|The Australian cricket team with trophy after defeating Sri Lanka in the final tri-series match [AFP]|
Australia overcame the absence of injured captain Michael Clarke to win the deciding match in the tri-series final
against Sri Lanka by 16 runs on Thursday.
The home side looked set to lose to the Sri Lankans for the fifth time in six matches in the tournament – which also included India – after scoring a modest 231 in their innings after being sent in to bat at Adelaide Oval.
But man-of-the-match Clint McKay followed his 28 runs from 32 balls with five wickets to help bowl out Sri Lanka’s previously potent batting lineup for 215.
Fast bowler Brett Lee added three wickets and stand-in skipper and allrounder Shane Watson took the vital late wicket of Upul Tharanga while the Sri Lankan batsman was on 71.
“That’s a serious performance to defend 231 on that wicket, so I’m very proud of all the boys”
Australia won the best-of-three finals series 2-1. Sri Lanka won by eight wickets when chasing a higher total on Tuesday to level the series after Australia won the first match in Brisbane last Sunday by 15 runs.
“Clint McKay was absolutely brilliant tonight,” Watson said.
“The skill he showed, throughout the whole series but especially tonight, it was great to see him bowl so well.”
Watson said his side was determined to deliver a bigger performance after failing to defend 271 in the second match on Tuesday.
“We knew we had to step up, especially after the last game, we were very disappointed,” he said.
“That’s a serious performance to defend 231 on that wicket, so I’m very proud of all the boys.”
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene felt his side lacked a partnership at the start of their innings after bowling well.
“Australia deserved it, they played much better cricket than us today,” he said.
“I thought we managed to keep them 20 to 30 runs less, so it was a good total to chase. But we lost three of four wickets very quickly, and it was a tough task for the rest of the boys to try and creep through.”