Cricket

Australia keep Sri Lanka at bay

2012-03-04 14:02
David Warner (AP)

Brisbane - Australia beat a gallant Sri Lanka by 15 runs in the first tri-series one-day international final at the Gabba on Sunday.

After Australia made an imposing 321 for six, Sri Lanka replied with 306 in 49.2 overs.

The Sri Lankans were always going to struggle to reach the Australian total after David Warner blasted 163, the highest ever ODI score at the Gabba.

Warner was in magnificent touch as he smashed 13 fours and two sixes in his 157-ball innings, sharing in 50-run partnerships with Matthew Wade, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke.

For Sri Lanka it was an opening bowler, Nuwan Kulasekara, who starred with the bat, scoring 73 from just 43 balls with seven fours and three towering sixes.

Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan began well and attacked from the outset, scoring at a faster rate than the Australians had in their innings.

However, veteran pace bowler Brett Lee struck to remove both openers, before part-time spinner David Hussey enticed a false shot from in-form Dinesh Chandimal.

The match appeared as good as over when Lee struck again to get rid of Kumar Sangakkara for 42, leaving Sri Lanka struggling at 115 for four.

But a highly entertaining seventh wicket partnership of 104 from only 70 balls between Kulasekara and Upul Tharanga (60) -- including 68 runs in the five-over batting powerplay -- saw Sri Lanka claw their way back.

When Hussey struck again to dismiss Kulasekara the Australians were back in control, holding on despite some late hitting from Dhammika Prasad (31 not out).

The second final will be in Adelaide on Tuesday.

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