he guided Sri Lanka to four-wicket win over Australia in a day night Singer World Series cricket match played at the R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on Friday.

The Sri Lankan Vice Captain who scored an unbeaten century against Australia in the Wills World Cup Final at Lahore on March 17 hit an unbeaten 83 off 93 balls ( 11 fours) to steer his side to victory after they had been reduced to 81 for 5 at one stage.

De Silva took the Man of the Match award as Sri Lanka reached 232 for six off 45.5 overs in reply to Australia's 228 for 9 in 50 overs.

Roshan Mahanama (50) and Sanath Jayasuriya (44) also made notable contributions.

The Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga was out for a 'duck' while wicket keeper and opening batsman Romesh kaluwitharana Aus- tralia scored eight.

Sri Lanka came up with another exceptional fielding and bowling display to restrict Australia to a total of 228 for 9 wickets.

Despite contrasting half-centuries from Mark Waugh and Michael Bevan and an unbeaten 46 from Ricky Ponting, Australia failed to set the strong Sri Lanka batting line-up a challenging total to give their bowlers any chance, in a repeat of the Wills World Cup final.

After skipper Ian Healy had won the toss and decided to bat first, Australia maintained a healthy run rate which hovered just under five an over.

With the introduction of off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan and leg-spinner Upul Chandana in to the attack, the whole complexion of the Australian innings changed from 157 for 4 in the 33rd over, they slumped to 203 for 9 in the 46th before Ponting with an unbeaten 46 off 57 balls (1 six, 1 four) and Glenn McGrath (8) added 25 valuable runs for the last wicket off 27 balls.

Chandana, a late change in the Sri Lanka line-up replacing fast bowler Ravindra Pushpakumara proved to be a good gamble.

He went on to take a career-best 3 for 38 off 10 overs and was involved in the dismissal of Michael Slater, who was run out for nine when Chandana returned the ball accurately to the wicket- keeper from square leg.

Then he held a good catch at cover to dismiss Damien Fleming. Mutthiah Muralitharan also picked up two wickets and so did Sanath Jayasuriya the hero of Sri Lanka's victory over India on Wednesday. Sri Lanka's gamble in going into this game with only one fast bowler paid great dividends as the eight wickets to fall to the bowlers were all captured by the spinners.

Mark Waugh, with a fluent 50 off 55 balls (7 fours) and Bevan with 56 off 78 balls (2 fours) gave Australia hopes of a big enough total to challenge the Sri Lankan batting line-up. But after the dismissal of Bevan in the 32nd over at 157, the Aus- tralian innings went into a decline.

The 20,000 strong crowd were well behaved until the arrival of Healy to the wicket. The stand-in Australian captain was given a hostile reception by the crowd who kept on jeering at him throughout his 16-ball innings for eight. He was ironically caught at square leg by the man he had many confrontations with in the recent Australian tour - Arjuna Ranatunga.

Source: The Daily News