Australia, March 8
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 ó which also included India ó after scoring a modest 231 in its 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 Lankaís 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.
Australia won the best-of-three finals series 2-1. Sri Lanka won by eight wickets when chasing a higher total here 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 Tuesday.
"We knew we had to step up, especially after the last game, we were very disappointed," he said. "Thatís a serious performance to defend 231 on that wicket, so Iím very proud of all the boys."
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene felt his side lacked a partnership at the start of its 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."
Lee took the first two wickets for Australia on Thursday ó man-of-the-series Tillakaratne Dilshan on eight and Kumar Sangakkara, 19 off nine balls. McKay dismissed Dinesh Chandimal on five and Jayawardene on 15 to leave the Sri Lankans in early trouble.
But Sri Lanka rebounded with a 60-run fifth-wicket stand between Lahiru Thirimanne (30) and Tharanga, only for McKay to return and strike again and boast figures of 3-12 from his initial six overs.
Tharanga and Nuwan Kulasekara notched a quick 30 runs before Lee, who finished with 3-59, dismissed Kulasekara for 15.
Sri Lanka needed a run a ball from the final six overs when Tharangaís match-high score from 122 balls came to an end after being dismissed by Watson (2-13).
Rangana Herath and allrounder Farveez Maharoof took three wickets each for Sri Lanka while openers Matthew Wade (49) and David Warner (48) were the top scorers in the Australia innings.
The Australians lost three wickets for eight runs in four overs during a lull from the 20th over. That included the run out of Watson for 19 and opener Wade, caught behind off the bowling of Herath after wicketkeeper Sangakkara juggled but held the catch.
Peter Forrest (3) was Herathís second wicket, bowled in the 27th over to leave Australia in trouble at 135-5.
Clarke has a left hamstring injury and has been ruled out of the five-match limited-overs series in the West Indies later this month, but selectors hope heíll recover in time to play in the test series in the Caribbean in April.
Spinner Nathan Lyon was out for 0, Australiaís last wicket, in his limited-overs international debut on his home ground. He replaced the injured James Pattinson, who has a strained buttock muscle.