Spirited Lanka tame Aussies, pip India out
Sri Lanka's thrilling nine-run win over Australia in the last pool match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) eliminated India from the finals of the CB tri-series.
An Australia win would have assured India a place in the best-of-three finals. But Sri Lanka, who had lost last year's World Cup final to India, were determined and stole the show with a spirited performance.
Chasing a target of 239, Australia were all out for 229 with five balls to spare. Shane Watson (65) and David Hussey (74) took Australia close to victory but Lasith Malinga dominated with four for 49 from 10 overs, collecting the scalps of three of the top-five batsmen.
A hat-trick by all-rounder Dan Christian (5/31) and good display by young fast bowler James Pattinson (4/51) restricted Sri Lanka to 238 all out in 50 overs. Pattinson's comeback is likely to raise doubts on veteran fast bowler Brett Lee, who made way for the 21-year-old.
But batting let down the hosts. Playing in front of a 28,900 crowd, comprising mostly Sri Lankan fans, Australia were under pressure right from the start with openers David Warner (6), Matthew Wade (9), and in-form Peter Forrest (2) back in the pavilion with only 26 runs after 5 overs.
Watson (65 off 83 balls) and Mike Hussey (29 off 56 balls) resurrected the innings with an 87-run partnership off 120 balls. But after they departed, Australia were in deep trouble at 5-140 in the 31st over.
David waged a lonely fight with run-a-ball 74. With Australia needing 10 from the last over, David decided to attack from the first ball off Kulasekara and holed out to Dilshan at the long-off.