Thirimanne ton squares series
Lahiru Thirimanne's maiden international century eased Sri Lanka to an eight-wicket victory in Adelaide that levelled the one-day international series with Australia.
Thirimanne brought up his hundred and the winning runs in style with a square cut that raced to the boundary, as the tourists improved significantly on their disappointing performance in Friday’s opening match at Melbourne, which the hosts won by 107 runs.
Australia had earlier been dismissed for just 170 after losing the toss, with Brad Haddin the only batsman to offer any real resistance.
Haddin, who later limped out of the action with a hamstring problem, was the last man out for 50, while Lasith Malinga finished as the pick of the bowlers with 3-32. Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera claimed two wickets apiece.
Thirimanne, run out without facing at the MCG, then shared 137 with Tillakaratne Dilshan to leave the five-match series intriguingly poised ahead of Friday’s third ODI at Brisbane.
The left-hander had showed signs of his quality earlier on the tour when making 91 in the final Test at Sydney and continued to build his reputation with an impressive unbeaten 102 today.
He and Dilshan were rarely troubled after Clint McKay had induced a thin edge through to Haddin from Upul Tharanga with the third delivery of Sri Lanka’s chase.
A below-par performance in the field by the hosts was exacerbated by Haddin’s injury and the removal from the attack of debutant Kane Richardson, who repeatedly encroached on the wicket in his followthrough.
Although Dilshan offered an easy catch to point on 51, providing Ben Cutting - another new face in Australia’s side - with his first ODI wicket, Thirimanne remained unruffled and guided Sri Lanka to their first win of the tour, with more than nine overs to spare, in the company of a third debutant, Kushal Perera.
Australia’s innings began poorly in bowler-friendly conditions with Aaron Finch and first-game centurion Phil Hughes failing to reach double figures.
Sri Lanka’s seam attack continued to take wickets at regular intervals to restrict Australia to 83 for six before Haddin and Cutting offered belated resistance in a partnership of 57.
Cutting was eventually caught behind for 27 and Australia were subsequently dismissed with 19 balls unused when Haddin holed out to deep midwicket.