Sydney: Mahela Jayawardene smashed an unbeaten half-century to lead Sri Lanka to a commanding eight-wicket win over Australia and back into limited-overs tri-series finals content_cnion on Friday.
Australia were bowled out for just 158, their lowest ODI total at the Sydney Cricket Ground since 1997, after the match was reduced to 41-over innings due to a two-hour rain interruption.
Faced with an amended victory target of 152 after adjustments made under the Duckworth-Lewis Method, the Sri Lankans wasted no time in aggressively chasing down their first win of the tri-series.
Jayawardene carried his bat for 61 not out off 67 balls as the Sri Lankans reached the winning total in just the 25th over.
"We needed a start," Jayawardene said. "I have done opening before, and thankfully it worked today. We knew we had to win today."
India lead the series by a point from Australia, while Sri Lanka, with a bonus point, are only two behind the host side.
Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan shared an almost run-a-ball 74-run opening partnership as the Australia bowlers failed to make an impression.
Dilshan made 45 off 41 balls before Clint McKay (1-23) finally make a breakthrough when he had the opener caught at slip by David Hussey in the 12th over.
Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara then shared 59 runs until Sangakkara was caught by Xavier Doherty at mid-on off Brett Lee (1-42), leaving Sri Lanka requiring 21 runs with 20 overs remaining. Sangakkara had 30 off 29 balls, and became the 10th man to pass 10,000 ODI runs, and the third Sri Lankan.
David Hussey's aggressive 58 off 64 balls was the sole highlight for Australia's innings as the hosts were dismissed two balls short of their 41 overs.
Man of the Match Thisera Perera returned figures of 2-29, as well as being responsible for a run-out. Farveez Maharoof had 2-18 and took the important catch of opener David Warner.
"The pitch didn't have the sort of pace we thought it had, and their bowlers capitalized," stand-in captain Ricky Ponting said. "Full credit to Sri Lanka, they bowled and fielded really well, and played their shots in the chase."
Hussey shared a 49-run, ninth-wicket partnership with tailender Mitchell Starc (17) which saved Australia from total capitulation.
Warner made just 13 before being caught by Maharoof off Lasith Malinga (1-42) and Ponting faced just 10 balls before being caught and bowled by Maharoof for 2.
Wade was run out on 15 in the next over thanks to some athletic fielding from Perera at short-cover.
Michael Hussey was caught behind off Angelo Mathews (1-26) for 13, before Maharoof claimed his second wicket when he had Peter Forrest caught by Mathews for 16.
Perera trapped Dan Christian lbw for 6 to leave Australia at 81-6 when rain interrupted play.
Clint McKay faced just eight balls after the resumption of play before he was out lbw to Rangana Herath (1-12) for 3 and Brett Lee failed to score before he was run out.
Australia meet India on Sunday in Brisbane.