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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 11:05 GMT
Katich guides Aussies to victory
VB Series, Adelaide: Australia 219-5 beat Sri Lanka 218-8 by five wickets

A Symonds
Symonds took three wickets on a slow wicket in Adelaide

Australia eked out a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a VB Series clash in Adelaide played on a slow wicket.

Simon Katich (52) was the only man in the match to hit a half-century as the Aussies passed Sri Lanka's modest total of 218-8 with nine balls left.

Jehan Mubarak top-scored with 34 for the tourists, who were without opener Sanath Jayasuriya (thigh strain).

Sri Lanka reached 96-1 at one point in their innings but found it hard to up the run rate over the closing overs.

Andrew Symonds, Nathan Bracken and Brad Hogg clubbed together to take wickets at vital times.

Bracken, normally a left-arm quick, found himself much more effective bowling at medium pace with the wicket-keeper standing up.

He took out the middle-order engine room of Mahela Jayawardene and Marvan Atapattu, both right-handers chipping slower balls to catchers in the in-field.

With the ball barely coming onto the bat, Sri Lanka managed just 10 boundaries and three sixes in the course of their innings.

Six Sri Lankan batsmen got past 20, but none went on to play a major innings.

Adam Gilchrist, returning after being rested by the selectors, gave a scrappy wicket-keeping performance.

Under pressure to score runs, Simon Katich batted smartly
Under pressure to score runs, Simon Katich batted smartly

But he then stroked a confident 34 when opening the batting with Simon Katich.

Katich stayed on, batting intelligently after Brad Hodge, replacing the rested Ricky Ponting, fell for just five.

Having been under pressure to score runs in this game, Katich was finally caught behind off the off-spin of Tillakaratne Dilshan as he snicked a catch attempting a square cut.

Damien Martyn (46) and Symonds (32) took the score on from 115-3 in a fine 60-run partnership made from just 11 overs.

Both perished in Muttiah Muralitharan's penultimate over - Symonds swatting a catch to deep midwicket and Martyn bowled by one that nipped back.

With a little bit of tension in the air, Malinga Bandara immediately extracted edges from both the new batsmen, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke.

But there was no slip in place and once both batsmen had settled, the final push for victory was a simple affair.

There are times when players have needed a break and I think the selectors have gone about it in a very smart manner
Andrew Symonds

Acting skipper Gilchrist was delighted to ensure his team remained at the top of the table.

"I'm pleased with the way we restricted them," he said. "It was always going to be difficult chasing any total against that type of bowling.

"Their style of bowling suited that sort of wicket.

"We knew that Murali could get on a roll, he was the dangerman and he did open it up a little bit but that experience Clarke and Hussey are starting to build up got us home."

Man-of-the-match Symonds said he would happily play in every match, amid much talk about leading players being rested during the series.

"If I was asked to take a spell I'd probably kick and scream and say I didn't want one," he said.

"There are times when players have needed a break and I think the selectors have gone about it in a very smart manner.

"If this series gets tight and we have to go at 100mph there will be blokes who are fresh."


SEE ALSO
VB Series 2006
17 Jan 06 |  Future tour dates


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