Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga starred for Sri Lanka in a thrilling one-wicket One Day International victory against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The hosts appeared to be cruising to their first international victory since July when debutant Xavier Doherty’s 4-46 helped reduce Sri Lanka to 107-8 in pursuit of 240.
However, a brilliant world record ninth wicket partnership of 132 runs between Malinga, (56) and Mathews (who finished unbeaten on 77) saw the visitors draw level by the 44th over.
Malinga then naively ran himself out searching for the winning run, but veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan saw them home with a boundary in the next over.
Kumar Sangakkara’s team visit Lord’s for a Test and One Day International next summer.
Sri Lanka continue to thrill
Sri Lanka underlined why they are considered one of the most enthralling limited overs teams in the world with a magnificent counter attacking win.
Mathews and Malinga’s phenomenal stand included 14 fours and three massive sixes, with Malinga twice clearing the ropes straight down the ground.
The number ten’s efforts seem even more remarkable considering his overall ODI batting average, which remains below ten.
Meanwhile Mathews, 23, produced a consummate finisher’s knock, compiling his innings from 84 balls and seeing them through to the finish.
Tough day at the office
Australia One Day captain Michael Clarke and his team appeared helpless against the Sri Lanka onslaught - with Ashes spearhead Mitchell Johnson flayed for 68 runs from his ten overs.
It was a better night for batsman Mike Hussey and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin. Hussey finished unbeaten on 71 and Haddin made 49 at the top of the order.
However Australia's sixth consecutive international defeat will have further damaged confidence within the squad, even without the likes of Ricky Ponting, Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus in the side.