SYDNEY: Rain and a wet outfield brought a premature end to the fourth one-day international between Australia and Sri Lanka yesterday but not before the hosts’ batting frailties had been exposed again.
Bowled out for 74 runs inside 27 overs in Friday’s match at Brisbane, Australia wobbled again before reaching 222-9 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Mitchell Starc hit a career-best 52 not out off 37 balls from number nine as Australia had to rally from 130-6 and Sri Lanka were 14 for no wicket from 3.2 overs before rain forced the umpires to take the players off.
The match was abandoned two hours later because of a wet outfield, leaving the home side unable to win the five-match series. Sri Lanka head to Hobart for Wednesday’s final match with a 2-1 lead.
“We have to take the umpires’ judgment,” Australia captain Michael Clarke said. “Everybody’s disappointed it wasn’t a full game but it means Hobart’s going to be a challenge and we’ll be trying to level the series.”
Sri Lanka might even have clinched the series yesterday had it not been for opener David Warner, who top-scored with 60 to take Australia through some early wobbles.
Nuwan Kulasekara was the pick of the bowlers with 3-30 off his 10 overs.
Clarke said his team needed to figure out how to combat the seamer, who was also man-of-the-match in Brisbane.
“He’s bringing the ball back in to the right-handers and away from the left-handers,” Clarke said. “That’s always tough but we’ll all look at our games individually and work out a plan to him.”
Meanwhile, Francois ‘Faf’ du Plessis was handed the captaincy of the South African one-day international team yesterday after AB de Villiers was suspended for a slow over rate in the first match against New Zealand.
It was another twist in a tale of two cricketers who were schoolboy team-mates at the Afrikaans Boys High school in Pretoria.