Cricket: Australia fall to Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka revived their hopes of reaching the World Series final with a three-wicket victory over Australia yesterday.

The hard-hitting wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana justified his promotion to opener with a scintillating 77 from 79 balls to ease Sri Lanka to a vital win with 15 balls to spare.

In reply to Australia's 213 for 5 from 50 overs, Sri Lanka scored 214 for 7 in 47.3 overs to the dismay of a crowd of 60,000 at the MCG. Roshan Mahanama guided his side to the verge of victory with a patient 51.

Earlier, Ricky Ponting and Michael Bevan added 159 runs for a record fifth-wicket partnership in the history of limited-overs cricket. Ponting made 123 from 142 balls before being run out on the final ball.

Australia still lead the triangular competition with eight points from six games, two clear of West Indies, who have played one game more. Sri Lanka prop up the table with four points from five games but can still qualify for the best-of-three finals later this month.

WORLD SERIES CUP (Melbourne): Australia 213 for 5 (50 overs; R Ponting 123, M Bevan 65no). Sri Lanka 214 for 7 (47.3 overs; R Kaluwitharana 77, R Mahanama 51). Sri Lanka won by three wickets.