Warner gives Australia lead despite Sri Lanka's late flurry


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The Independent Online

David Warner smacked a swashbuckling 163 before Australia weathered a fierce fightback to secure a 15-run win over Sri Lanka in the first final of the one-day Tri-Series in Brisbane yesterday.

Warner's 157-ball innings propelled the home side to 321 for 6, a mountain that proved too high for Sri Lanka despite half-centuries from Nuwan Kulasekara and Upul Tharanga that threatened a comeback. The win gave Australia a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three final series – the teams head to Adelaide on Tuesday for the second final.

Warner hit two sixes and 13 boundaries in his hundred, which was Australia's sixth-highest individual score in one-day internationals, combining the wicketkeeper Matt Wade for a 136-run opening stand. Wade was out for 64, attempting to clear the long-on boundary – Rangana Herath dived back to take a spectacular catch. But Warner continued pillaging the Sri Lankan attack until he was bowled on the last ball by Dhammika Prasad.

Shane Watson made 21, Dan Christian 10 andDave Hussey 1, leaving Australia on 224 for 4 in the 40th over. Michael Clarke halted the slide with 37 on his return from injury before Mike Hussey struck 19 not out.

Sri Lanka's chase started brightly, with their openers, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, hitting Australia's pacemen around the ground. Brett Lee removed both of them in successive overs.

Lee and David Hussey combined to reduce Sri Lanka to 144 for 6 by the 31st over before Kulasekara (73 in 43 balls) and Tharanga (60 from 67) gave Australia a scare, firing the tourists to 248 with eight overs remaining. Kulasekara hit three sixes and seven fours to leave Sri Lankan fans jumping for joy, but was out swiping straight to extra cover for Hussey's fourth wicket. Hussey also had a hand in the eighth wicket, catching Tharanga for 60 off the bowling of Watson.

Prasad battled on with an unbeaten 31 but ran out of partners, with Lasith Malinga steering straight to Mike Hussey on the second ball of the last over to seal the defeat.

The Australian Dav Whatmore has been appointed as Pakistan's head coach for two years.