Australia edge Sri Lanka in a nervy thriller

Angelo Mathews threatened to snatch an incredible win but Australians held their nerve for a 5-run win over Sri Lanka.

By Jatin Thakkar and Soham Sarkhel

Australia 231; Sri Lanka 226 (Australia won by 5 Runs)

The scorecard of the match is here.

Australia managed to notch up their second victory of the CB series after a late fight back by Angelo Mathews and the Lankan team almost thwarted their efforts earlier in the day. The win further solidifies Australia's lead at the top of the table.

In the match, Australia had a Team IMPACT of 2.16 whereas Sri Lanka's was 2.07.

All figures between 0 and 5 unless otherwise mentioned.

Australia:


Sri Lanka:


*Figures in the brackets represent the players' Match IMPACT when it is not restricted between 0 and 5, as it is in a career context.

Observations:

Angelo Mathews
was the player with the highest IMPACT (7.30*) in the match with his all-round performance (Both Batting and Bowling IMPACT above 1) His rear-guard attack with the Sri Lankan tail-enders almost managed to gift them a victory which seemed improbable at a point of time.

Another player who impressed with his all-round skills today in the match was the Australian skipper Michael Clarke, his overall MATCH IMPACT of 6.84* was second only to Mathews. His knock of 56 during the Australian essay was the only knock of solidarity displayed by any of the Aussie batsmen. His decision to bring himself on while the Sri Lankan innings also paid rich dividends as he struck with his first ball taking out the well-set Chandimal.

Earlier in the day the Australian top order failed miserably to build a solid platform as both Wade and Ponting departed with a score of only 1 run against their name. David Warner however failed to get bogged down by the early proceedings and carried on with his usual aggressive stroke play. His Batting IMPACT of 2.93 was second only to that of Michael Clarke's.

Warner also managed to absorb pressure (Pressure IMPACT) as his knock was at a time when Australia had lost their top order very cheaply and needed him the most. Even though Australia managed to score at a brisk rate during the middle overs, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals and in the end it took Clint McKay (Batting IMPACT 1.48) to show some skills with his bat to hand Australia a competitive score of 231.

Sri Lanka in their bowling efforts were disciplined throughout the day, a statement well justified by the fact that four of their bowlers namely- Senanayake, Malinga, Mathews and Kulasekara had a Bowling IMPACT of over 2. Kulasekara in particular was responsible for Australia's trouble at the start of their innings and also had the best Economy IMPACT among all the Lankan bowlers.

Sri Lanka's reply to Australia's first innings' score of 231 started off on a bright note with both Sangakarra and Dilshan leading the chase from the front after the early loss of Tharanga. However it took a brilliant effort on the field by McKay off his own bowling to dislodge Sangakarra in the form of a run out. Sangakarra's fall coupled with Xavier Doherty's nagging accuracy slowed down Sri Lanka considerably and would go on to be the phase where Sri Lanka in totality lost the plot.

Xavier Doherty (Bowling IMPACT 2.82) was highly impressive with the ball and got rid of Thirimanne and Senanayake at the most opportune moment possible for the Aussies. Doherty also managed to have an Economy IMPACT for his tight bowling and ended up with figures of 10-0-24-2. Dinesh Chandimal (Batting IMPACT 2.24) paced his innings brilliantly for his knock of 38 before being adjudged leg before wicket to the bowling of Michael Clarke. Under fire Tillakaratne Dilshan (Batting IMPACT 2.49) also managed to hand Sri Lanka a brisk start with his knock of 40 before falling to the only wicket of Ryan Harris and had the second best batting impact for his team after Mathews.

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