Mike Hussey capped his final test before retirement by steering Australia to 141-5 and a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Sunday, completing a 3-0 series sweep.
Sri Lanka spinners Rangana Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan made Australia work hard to reach the small victory target, taking regular wickets, but the outcome was never in doubt.
With two runs needed, Hussey ran a single and the crowd cheered every block and dot ball from Mitchell Johnson until the paceman could no longer resist temptation and knocked off the winning single, finishing unbeaten on 1.
“What a place to finish,” Hussey said. “I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t want to bat at all. I was hoping we would get the runs with none down.”
Sri Lanka still has not won a test in Australia in 14 attempts and was left to rue its lack of runs in both innings. Only three batsmen scored more than 25 in the first innings and the loss of four middle—order wickets for just 24 runs stunted the second innings.
Dinesh Chandimal’s intelligent half—century helped Sri Lanka move from an overnight 225—7 to 278 all out in Sunday’s morning session and things looked a little tricky for Australia when opener David Warner edged Suranga Lakmal to second slip for a golden duck, contrasting with his first—innings 85.
But the other top—order batsman made handy contributions. Ed Cowan added a composed 88—ball 36, Phil Hughes was trapped lbw by Herath for 34 and captain Michael Clarke, who survived an lbw review on 13, was caught by Lahiru Thirimanne off Dilshan for 29.
A smart reverse sweep to the boundary elicited huge cheers from the modest 10,505 crowd on hand to watch Sunday’s coup de grace, and, after going into tea just five runs short of victory, Australia needed just 11 balls of the final session to reach its target.
Dhoni could not cash in on the chance and was out to Umar Gul when he went for a cut only to find Umar Akmal at point.
His 55-ball knock featured four boundaries, including three sixes.
With Dhoni’s dismissal, India’s hopes of a recovery were crushed even as Jadeja came up with a useful cameo of 27 with the help of two sixes.
Junaid and Irfan tested the Indians with some short and fast deliveries and succeeded in subduing the host’s top-order. The Kotla wicket had some juice and the Pakistani duo made full use of the conditions to keep the Indians under check.
India left out struggling opener Virender Sehwag and brought in Ajinkya Rahane, hoping for a good start, which has eluded the hosts right through the series.
Rahane (4) was never comfortable and fell prey to the seven—foot tall Irfan when he edged one to keeper Kamran Akmal.
Baring a few shots, Gautam Gambhir’s (15) stay was also uncomfortable before he gifted away his wicket by guiding a widish delivery off Irfan straight to point.
Local boy Virat Kohli (7) made a promising start with a boundary off Irfan, which got the spectators off thir seats.
But he was soon scalped by Junaid in the slip cordon.
With both the pacers bowling in tandem, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq let the two bowl an extended seven-over spell each. After 14 overs, India were reeling at 43 for three and the crowd, which braved a chilling winter to see their stars in action, had only five boundaries to enjoy.
Two of those five shots came from the blade of flamboyant left-hander Yuvraj Singh at the start of his innings. The introduction of Umar Gul gave India their best over as the paceman was spanked for 18 runs.
India’s joy, though, was short-lived as off-spinner Mohammed Hafeez castled Yuvraj with a faster one that spun from the middle before taking the bails off.
Keywords: Australia-Sri Lanka Test