Australia fall to another defeat

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The Independent Online

Australia's Ashes build-up suffered another blow today when Sri Lanka clinched the Commonwealth Bank series - and inflicted a seventh successive defeat on the hosts - with a convincing 29-run victory in Sydney.

The tourists dominated throughout and not even several rain delays, which threatened to derail their progress, enabled Ricky Ponting's side to escape another morale-sapping setback.

Sri Lanka made 213 for three from 41.1 overs before inclement weather halted their innings - Upul Tharanga top-scoring with an unbeaten 86 - with Australia's reply falling well short.

Their target was set under the Duckworth-Lewis method to 244 from 39 overs, and then revised again to 240 from 38 after more rain.

It proved to be beyond them as Sri Lanka's bowlers, led by the evergreen Muttiah Muralitharan, strangled Australia to secure a 2-0 series win - their first on Australian soil - and render the third and final match in Brisbane on Sunday a dead rubber.