PERTH, Feb 10 (PTI): Sri Lanka rode on Angelo Mathews� heroics to very nearly pull off a sensational victory before falling short by just five runs against Australia in a nerve-wrecking cricket tri-series match here today.
Chasing a modest target of 232, the islanders were in the dumps as they were 180 for nine in the 45th over before all-rounder Mathews (64) staged a remarkable fightback to give a scare at the Australians at the WACA.
Mathews unleashed a flurry of strokes at the dying stages to raise visions of a stunning come-from-behind victory with a 46-run partnership with Dhammika Prasad but eventually fell in the penultimate ball to give the hosts their second successive win in the tournament. Mathews faced 76 balls and hit four boundaries and a six in his entertaining knock.
Australia had earlier beaten India by 65 runs in their first match on February 5 at the MCG. Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty was the pick of the Australian bowlers as he scalped two wickets for 24 runs in his 10 overs. Pacer Daniel Christian also bagged two wickets for 47 runs.
Captain Clarke used as many a six bowlers, including himself and all of them claimed at least a wicket. Pacers Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc and Clinton McKay as well as Clarke picked a wicket each.
For Sri Lanka, who wasted a fine bowling effort by their bowlers to restrict Australia for 231, it was their second successive loss in the tournament having beaten by India by four wickets in their first match at the same venue here on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka did not have any substantial partnership except for the second wicket stand of 50 runs from 11 overs between Tillakaratne Dilshan (40) and Kumar Sangakkara (22).
Opener Upul Tharanga (5) was the first to go in the fourth over as he dabbed at an angled delivery off Starc without moving his feet and the resultant edge was calmly taken by Clarke at the slips.
Australia: D Warner b Mathews 34, M Wade c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 1, R Ponting lbw b Malinga 1, M Clarke c Jayawardene b Mathews 57, M Hussey c and b Kulasekara 23, D Hussey c Thirimanne b Malinga 27, D Christian st Sangakkara b Senanayake 33, R Harris c Kulasekara b Senanayake 3, C McKay c Thirimanne b Prasad 25, M Starc c Tharanga b Prasad 14, X Doherty not out 2. Extras: (LB-6, W-5) 11. Total: (all out; 49.1 overs) 231. Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-26, 3-50, 4-81, 5-130, 6-180, 7-190, 8-192, 9-224. Bowling: Malinga 10-0-48-2, Kulasekara 10-0-39-2, Mathews 9-0-37-2, Prasad 9.1-0-55-2, Senanayake 10-0-45-2, Dilshan 1-0-1-0.
Sri Lanka innings: Tharanga c Clarke b Starc 5, Dilshan c Wade b Harris 40, Sangakkara run out 22, Chandimal lbw b Clarke 37, Jayawardene c Wade b Christian 13, Thirimanne b Doherty 3, Mathews c Christain b Starc 64, Kulasekara c Wade b Christian 8, Senanayake st Wade b Doherty 9, Malinga c Wade b McKay 1, Prasad not out 15. Extras: (lb-3, w-6) 9. Total: (all out in 49.5 overs) 226. Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-61, 3-88, 4-110, 5-119, 6-129, 7-143, 8-175, 9-180. Bowling: R Harris 10-0-43-1, M Starc 9.5-0-50-2, C McKay 10-0-50-1, D Christian 8-1-47-2, X Doherty 10-0-24-2, M Clarke 2-0-9-1.