Sri Lanka’s chances of making it to the finals of the CB Series became dim as they lost to the Aussies for the third time. Rain brought a premature end to the 9th ODI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with Sri Lanka crawling at 77 for 4 in 29.3 overs! This was after chasing a moderate target of 185. Australia emerged as the winning team by 28 runs according to the Duckworth Lewis Method which needed SL to have 102 on the board.
It was a golden opportunity for Sri Lanka to upset Australia after they had restricted them for 184 for 7 having asked them to bat first. Chaminda Vaas and Farveez Maharood bowled incredibly well to have the Aussies struggling at 54 for 4 in over 21 overs. Maharoof, coming in at one change bowled out his 10 overs on the trot conceding just 20 besides removing Hayden (23 from 53) and Symonds. The all rounder was also instrumental in getting Ricky Ponting (11) run out. The inform Michael Clarke (50 from 69 balls with 4 fours) came to the rescue again for his team and he was ably assisted by Michael Hussey (64 from 98 with just one four) with the pair putting on 90 for the 5th wicket. None of the Sri Lankan bowlers had been costly for Mahela Jayawardene.
The Aussies had a fighting total to defend, especially on a heavy outfield. Stuart Clark provided them the much needed early wicket of Sanath Jayasuriya, caught playing an expansive drive off the first ball he had faced! Clark also went onto remove the other opener, rookie Dilruwan Perera, who was unlucky to be given out lbw. Sangakkara and Skipper Jayawardene came in a tough position and were forced to bat cautiously. The Aussies made them work hard for each and every run and soon the pair fell in the trap of improvising in their strokeplay. First, Jayawardene (27 from 45 with 3 fours) fell steering Nathan Bracken into the gloves of Gilchrist and then a few overs later, Sangakkara (22 from 59) got out miscuing a hook shot off Hopes.
Sri Lanka were going nowhere at 77 for 4 when rain kept pouring to give no chance of any further action. Chamara Silva was on 16 fro 47 and Dilshan on 9 from 14 when play was stopped. With the kind of batting that was left for the tourists, it seemed extremely difficult for the Lankans to get the remaining runs. Michael Hussey got the Man of the Match for his responsible knock.