Australian captain Michael Clarke was seen biting his nails from beyond the ropes during the thrilling final moments of the third final here on Thursday.

He later said in jest, after Australia's triumph, “I have run out of my fingernails. This has been a series where a lot of games have gone down to the wire and a few of us have grey hair as well.”

Clarke was all praise for his team and stand-in captain Shane Watson. “It was a tremendous performance. Today's performance was a huge improvement on how we executed our plans with the ball. McKay was superb. Watson did a fine job in leading the side. We managed to create a lot of pressure and defended extremely well. Credit to the Sri Lankans for fighting hard.”

Clarke said he would be fit for the Test series in the West Indies that follows the ODIs there.

Jayawardene's lament

Although Tillakaratne Dilshan winning the Man of the Series award for his all-round display would have come as some consolation, the Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene was disappointed. “Initially if we were given 231 we would have taken it. But we did not get too many partnerships going and it was just one of those days where we did not bat well enough. I am a hard task-master and all the hard work would have been worth it had we won the series,” he said.

Jayawardene was appreciative of his men. “I am very proud of the boys. They showed a lot of character when the chips were down and always accepted a challenge. We are just trying to build a team for the future and there is a good mix of young and old talent. We have a lot of positives to take back from this.”

The Sri Lankan captain said, “I would like to thank the crowd for their support in the series. I also want to congratulate Australia. They were the better team tonight.”

Dilshan said “I am disappointed tonight with how we finished the series. We have played this series very well after coming here from South Africa. It has been a difficult period after the World Cup for us but we competed hard. On a personal front, I am pleased to have done well in all the departments of the game.”

Dilshan believed the side lost too many wickets early on during the chase. He admitted, “I took the wrong option against Brett Lee.”

Thanking supporters

“Australia bowled and fielded extremely well. We have enjoyed great support from the crowds in Australia and I would like to thank all the Sri Lankans who cheered for us in this country,” added Dilshan.

Man of the Match Clint McKay said, “I think my batting at the end of our innings was very important so that we could give ourselves something to bowl at. We thought 231 was enough and that if we bowled well we could defend it.”

The paceman, who has fought back from fitness concerns, said, “It has been a long 18-month break for me and it is just nice to be back playing with the boys. We also fielded well and created the pressure. The role of the coaching staff has been exceptional.”


Steadfast Australians have the last laugh March 8, 2012

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