BRISBANE, Australia (AP):
Sri Lanka overcame a shaky start to their small run chase before beating Australia by four wickets with a full 30 overs to spare yesterday taking a 2-1 lead in the one-day international series.
After dismissing Australia for a dismal 74 in the 27th over, Sri Lanka wobbled in reaching a winning 75-6 in the 20th.
Australia, boosted by the return of regular captain Michael Clarke and test stars David Warner and Matthew Wade, crumbled as Man of the Match Nuwan Kulasekara took 5-22 after the hosts won the toss and elected to bat.
"Nuwan has been very consistent for us for quite a few years and he's built a nice little partnership with Lasith (Malinga)," Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said.
"The thing today was he hit some really awkward areas for the Aussie batsmen and especially on this wicket created a lot of problems."
Chasing victory, Jayawardene (1) was dismissed by Clint McKay in the first over before the visitors slumped to 37-4. But despite some spirited bowling from Mitchell Johnson (3-11), the tourists had too many wickets and overs in hand.
Angelo Mathews (1-10) had Warner caught in the second over of Australia's innings, then Kulasekara removed opening partner Phil Hughes, David Hussey, George Bailey, Clarke and Moises Henriques in succession to leave the hosts reeling on 30-6.
Clark described it as a "horrible day."
"Our defence let us down more than anything. No excuse for the way we performed," he said. "Shot selection was poor. I understand the public wants us playing consistently. Honestly, if we played like that then the public wouldn't want to see us playing at all."
Tailender Mitchell Starc top-scored with an unbeaten 22, rescuing Australia from an even more dismal score, having been 40-9.
WARNER OUT FOR FOUR
Warner made just four before offering a catch to Eranga at mid-on and Hughes had three when he became Kulasekara's first victim with an edge to slip three overs later.
Hussey was ruled caught behind for four after Sri Lanka appealed to the TV umpire, and Bailey followed lbw the next ball without scoring.
Clarke, a prolific scorer in Test cricket this summer, made nine before losing his middle stump and Henriques joined him with 2 in the dressing room two balls later.
Lasith Malinga chimed in shortly after to remove Test wicketkeeper Wade for eight and dismissed Clint McKay for a duck.
Starc and spinner Xavier Doherty shared a gritty 34-run partnership for the last wicket before Eranga had Doherty caught by Jeevan Mendis for 15 to end the innings.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost Jayawardene early, then Johnson removed Tillakaratne Dilshan (22), Lahiru Thirimanne (7) and Mathews (0) in the space of eight balls.
Starc had Upul Tharanga caught at first slip by Clarke shortly after for 12 and claimed Jeevan Mendis for 2 in the last over of the match. Kushal Perera ended the game unbeaten on 22 with Thisara Perera on 4.
The fourth game of the series will be played tomorrow in Sydney.