Sri Lanka clinched a stunning 13-run victory in the nail-biting low-scorer, which happened to be the 12th ODI of the CB Series, being played out at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) on Friday, February 29, 2008. Although the win is of little consequence in deciding Sri Lanka's fate in the series, which has already been sealed, still it must have felt exhilirating to have a go at the hosts before leaving home. Chasing a moderate total, the Australian innings were only too clearly proceeding in the singular direction of an Australian win, at least as long as Gilchrist chose to bask in the glory of another fabulous knock but everything changed as the match veered off its course with Sri Lanka going berserk in search of wickets.
Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first earlier in the day, which did not prove to be of great help to the visitors initially. Losing its top order for merely 42 runs, Sri Lanka was off to yet another jittery start in this series which had not so far been a memorable one. Jayawardene tried to instill some life in the innings with a tough stand as another wicket fell at the end in the form of Kapugedera, leaving the Sri Lankan attack exposed to Australian pace and fury. Dilshan, however, withstood the pressure well to forge a crucial partnership with Jayawardene and thus helped Sri Lanka recover form early blues. Ultimately, Hogg succeeded in finding the break for Australia as Jayawardene got himself out for lbw. Coming in next, Silva fell just in place to develop another 60-run stand and saw Sri Lanka off the 200-run mark after Dilshan's falling victim to an outstanding run-out effort by Hopes. But once Bracken broke through the defense of Silva, rest was mincemeat as Sri Lanka found itself bundled out for a low score of 221 runs in exactly 50 overs.
Starting off in their signature style, Australian opening pair seemed to indulge in a celebration of batting spirit with quite a few memorable shots coming from their willows. Gilchrist and Hopes grew from strength to strength with Gilchrist scoring a 35-run half-century with no hope in sight for Sri Lanka. With Australia going great guns at 107 for 0 wickets, Sri Lanka bowlers suddenly seemed to have stumbled upon a solemn realization of the cricketing kind and used their bowling wisdom to good effect in getting Australia swept off their feet in no time. This peculiar train of events set off with Hopes falling a victim to Muralitharan's doosra in a more or less bizarre fashion. Soon, Gilchrist followed suit when Kulasekara got the better of him to cut short his individual century chase. Coming like an indication of the impending doom, the fall of Gilchrist was followed by three quick wickets of Ponting, Clarke and Symonds in an unbelievable fashion with only Ponting being able to score a single. Hussey and Baddin did not come any better but it was Hogg and Lee who took up the final line of defense with some good support thrown in from Bracken at the end. Lee and Bracken were successful in denying Sri Lanka its most deserved win of the innings till the penultimate over of the Australian innings itself when Jayasuriya was brought in by Jayawardene to bowl out Lee in what would be termed an outstanding decision. With all its bags packed to leave for home, Sroi Lanka muist be wondering what if they could muster the same kind of effort earlier in the innings.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012