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Sri Lanka comeback stuns Australia in Melbourne

First one-day international, Melbourne:
Sri Lanka 243-9 (44.2 ovs) beat Australia 239-8 (50 ovs) by one wicket

Match scorecard

Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews
Malinga and Mathews set a new one-day international record for the ninth wicket

A record ninth-wicket partnership between Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga took Sri Lanka from the brink of defeat to victory against Australia.

Australia made 239-8 and had Sri Lanka rattled at 107-8, with Xavier Doherty taking four wickets and a run-out.

But then Mathews (77 not out) and Malinga (56) put on 132 before Muttiah Muralitharan hit the winning run.

Australia will play Sri Lanka in two more one-dayers before taking on England in the five-Test Ashes series.

Mathews and Malinga's ninth-wicket stand was a record in one-day international cricket, beating the previous mark of 126 set by India pair Kapil Dev and Syed Kirmani in the 1983 World Cup against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells.

"It was a dramatic finish and the way Lasith batted was excellent," said man-of-the-match Mathews, whose unbeaten 77 came from 84 deliveries.

606: DEBATE
Dilbert

"I gave the spinners to Lasith to deal with while I took on the pace. I'm still catching my breath and to do this against Australia is a great achievement."

Until tail-ender Malinga joined 23-year-old Mathews at the crease, it seemed like the headlines would be stolen by debutant Doherty, who finished with figures of 4-46.

His left-arm spin clean bowled captain Kumar Sangakkara for 49, before Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva and Nuwan Kulasekara - for a duck - also fell to the slow left-armer.

The 27-year-old had earlier removed Upul Tharanga with a superb flicked throw from mid-off.

Sri Lanka had collapsed to 107-8 and an early finish was on the cards, but Malinga had other ideas.

The pace bowler became a potent striker of the ball, smashing 56 from 48 balls and hitting six fours and two sixes.

HIGHEST ODI NINTH-WICKET STANDS
132 - AD Mathews & SL Malinga, SL v Aus, Nov 2010
126* - Kapil Dev & SMH Kirmani, Ind v Zim, Jun 1983
118 - JP Yadav & IK Pathan, Ind v NZ, Aug 2005
103 - SM Pollock & TM Odoyo, Africa XI v Asia XI, Jun 2007
101 - MS Dhoni & RP Singh, Ind v WI, Jun 2009

Unfortunately for the sprightly paceman, with the scores level and more than six overs to spare, Steve Smith made him pay for a dicey run with a direct hit, with one run needed for victory and one wicket remaining.

Mathews saw out the rest of the over to leave last man Muralitharan on strike.

One of the greatest bowlers of all time then became his country's saviour with the bat, hitting Shane Watson for four with the second ball of the 45th over.

Earlier, Michael Hussey scored an unbeaten 71 although the home side were restricted to 239-8 thanks to a brilliant performance from 21-year-old Thisara Perera, who took 5-46 from eight overs.

Australia stand-in captain Michael Clarke paid tribute to Sri Lanka but admitted his side were finding it hard to buy a win - having now six consecutive matches in all formats of the game.

"We probably could have been better with bat, and with Sri Lanka at 107-8 we should have won the game," said the skipper.

"All the boys are disappointed. We can't seem to turn the corner and get over the winning line.

"Sri Lanka are a great example - you can always win the game from whatever position you are in."

Clarke was deputising for skipper Ricky Ponting, who was on compassionate leave to attend the funeral of his grandmother in Launceston.



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see also
Australia suffer Twenty20 defeat
31 Oct 10 |  Cricket
Vaughan criticises Aussie attack
02 Nov 10 |  England
Pietersen sympathises with Rooney
31 Oct 10 |  England
Strauss predicts success in Ashes
28 Oct 10 |  England
Sri Lanka in Australia 2010
07 Nov 10 |  Cricket


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