Tharanga leads Sri Lanka to victory

HAMBANTOTA, (Reuters) – A brilliant 13th one-day  international century from opener Upul Tharanga took Sri Lanka  to a 78-run win over Australia in the third one-day  international at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium yesterday.

Upul Tharanga

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 (12 fours).

Man-of-the-match Tharanga and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan  (55) got Sri Lanka off to a flying start by posting an opening  stand of 139 off 151 balls.

The momentum was continued by the middle-order batsmen  although Australia managed to capture nine wickets for 66 runs.

Doug Bollinger led the Australian fightback with four for 42  supported by Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson who shared four  wickets between them.

Australia was never allowed to settle down by a rampant  Lasith Malinga who tore into their batting to capture five for  28 runs as they were dismissed for 208 in the 45th over.

Mike Hussey was Australia’s top scorer with 63 off 77 balls  (five fours).

The rest of the batting was consumed by Malinga and debutant  Shaminda Eranga who picked up a wicket with his second ball in  one-day internationals, bowling Brad Haddin for five and then  dismissing Ricky Ponting for 22 with a cleverly disguised slow  ball.

“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.”

Australian captain Clarke said his team had been outplayed.

“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  work to do and need to improve for the next game.”

Australia lead the five-match series 2-1. The two remaining  games will be played in Colombo.

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