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VB Series: Australia win 2nd final

The Aussie captain and the allrounder helped the team set Sri Lanka a target the visitors found impossible to chase in the second final of the VB Series.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2006 11:54 IST

Australia's Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds blazed brilliant centuries on Sunday to power the hosts to a record-breaking victory in the limited-overs tri-series second final against Sri Lanka.

After Ponting won the toss, the Australians, 1-0 down in best-of-three finals, slumped to 10-3 in three overs before finishing with their highest limited-overs score, 368-5. Shell-shocked Sri Lanka never threatened Australia's total and was dismissed for 201 in 36 overs.

Australian opener Adam Gilchrist fell to the second ball of the match and Simon Katich and Damien Martyn went in quick succession at the Sydney Cricket Ground. But then Ponting, with 124 off 127 balls, and Symonds, with 151 off 127 balls, destroyed Sri Lanka's bowling in a 237-run stand spanning just under 38 overs.

It was Australia's highest partnership in limited-overs history, eclipsing the unbeaten 234 between Ponting and Martyn in the 2003 World Cup final. That led Australia to their previous highest score of 359, which they also reached against India in Sydney in early 2004. "Although things didn't start well everyone here has probably witnessed one of the greatest batting performances they've ever seen," said Ponting. "Andrew Symonds' innings was something very, very special and for a team score almost 370 after being 3-10 is spectacular stuff."

Ponting's century was his 19th in limited overs games while Symonds posted his first on Australian soil and appeared on course to break Mark Waugh's record of 173.

There was some drama during the epic stand. With Ponting on 57, he played a shot in the air to backward point and Mahela Jayawardene claimed the catch. Ponting, who has long argued for teams to accept the word of fieldsmen in tight catches, didn't leave and was given not out. TV replays were inconclusive.

When Ponting eventually fell, Symonds stepped up his brutal assault, sharing a stand of 73 in 6.3 overs with Michael Clarke. Ponting and Symonds hit three sixes apiece and were particularly savage on Sri Lanka's star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who finished with 0-99 off his 10 overs.

Clarke (54 off 28) and Michael Hussey (23 off eight balls) continued the onslaught after Symonds' dismissal and carried Australia to a mammoth total.

On a day of records, Muralitharan's figures provided another: it was the worst-ever 10-over return by a bowler in limited-overs internationals.

Only New Zealander Martin Snedden has conceded more runs in a one-day international, but his 2-105 was off 12 overs in the 60-over World Cup in 1983.

Muralitharan, who has a career best of 5-9 off 10 overs against New Zealand, conceded at least six runs every over he bowled, and went for 53 off his final four. His runs conceded per over were 7-6-14-7-6-6-12-8-12-21 and the final indignity came in the 10th when he bowled a no-ball that Hussey hit for six. His previous worst figures, in 269 games, were 2-73 against Pakistan in 1996-97 and on only three other occasions has he gone for 60 or more.

Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu paid tribute to Symonds and Ponting.

"They were two terrific knocks which you have to admire," he said. "They treated the crowd to a fantastic display." Game three of the finals series will be played in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"We are glad to be in the finals, considering the form of the last few months, and we'll just keep enjoying that," said Atapattu. Sri Lanka had a 22-run victory in the first tri-series Friday at Adelaide Oval.

Scoreboard:

Australia: A Gilchrist c Dilshan b Vaas 0, S Katich lbw b Vaas 1, R Ponting c Vaas b Perera 124, D Martyn c Jayawardene b Vaas 8, A Symonds lbw b Vaas 151, M Clarke not out 54, M Hussey not out 23, Extras (lb-1, w-4, nb-2) 7, Total (for 5 wkts, 50 overs) 368.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-2, 3-10, 4-247, 5-320

Bowling: Vaas 10-0-56-4, Perera 10-0-72-1, Kulasekara 5-0-41-0, Muralitharan 10-0-99-0, Dilshan 2-0-10-0, Jayasuriya 8-0-52-0, Bandara 5-0-37-0.

Sri Lanka: M Atapattu c Gilchrist b Clark 24, S Jayasuriya c Lee b Bracken 0, K Sangakkara b Bracken 13, M Jayawardene b Hogg 50, R Arnold not out 64, T Dilshan c Ponting b Symonds 13, C Kapugedera run out 1, C Vaas c Clarke b Hogg 0, M Bandara c Clark b Symonds 0, M Muralitharan c Lewis b Bracken 27, R Perera c Ponting b Bracken 0, Extras (lb-4, w-2, nb-3) 9, Total (all out, 36 overs) 201.

Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-26, 3-74, 4-116, 5-139, 6-145, 7-146, 8-147, 9-200, 10-201.

Bowling:Lee 8-0-42-0,Bracken 6-0-30-4,Clark 5-0-28-1,Lewis 5-0-30-0, Symonds 5-1-32-2,Hogg 7-0-35-2.

Man of the match: Andrew Symonds.