Australia end dismal run with win over Sri Lanka

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australia avoided an unwanted record as they cruised to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the third and final ODI in Brisbane.

Updated: November 07, 2010 11:37 IST
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Australia avoided an unwanted record as they cruised to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the third and final one-day international at Brisbane's Gabba ground on Sunday.

Staring at a record eighth straight international defeat, the Australians skittled Sri Lanka for 115 off 32 overs and rattled up the winning score of 119 for two off just 21.4 overs to canter home in the dead rubber match.

Despite the big defeat Sri Lanka return home having won their first series in Australia, after victories in Melbourne and Sydney.

Paceman Clint McKay put in a man-of-the-match performance with five for 33 off nine overs, supported by giant newcomer Mitchell Starc's four for 27 off nine to rip through the Sri Lankan innings.

Michael Clarke, standing in for skipper Ricky Ponting who was rested ahead of this month's Ashes series, hit the winning runs in an unbeaten 50, with Mike Hussey six not out.

"If we continue to learn, we will take some positives out of tonight," Clarke said. "Can we start our summer tonight?"

The Australians lost only the wickets of openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin in easing to victory over the lacklustre Sri Lankans.

Watson was out for 15 as he tried to steer a single to third man and instead picked out Angelo Mathews at slip off Dilhara Fernando in the sixth over.

Haddin top-edged a hook shot and was caught and bowled by Fernando for 31 with Australia 32 runs away from victory.

It was the young duo of McKay and Starc who wrecked the Sri Lankan innings, both bowlers enjoying the bounce and movement of the pitch, where the opening Ashes Test with England will be played in 18 days' time.

"It is a bit of relief but the belief we had in the group at the moment we knew we weren't too far away," McKay said.

"We had been playing good cricket at times but just hadn't come away with the win."

Only Chamara Silva (33) and Upul Tharanga (28) showed any resistance, while skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene made ducks.

"This was the only real bad performance of the tour," Sangakkara said.

"We're disappointed to end it like this but very happy to win the series."

Tillakaratne Dilshan was out in the third over, finding Hussey at forward square leg for an easy catch off McKay for one.

Sangakkara followed four balls later with a faint edge off McKay to wicketkeeper Haddin for a duck.

McKay, in a red hot spell on the seaming Gabba pitch, sent Jayawardene on his way without scoring, after a flying catch at second slip by Cameron White.

In eight balls, McKay tore through the Sri Lankan top order with a burst of three wickets for no runs.

Watson removed Sydney ODI top-scorer Tharanga leg before wicket for 28 off 53 balls in the 14th over to leave Sri Lanka at 50 for four.

Starc got his first ODI wicket when he bowled Melbourne hero Angelo Mathews off an inside edge for nine in the 22nd over.

Starc, who has only played 10 first-class games, then got one to lift and Jeevan Mendis fended a catch to Haddin for five for the giant left-armer's second wicket.

Starc ended Silva's 72-ball vigil, bowling him off an edge to leave the Sri Lankans tottering at 95 for seven in the 28th over.

McKay picked up his fourth wicket when Thisara Perera was well caught by Steven Smith, spinning around at backward point to get under the swirling ball.

Suraj Randiv was McKay's fifth victim when he was bowled for seven attempting a big hit, while Lasith Malinga was the last man out caught in the deep to give Starc his fourth scalp.

Malinga was named man of the series while a stiff and sore Muttiah Muralitharan was rested from the final ODI as a precaution.

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