(BBC) Australia ended their seven-game losing streak as seamers Clint McKay and Mitchell Starc bowled them to an eight-wicket one-day victory over Sri Lanka yesterday.
McKay took 5-33 and left-armer Starc 4-27 in Sydney as the tourists, who already had a winning 2-0 lead in the series, were bowled out for only 115.
Australia lost Shane Watson for 15 in the sixth over of their reply.
But Brad Haddin made 31 and skipper Michael Clarke hit an unbeaten 50 as they cruised home on 119-2 in the 22nd over.
Clarke, who retained the captaincy after Ricky Ponting opted to prepare for the Ashes series against England by playing for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield, wrapped things up with a boundary to third man off Thisara Perera.
“It’s nice to get a win and all the boys will be a little happier tonight,” said Clarke.
“We have been disappointed with our results. But we are continuing to learn and will get better from this.
“There has been a lot of talk about the Australian cricket side over the last month. We are in good spirits and hopefully this helps hold us in good stead for the coming summer.”
Sri Lanka were never really at the races after losing three wickets in the first five overs, all taken by McKay, who has an outside chance of filling the third seamer’s role in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane if Doug Bollinger fails to recover from injury in time. After having Upul Tharanga dropped at gully off his second ball, the 27-year-old Victorian removed Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara in his next over and then added the wicket of Mahela Jayawardene.
Tharanga hung around for an hour to make 28 before he fell leg before wicket to all-rounder Watson and Starc then ran through the middle order in only his second international appearance as Sri Lanka lost their last six wickets for 34 runs in 10 overs.
Chamara Silva was the only batsman, apart from Tharanga, to reach double figures, lasting 105 minutes for 33 before trying to drive a ball from Starc and dragging the ball onto his stumps.
Despite the defeat, Sri Lanka were delighted by their series win
The innings only lasted 32 overs, resulting in Australia having to face 10 before the mid-match interval, which was enough time for them to put the result beyond doubt by reaching 63-1.
Watson was caught at slip by Angelo Mathews as he tried to glide a ball from Dilhara Fernando to third man, and Haddin followed after the resumption when he gave a return catch to the same bowler.
Clarke, however, was determined to see his side home and lofted spinner Suraj Randiv for six over long-on before hitting the winning boundary – his sixth – in the next over.
Despite the result, skipper Sangakkara was delighted to win such a high-profile series just four months before the World Cup, which his country will co-host.
“For the guys who have been here many times before, they understand how tough it is to win against the world’s best team in their own country,” he reflected.
“For all the younger guys to come and accept the challenge – it’s exciting for us. They will leave with a lot of confidence and self-belief.”