Fast-bowler Brett Lee and spinner Xavier Doherty took four wickets apiece as Australia crushed Sri Lanka by five wickets to win the fourth One-Day International and take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Sri Lanka won the toss for the third time in the series and chose to bat, but the decision backfired as Lee and Doherty bowled them out for 132 in 38.4 overs.
Former captain Mahela Jayawardene top-scored with a painstaking 53 off 102 balls and Kumar Sangakkara made 31. The rest of the batting hardly made an impression, with the last seven batsmen failing to enter double figures.
Lee ended with figures of four for 15 and Doherty a career-best four for 28.
Australia lost Shane Watson (12) and Ricky Ponting (0) in a single over from Lasith Malinga, but Shaun Marsh and skipper Michael Clarke put together 97 off 116 balls before debutant spinner Seekuge Prasanna picked up three wickets in four balls to cause a late alarm in the Australian batting ranks.
Prasanna dismissed top scorer Marsh for 70 off 80 balls (11 fours, 1 six) and Michael Hussey (0) from successive deliveries and David Hussey (0) off his fourth to finish with figures of three for 32.
Clarke was unbeaten on 38 along with Brad Haddin (5) as the winning runs came from four leg byes.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.