New Delhi:Adam Gilchrist produced a scintillating 83 off 50 balls before a batting collapse by Australia gave Sri Lanka a consolation 13 runs victory in their tri-series one-day international on Friday.
The tourists, in their final match of the tri-series, made 221, and Australia looked well set when Gilchrist launched an extraordinary attack at the top of the order.
However, in a disappointing performance just two days away from their first tri-series final against India, the home side were dismissed for 208 from 48.1 overs to end a seven-match winning streak against the Sri Lankans.
Gilchrist smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the ground and Australia had already raced to 107 when opening partner James Hopes was controversially bowled for 28 by Muttiah Muralitharan (2-42) in the 15th over.
Ishara Amerasinghe led the Sri Lankan bowlers with three for 44.
Earlier, Sri Lanka were all out for 221 in 50 overs.
The islanders found themselves in trouble at a precarious 61 for four by the 20th over before captain Mahela Jayawardene (50) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (62) pulled the team out of the pits with a fighting batting display.
Dilshan then found an able ally in Chamara Silva (35) to take Sri Lanka's score close to the 200 mark on a Melbourne Cricket Ground track which was not really conducive for strokeplay.
Lanky paceman Nathan Bracken was the pick of the Australian bowlers by capturing four wickets for 29 runs while pace spearhead Brett Lee chipped in with two wickets though he was a trifle expensive giving away 55 runs in his quota of ten overs.
Having already been eliminated from the title race, the Lankans were determined to salvage some pride but the proceedings could not have started on a more horrendous note as they lost their first four wickets in quick succession.
Openers Dilruwan Perera (5), Sanath Jayasuriya (23), Kumae Sangakkara (11) and Chamara Kapugedera (2) returned to the pavilion cheaply to leave the Lankan innings tottering at an early stage.
Captain Jayawardene mixed caution with aggression to retrieve the situation alongwith Dilshan as the duo put on a vital 64-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Australia opener Matthew Hayden has been rested before the best of three finals against India. All rounder James Hopes will open the batting with Adam Gilchrist.
Gilchrist and left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg are playing their final international matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Gilchrist's likely long-term successor Brad Haddin will bat in Hopes's normal position in the middle order.
Sri Lanka have made just one change from the side that lost to India in Hobart on Tuesday with Nuwan Kulasekera replacing pace bowler Chaminda Vaas.
The best-of-three finals will begin in Sydney on Sunday and it will be interesting to see whether the Aussies decide to rest some of their key players for the day-night contest.
Australia have won their last four matches in the tri-series and would look to iron out some of their weaknesses in an encounter which is only of academic interest.
Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, James Hopes, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Bracken.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Dilruwan Perera, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Chamara Kapugedera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Nuwan Kulasekera, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ishara Amerasinghe.