Sri Lankan Captain, Mahela Jayawardene led from the front and put Australia in the corner as the hosts were beaten by three wickets in the last over of the day in the Commonwealth Bank Series.
Australia posted a commendable total of 280 runs after losing six wickets and the Lankan Lions by passed that by punching 283 on the second ball of the 50th over for the loss of seven wickets.
Mahela Jyaywardene was declared ‘Player of the match’ for his dedicated innings of 85 runs at the top order.
The 9th One Day International of the tri-series was played at Bellerive Oval, Hobart, on February 24, 2012.
Earlier, the Aussies Captain, Michael Clarke won the toss and opted to take the chances on his batting and it was an unusual scene going in to field without the great ‘Ricky Ponting’.
They had a horrified beginning when both of their openers surrendered against the pace of the Islanders for 27 in 6.4 overs. Peter Forrest was sent in at no.3 to fill in the shoes of Ponting and the ever reliable Clarke guided him well as the pressure of the hostile bowling was released. Clarke initiated in style by dispatching 10 runs in the 9th over off Farveez Maharoof which included one six and a four as Forrest was already in aggressive mood.
Forrest completed his fifty in the 25th over and the hundred runs partnership was witnesses in the 30th over. Clarke added another half century to his credit in the 32nd over and the duo enhanced the rate of scoring thereafter. The score was raised to 181 runs when Clarke became the third victim once Thisara Perera plucked the ball inches off the ground on the bowling of Angelo Mthews for 72 on 79 balls with two sixes and five fours.
Forrest cemented his place by thrashing his maiden ODI ton on the last ball of the 40th over but lost his wicket in the very next over for 104 off 138 balls which comprised two sixes and 10 sweetly timed fours. David Hussey played a brisk knock of unbeaten 40 in 28 balls the as the home side piled up 280 runs with three wickets in hand at the end of the 50th over.
Mathews was the supreme bowler with two wickets, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Maharoof and Rangana Herath claimed one wicket each.
Jayawardene took the challenge by scoring belatedly as Tillakaratne Dilshan remained quite at the other end against his nature. The later lost his wicket for three runs not before a noticeable 55 runs partnership off eight overs.
Kumar Sangakkara chipped in with 22 off even balls as the promising Dinesh Chandimal joined in with his skipper.
Jayawardene was stumped smartly by the wicket keeper Matthew Wade off Xavier Doherty for 85 on 81 balls with one six and 6 fours.
Chandimal carried on with his measured innings with reasonable support from the incoming batsmen. He tried to get maximum use of powerplay overs but was caught at short fine leg by Ben Hilfenhaus off Daniel Christian for well played 80 runs.
The Lankan Lions were in trouble after losing six wickets for 250 runs in 45.5 overs and still required 31 in 25 balls. Thisara Perera took the ship on to the shore as the target was still 17 runs away with 12 legal deliveries available. He smashed a four and six in the 49th over and 12 runs were added in the 49th over as Kulasekara hit the winning four on the second ball of the 50th over.
Christian was the most successful bowler with three wickets, Hilfenhaus held two as Ryan Harris and Doherty secured one wicket each.
Sri Lanka won the fascinating match by three wickets and is on top of the table with 15 points, Australia follows by grasping 14 and India is at the bottom reeling at 10 as all the teams have played 6 matches.