HAMBANTOTA: Australia captain Michael Clarke has urged his players to raise their game in order to clinch the five-match series after the tourists were let down by their batsmen during the third One-Day International, resulting in a 78-run defeat.
This was Australia’s first defeat in six matches under Clarke who replaced Ricky Ponting after the World Cup.
Sri Lanka rode on opener Upul Tharanga’s 111 to post a challenging 286 for nine before dismissing Australia for 208, with fast-bowler Lasith Malinga (five for 28) proving to be the destroyer-in-chief.
“We’ve work to do,” said Clarke. “To play against Sri Lanka in their home conditions, you have to be at your best.”
Clarke (46) and Michael Hussey (63) alone defied Sri Lanka’s attack as they added 71 for the fourth wicket, but the remaining batsmen faltered.
Malinga was backed by debutant seamer Shaminda Eranga, who removed Brad Haddin and Ponting (22) to jolt Australia’s top order.
“We came back well with the ball but our batting let us down,” said Clarke. “We have no excuses, we didn’t perform well and we know that.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.