Australia had the last laugh as they turned tables on Sri Lanka’s spinning formula to win the fifth and final ODI and wrap up the series 4-1 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Sunday night after bowling out the home team for 195.
For Australia it was just the kind of sign-off and final say on slow turning pitches prescribed against them that cost them the Test series. The end result was that Sri Lanka could do very little against a settled Australian team who carry the tag of World champions in the ODI format.
Australian stand-in skipper David Warner proved a worthy replacement in the job in the absence of Steven Smith as he kept his composure and rallied his charges at a time Sri Lanka appeared to run away with the contest at 73 for no loss at one stage.
Warner’s strategy paid off with his bowling changes as Sri Lanka collapsed to 78 for 3 as James Faulkner made the breakthrough having Dhananjaya de Silva (34) caught by Mitchell Starc at mid-on followed by spinner Adam Zampa bowling top scorer Dhanushka Gunatilleke for 39.
Starc came on and then accounted for Dinesh Chandimal caught behind for one run and any hopes Sri Lanka may have had of repairing the innings was destroyed by John Hastings who dismissed Kusal Mendis (33) caught behind by Matthew Wade.
Sri Lanka crashed for 195 in 40.2 overs and were never given any chance of staging a recovery as the Australian bowlers gave nothing away until Starc came on once again and plucked two wickets in two balls clean bowling Dilruwan Perera (5) and Suranga Lakmal (0) to finish with three scalps.
Warner made a timely comeback to form ahead of the T20 series starting at the same venue on Tuesday as he made amends for a string of low scores with the bat by becoming the first Australian to hit a hundred in an ODI match in Sri Lanka.
He anchored the innings with 106 in 126 balls taking no risks as he pulled out Australia from 25 for 2 with a stand of 132 runs for the fourth wicket with George Bailey (44) in the absence of Aaron Finch who did not bat.
Bailey bagged the man-of-the-series award for an aggregate of 270 runs in the five matches.
Sri Lanka 195 in 40.2 overs (Dhananjaya de Silva 34, Dhanushka Gunatilleke 39, Kusal Mendis 33, Sachith Pathirana 32, Mitchell Starc 3 for 40, Adam Zampa 2 for 43, Travis Head 2 for 22)
Australia 199 for 5 in 43 overs (David Warner 106, George Bailey 44, Dilruwan Perera 3 for 51)