Lee secures Australia's 14th straight win

Updated: 21 November 2007 07:29 IST

Brett Lee finished off Sri Lanka's prolonged resistance on Tuesday, leading Australia to a series sweep and a 14th consecutive Test win.

Lee secures Australia's 14th straight win


Brett Lee finished off Sri Lanka's prolonged resistance on Tuesday, leading Australia to a series sweep and a 14th consecutive Test win.

Lee bowled Muttiah Muralitharan 12 minutes after lunch on the final day - immediately after the Sri Lankan No 11 upper cut him for six. That ended Sri Lanka's innings at 410 and secured Australia's 96-run win in the second Test.

Lee took eight wickets in the innings and 40-run win in the first Test last week and another eight in Hobart to win the player of the series honors in his first run as Australia's bowling spearhead.

"The end results probably say that this series has been an easy win for us, but there's a lot of hard work that goes into winning any Test match," Australia captain Ricky Ponting said.

Ponting said he was impressed with the transition in the team since the retirements of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath - two of Test cricket's all-time leading bowlers - and veteran batsmen Justin Langer and Damien Martyn.

"I was very satisfied after Brisbane, for those new guys coming into the team, they way they played," he said. "I'm probably more satisfied now."

The Hobart result was closer than expected, with Kumar Sangakkara scoring 192 before he was controversially dismissed. The last two wickets added 120 runs.

"At the end of the series we're very disappointed," Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said. "I felt we had a very good team. Good attack. But the way we played wasn't very consistent.

"We couldn't penetrate their top order, and the way we batted gave us a lot of problems."

Jayawardene said Sangakkara's innings, the highest by a Sri Lankan against Australia, "was one of the best I've seen."

"He batted the plan we had for him after he got his hundred yesterday, to bat through the day today while the other guys rotate around him so that we can challenge the 500-run total.

"Unfortunately the other guys couldn't do it. I was very disappointed the way we got out. He's very upset about it, but that's how the game goes."

Sangakkara's plucky innings ended when umpire Rudi Koertzen ruled that he edged a Stuart Clark delivery onto his helmet before it rebounded to Ricky Ponting at second slip just before lunch on the last day.

TV replays showed the ball crashing into Sangakkara's shoulder, not the bat, although Ponting defended Australia's appeal for out because the players heard two noises in the contact.

It was a disappointing end for the 30-year-old Sangakkara after his sixth big hundred in his last seven test matches.

He put on 74 for the ninth wicket with Lasith Malinga to keep the match alive long after Sri Lanka lost five wickets for 25 to slip to 290 for eight, chasing 507 runs to win.

Malinga, who contributed only nine to that partnership, slogged Clark for consecutive sixes in the over before lunch and again down the ground for another six just after the interval.

He finished not out on 42 after dominating the 46-run last-wicket stand with Muralitharan (15).

The tourists started the last day at 247 for three - with Sangakkara on 109 and Sanath Jayasuriya on 33 - still needing 260 runs to produce an historic win.

But its chances were dented when Jayasuriya was out for 45, edging an away swinger from Lee in the fifth over to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

Mitchell Johnson dismissed Chamara Silva and Prasanna Jayawardene for ducks on consecutive balls in the eighth over.

Farveez Maharoof watched the hat-trick ball sail down legside, but only made 4 before he skied a catch to Lee to give Stuart MacGill his first wicket of the innings.

Dilhara Fernando was run out attempting a third run when Lee whipped off the bails when he took an outfield throw from substitute fielder Rhett Lockyear.

Lee had started Sri Lanka's last demise late on Monday when he removed Marvan Atapattu (80) - the ex-Sri Lanka captain's last innings in international cricket - and Jayawardene (0) on consecutive balls.

Sri Lanka needed a world record in its second innings here to level the series - the West Indies' 418 against Australia in 2003 is the highest winning total ever achieved by a team batting fourth.

Jayawardene said the Sri Lankans needed to regroup ahead of the three-Test series against England starting next month.

Muralitharan, who came to Australia hoping to break Shane Warne's world record of 708 Test wickets but only took four wickets, is expected to get the five he needs to get the mark against England.

Australia's next Test series is against India starting Dec 26. Ponting's lineup is chasing the record 16 consecutive Test wins that Australia set between October 1999 and February 2001.

Topics : Cricket Mohammad Asif MS Dhoni Virender Sehwag Michael Vaughan
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