Living upto the occasion, Adam Gilchrist made his last appearance at the WACA, one of his finest, with a power-packed century to help Australia seal a comfortable 63-run victory against Sri Lanka in the 6th ODI of CB Series on Friday, February 15, 2008. For all its cricketing worth, though, even this memorable 118-run knock by the legendary Aussie wicketkeeper could not make Australia touch the 250-run mark as his teammates failed to make an impact with the bat except a near-half century effort by Clarke and a couple of useful cameos by Ponting and Hussey respectively. In the ultimate analysis, it was the Aussie bowling brigade which came together to bundle out Sri Lanka by a relatively big margin to earn the home side an additional bonus point and turned the 16th century ODI effort by Gilchrist into a winning contribution.
Earlier in the day, Australia got lucky with the toss once again and took to batting first. The Aussie innings received an early jolt with Hayden falling victim to the deceptive swing of Malinga in the 4th over itself. But soon Ponting and Gilchrist steadied the innings with a half-century partnership for the 2nd wicket before Vaas got the better of Ponting with an intelligent piece of bowling. Gilchrist only seemed like getting better with each ball he faced with Hussey providing a sense of stability and synchronicity at the other end with a wee-bit scarce aggression in his innings. The crucial 3rd wicket partnership was worth 105-runs when Sri Lankans decided they have had enough of the duo and Muralitharan deceived Clarke into a successful stumping effort by Sangakkara.
Coming up next, Symonds failed to make an impression with the bat and soon departed with a single-digit contribution to his credit, only to be followed by Hussey who afforded Gilchrist enough space to showcase some exceptional batting and receive a standing ovation from the home crowd for his well-deserved 16th ODI century. Soon, however, a shrewd Malinga claimed the prized scalp of Gilchrist to put brakes on the Aussie run-rate. Hussey now strove to keep the innings alive and decided not to take any chances against the Sri Lankan bowling but wickets kept falling at other end and ultimately he was also sucked into the vortex as Sri Lanka surprised everyone by claiming 4 wickets in the last 4 runs to bundle out Australia for the cricket score of 236 runs in 49.4 overs. With the Australian total just shy of the 250 mark, Sri Lanka perhaps started counting their eggs before they hatched which turned out to be a little premature as would be demonstrated later in the day.
Chasing an average target, Sri Lankans were off to a disastrous start with Dilshan and Jayasurya being blown away too early in the innings by sheer fury of the Aussie pace and swing. Sangakkara and Jayawardene walked in to put up some resistance from here on in what seemed like a potentially threatening partnership. Australia, however, did not seem interested in taking any chances and it was not long before this stand was broken with the wicket of Jayawardene, with Silva following suit soon after as Australians heaved a sigh of relief. Standing in the midst of chaos, Sangakkara kept his nerve against a piercing attack by Australians and steadily developed a half-century partnership with Kapugedera. The effort put in by the youngster did not prove to be good enough, however, as Hopes sucked him into a catch at midwicket off a shorter one which turned out to be a little difficult to handle. With the scorecard reading 129 runs for 5 wickets, Sangakkara turned out to be the lone man standing out there as Australia launched into a kind of cricketing slaughter from here on to bag all of the Sri Lankan wickets in less than another half century.
The Sri Lankan effort culminated with wicket of Sangakkara himself, who could no longer withstand the deadly combo of Brett Lee's pace and the pressure brought on by diminishing number of the wickets in hand. Sri Lanka ended up with the score of 173 runs in 45.3 overs to lose the match by 63-runs. As Australia once again asserted its supremacy against Sri Lanka, it must have become only too clear to the visitors that there is little scope for complacency on the field if they do not want to start packing their bags for home this early in the ongoing series.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012