Lahiru Thirimanne’s unbeaten century helped Sri Lanka to an eight-wicket win over of an injury-hit Australia on Sunday to level the five-match ODI series at 1-1.
Thirimanne contributed 102 from 166 balls as Sri Lanka reached 172-2 with almost 10 overs to spare in reply to Australia’s 170.
Australia won the series-opener by 107 runs on Friday but lost two pacemen Mitchell Starc and Mitch Johnson to injury between the matches.
Compounding those concerns, recalled wicketkeeper Brad Haddin limped off with a hamstring strain early in Sri Lanka’s run chase.
Australia was forced to give fast bowlers Ben Cutting and Kane Richardson an international debut, with teenager Richardson having a forgettable match. He was out for a first-ball duck and bowled six wicketless overs before his spell was suspended for frequently running on the pitch.
The Australians batted first and lost wickets at regular intervals, with the inexperienced top-order failing.
David Hussey (29) and skipper George Bailey (26) bolstered the middle-order.
The Australians were dismissed in the 47th over, with Lasith Malinga taking 3-32.
Australia coach Mickey Arthur said it was likely regular skipper Michael Clarke, opener David Warner and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade would return for the third match at Brisbane on Friday. He also said Johnson and Starc would be back in contention.
Thirimanne said Sri Lanka was happy with the way it responded to the opening loss in Melbourne, regardless of the strength of the Australian line-up.
“We won’t think about it that way, if it’s Australia ‘A’ or Australia ‘B,’ it doesn’t matter,” he said. “We just want to win the series.”
Australia: A. Finch c J. Mendis b Mathews 4, P. Hughes lbw b Kulasekara 3, G. Bailey c Thirimanne b Malinga 26, D. Hussey (run out) 29, S. Smith c K. Perera b T. Perera 8, G. Maxwell c K. Perera b Mathews 8, B. Haddin c Thirimanne b A. Mendis 50, B. Cutting c K. Perera b Malinga 27, K. Richardson lbw b Malinga 0, C. McKay c K. Perera b T. Perera 4, X. Doherty (not out) 5; Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-4): 6; Total (in 46.5 overs): 170.
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-12, 3-51, 4-60, 5-82, 6-83, 7-140, 8-140, 9-146.
Sri Lanka bowling: Kulasekara 9-0-24-1, Mathews 10-1-24-2, T. Perera 9-0-40-2, Malinga 9-0-32-3, A. Mendis 7.5-0-41-1, J. Mendis 2-0-7-0.
Sri Lanka: U. Tharanga c Haddin b McKay 0, T. Dilshan c Maxwell b Cutting 51, L. Thirimanne (not out) 102, K. Perera (not out) 14; Extras (lb-3, w-2): 5; Total (for two wkts. in 40.1 overs): 172.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-137.
Australia bowling: McKay 10-0-43-1, Richardson 6-3-15-0, Cutting 10-0-42-1, Doherty 7-0-34-0, Smith 4-0-16-0, Maxwell 3.1-0-19-0.
Man-of-the-match: L. Thirimanne.