Australia struggle prior to abandonment
Australia’s batting frailties were exposed once again before the fourth one-day international with Sri Lanka fell victim to rain in Sydney.
The hosts were grateful to Mitchell Starc’s unbeaten 52 as they laboured to 222 for nine after winning the toss. David Warner was the only other batsman to impress with an innings of 60 that was terminated when a thick edge onto pad went unnoticed.
Sri Lanka reached 14 without loss from 3.2 overs in reply before showers forced a stoppage. Although the clouds soon cleared, the umpires decided conditions were unsuitable for play, meaning Australia must now win the fifth and final ODI in Hobart to square the series.
Dismissed for just 74 at the Gabba two days ago, Michael Clarke’s side were again troubled by the seaming ball today.
Nuwan Kulasekara delivered another impressive display en route to figures of 3-30 and there were two wickets apiece for Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera and slow left-armer Rangana Herath.
Kulasekara made the initial inroads, squaring up Phil Hughes to have the opener caught behind in his first over and winning an lbw verdict against Clarke with a big inswinger. Australia’s captain, who made 20, called for a review, a decision that was to have consequences later in the innings.
After David Hussey had been caught at slip for one off Lasith Malinga, George Bailey and Matthew Wade offered support to Warner, who was forced to knuckle down after a typically aggressive start to his innings.
Bailey picked out mid-on facing Herath to fall for 22, but a bigger blow was to come as Warner was wrongly given out lbw to Perera by umpire Marais Erasmus. The left-hander, unable to review following Clarke’s earlier call, made his disgust clear as he left the field.
Moises Henriques was also adjudged lbw despite an apparent inside edge and Australia continued to slide as Malinga trapped Johnson lbw and Wade slashed Perera to third man.
Starc did his best to rescue the situation with a succession of lusty blows, but his breezy 37-ball knock, which helped Australia add an unbroken 40 for the 10th wicket in 4.1 overs, ultimately proved immaterial.