Tri-series final goes to final decider
Sri Lanka level the tri-series in Adelaide against Australia as Tillakaratne Dilshan hits an impressive century.
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2012 18:51
Dilshan's knock propelled Sri Lanka on to victory in the second final against Australia [GALLO/GETTY]

Tillakaratne Dilshan hit an impressive century to help Sri Lanka to an eight-wicket win on Tuesday that forced a third final against an Australian team that could be missing skipper Michael Clarke for the tri-series decider.

Dilshan shared a 179-run opening stand with skipper Mahela Jayawardene (80) and a 55-run second-wicket partnership with Kumar Sangakkara before he was caught in the outfield off Brett Lee's bowling in the 38th over, with the Sri Lankans needing only 38 runs for victory.

Sangakkara finished unbeaten on 51 when he hit the winning boundary with almost six overs to spare.

Australia posted 271-6 after winning the toss and batting, with David Warner scoring 100 and Clarke belting 117 from 91 balls before Lasith Malinga took three late wickets to give Sri Lanka some momentum.

It was Warner's second century in three days, following his 163 in Australia's 15-run win in the first final on Sunday, but it was uncharacteristic - coming off 140 balls and containing only a sprinkling of boundaries.

Clarke dominated the 184-run third-wicket partnership with Warner, stroking five boundaries and four sixes as he tried to lift the sluggish run-rate, but also injured his left hamstring and is in doubt for Thursday's match at Adelaide and the start of the West Indies tour later this month.

"I have done something to my left hamstring, I don't know to what extent,'' Clarke said after the match.

"But it's obviously not feeling good at the moment, that is for sure.

"We leave for West Indies in three days... I don't want to make a judgment until I make a scan, I think I would be silly to do that.''

All-round failure

Clarke is only two matches into a comeback from a right hamstring strain that kept him out for three matches in the league stage of the tri-series against Sri Lanka and India.

Clarke, who will have scans on Wednesday to confirm the extent of the damage, said the Australians didn't perform in any department in the second final.

"We didn't score enough runs, our fielding was poor again tonight and our bowling let us down,'' Clarke said.

"On a very good batting wicket, against a good and strong batting opposition, you need to make 300 on that wicket.''

"On a very good batting wicket, against a good and strong batting opposition, you need to make 300 on that wicket"

Michael Clarke

The Sri Lankans also had problems in the field, dropping five catches, but bowled with more discipline than the Australians after opening with offspinner Dilshan in a surprising move by Jayawardene. Malinga's bowling in the end, when Australia could only muster 35 runs in the last five overs, was critical to Sri Lanka levelling the series.

Australia had been in command of the first final, having Sri Lanka struggling at 144-6 chasing 322 for victory in Brisbane on Sunday, but slumped in the last 20 overs against an onslaught from the lower-order batsmen and only ended up winning by 15 runs in the last over.

Defending a low total on Tuesday, the Australian bowlers again struggled, conceding 30 runs in the first three overs including 11 sundries. The Sri Lankan batsmen took their cue from there, and kept the run-rate up throughout
the innings.

"We bowled really well up front, kept them to a reasonable total. With the bat, we had a very positive start", said Jayawardene, who was fined 10 percent of his match fee by the ICC match referee for arguing a no-ball call with the umpires during Australia's innings.

The Sri Lankans have won four of their last five matches against Australia and overcame two early losses in the tournament to edge World Cup champion India for a place in the final.

Jayawardene said his team, runners-up at the 2011 World Cup, had proved their critics wrong.

"No one gave us any chance when we came to Australia,'' he said.

"As long as we're confident about our game, and play the way we've been playing the last couple of weeks, we've got a very good chance."

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