Michael Clarke and David Warner star as Australia level series against Sri Lanka
Tuesday 06 March 2012
Captain Michael Clarke and opener David Warner both scored centuries to help Australia score 271 for six in the second Commonwealth Bank Series Final against Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval.
Warner followed up his record-breaking 163 in Sunday's first final with exactly 100 today and Clarke smashed a quickfire 117 as the pair put on a 184-run partnership for the third wicket after Sri Lanka had made a decent start.
The visitors had limited Australia to 56 for two in the 16th over but they were left to rue a series of dropped catches - four in total - and sloppy misfields, and will need 272 runs for victory to tie the series and send it into a third and decisive final.
After winning the toss and opting to bat, Matthew Wade (14) set the tone early on as he punched two fours in the opening two overs through cover off the back foot.
However, Wade's innings came to an end in the fourth over when the wicketkeeper was bowled by Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Sri Lanka continued to heap pressure on Australia and almost had Shane Watson caught three balls later but he was dropped by Dilshan after slicing a Farveez Maharoof delivery.
Watson was dropped again in the 13th over when he drove deep down the ground where Rangana Herath charged in before back pedalling to spill the catch - an effort unlike his phenomenal one-handed diving grab on Sunday.
Watson's charmed innings did not last much longer, though, and he departed when Maharoof collected off his own bowling and fired in a direct hit to run out the 30-year-old well short of his crease.
With Sri Lanka keeping their opponents in check, Warner finally opened up his shoulders and freed himself with a thumping 99-metre six that cleared the long-on fence as the first drinks break was called.
The diminutive batsman eventually reached his subdued half-century and 50-run partnership with Clarke in the 25th over.
The run rate began to dip below four an over however until Australia took their second batting powerplay in the 32nd over.
The hosts smashed 37 runs in those five overs as Clarke reached his half-century and Warner became the leading run scorer of the tri-series.
Clarke punished Sri Lanka in the 44th over when he plundered 23 runs including two sixes and two fours from Maharoof.
On the first ball Lasith Malinga fumbled Clarke on the deep square leg rope as the ball skipped across for six, before the 2012 Allan Border Medallist smashed a four, a six, another four that was also called a no ball and a single to wrap up a ferocious over.
Clarke brought up his seventh ODI ton the next over before Warner recorded his second century in three days in the 46th over.
Warner's gutsy innings came to end four balls later when he drove a shot in the air to deep cover where Dilshan held on, the opener having faced 140 balls and scored just four boundaries and a six.
Mike Hussey wasted no time in getting into his stride with a reverse sweep for four off his second ball, while Clarke smashed his fourth six moments later.
Hussey's aggressive stance for six came to an abrupt end in the 47th over when Malinga ripped out his leg stump.
A limping Clarke was eventually dismissed late on, caught at mid-wicket having struck five boundaries to go with his quartet of sixes in a 91-ball knock.
David Hussey was then bowled for seven off the final ball of the innings by Malinga, who finished with figures for three for 40 from 10.
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